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Ulster Rugby: New sports facility launched at Belfast school

A new sports facility has been launched at Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School - set to provide state-of-the-art training facilities for Ulster Rugby.

The joint project between Aquinas and Ulster Rugby was funded by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and Belfast City Council and features a synthetic 3G pitch that can be used for rugby, football or GAA training. It also has a second, smaller 3G training area, a basketball court and an outdoor gym.

The facility at Aquinas can be accessed directly from Ulster Rugby’s training base in the Hughes Insurance Family Stand and will form a participatory element of the new Kingspan Stadium education tours that will begin next year when the new Nevin Spence Centre opens.

The pitches were completed in late September and are used daily by pupils at Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, by the Ulster Rugby squad and by the local community.

Speaking at the opening, Sports Minister Caral Ni Chullin said the transformation had been "incredible".

"I am pleased that my Department’s contribution of £560,000, together with Belfast City’s Council’s contribution, has produced such a worthwhile outcome," she said.

"I am delighted to see the school estate being maximised for the benefits of the wider community."

Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon said: "A key goal of Belfast City Council’s Investment Programme is to prioritise projects that make a real difference to communities. This is a great example."

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