- Martin McNelis
Ferrycarrig Park – Wexford Youths FC
Photos by Martin McNelis , Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.14
Ferrycarrig Park Ferrycarrig Park Y35 E296 Wexford, Co. Wexford Y35 E296 Ireland
Year Opened: 2005
Home of Wexford Youths FC
Ferrycarrig Park, set in the southeast of Ireland, is the home of Wexford Youths FC who currently play in the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division. County Wexford is probably more notable for its success in gaelic sports, but over the last decade the interest and progress in both men’s and women’s soccer has grown considerably.
The club are one of the newer sides to ply their trade in the country’s two football association leagues and were formed as recently as 2007. They have flirted with promotion and relegation and are distinctive with their colours of black and pink which alternate on both their home and away kits. The club’s motto of ‘work hard play hard’ is visible on a crest situated on the floor of the social club entrance.
Wexford Youths have a reputation of bringing through young players and also selling them on to the lower leagues of England, the most recent of these being Ryan Delaney moving to the English Championship with Burton Albion. The club’s most notable achievement was reaching the 2008 League Cup Final, which saw Ferrycarrig Park as the designated venue. With only one stand on the site, temporary seating was constructed to bring the capacity up to 3,500. Despite gaining home advantage for the fixture, they were dismantled 6-1 by an overpowering Derry City side.
Food & Beverage 3
The club provide two options; the social club situated at the entrance which has basic bar facilities providing hot and cold drinks, and a snack van which is next to the Main Stand. The main options sold are burgers, hot dogs, chicken burgers at €3 and €4, a single sausage at a very affordable €1 and fish and chips at €7. Tea, coffee, cappuccino, soft drinks and water are between €1.50 – €2.50.
The ground is very open, and with only one stand and crowds of 500-1000 – depending on the opposition – Ferrycarrig Park is not one of Ireland’s most atmospheric venues. The majority of the home fans congregate on the right hand side of the Main Stand and there is no segregation.
Although this a good thing from a family point of view, as you can take kids along and not feel threatened or intimidated, it possibly dilutes any singing or rivalry between home and opposing fans. Wexford Youths pride themselves on being a community club and the staff in the social club and stewards are friendly and welcoming.
Having entered the ground, surroundings are very basic. The dugouts are situated on the right, and there is a perimeter fence behind them and both goals where fans have the option of standing to watch the match. Over the back of the right hand goal there are a couple of five a side astroturf pitches which will likely be used by local teams to train on.
The solitary covered Main Stand runs for a good length of the pitch, seats six hundred people and is a temporary structure with a lot of supporting metal poles which will partially obstruct your view, and is reminiscent of the one at Bray Wanderers’ Carlisle Grounds. It is a very open venue and in poorer weather you will feel the cold and wind sweeping in from either side. The club are looking to invest in a more permanent stand and to develop the ground further, though no financial figures or timescales have been mentioned.
With the Main Stand being elevated and the only covered area, it still provides the best view of the pitch despite the supporting poles, more so if you can get seated near the centre of the pitch.
Ferrycarrig Park is set in a very remote location some five miles from the town centre. With very little on offer nearby, the best option for food, drink and any entertainment is in Wexford town centre as the only options available are the limited offerings at the social club and snack van.
The Wexford Youths fans are supportive, encouraging and patient with what is predominantly a young squad of players. In terms of songs and noise generated, there was nothing to suggest that there is a designated fan or ultras zone.
Ferrycarrig Park currently holds 2,500 with 600 of that figure seated. The average attendance will vary between 500-1000 depending on the type of fixture and the opposition.
Ferrycarrig Park does not have regular transport links connecting it to the nearest urban centre of Wexford and is not the most accessible. It can be seen on the left from the N11 motorway, but is poorly signposted and it may take a couple of attempts to find the narrow entrance off the motorway.
The generously sized car park can accommodate a large crowd, though the only road in and out does bottle neck on leaving the ground. There are three turnstiles and they are the only way you can enter the ground.
Public transport is exceptionally poor and although there is a supporters bus that leaves from the town centre, it is not well advertised even for locals, let alone strangers or day trippers. You might find it simpler to take a taxi to the ground, which will cost between €10-€15.
Return on Investment 3
With adults charged €15, concessions €8 and under 12s just €2, the admission costs are in line with other clubs in the division. The price of under 12s should help encourage the local younger generation to come along and support the team.
The social hub is the clubhouse which offers great views of the pitch in extra comfort. You have the option of going into the club for a drink, using the toilet facilities, or going into the club shop which is set up on the left of the main door entrance. You can also buy a match programme from here.
Although the access to Ferrycarrig Park is awful, the pleasant but modest facilities and welcoming atmosphere make it a worthwhile trip. If the stadium upgrades are finally carried out, the experience will only improve in the future.