Shankill Indoor Tennis Centre the gold standard for Ireland

Sports Labs attended the formal opening of the Shankill Indoor Tennis Centre in Dun Laoghaire yesterday. 

The 1.6m euro semi ridged structure accommodates 4No. Full size tennis courts to Davis Cup spec.


The ambience of this indoor facility has got to be experienced almost unique in Ireland

The ambience of this indoor facility has got to be experienced almost unique in Ireland

Eoin O'Brien DL&R Council met with me onsite in 2011 to look at a boggy low lying area - we discussed the vision he had to locate a top quality facility on that patch of land! Fast forward to 2016 and we were lucky to be the first to strike a tennis ball onto this high tech cushioned acrylic surface. 

This facility will enhance tennis in the south Dublin area as the all year round protection the structure affords to players will sure allow the sport to flourish. 

The new indoor fabric covered structure is double skinned for insulation and durability which should see it last at least 30+ years

The new indoor fabric covered structure is double skinned for insulation and durability which should see it last at least 30+ years

The main contractor T. Pearse & Sons Ltd performed well with the difficult ground conditions and produced a fine end result.

The Club held a seminar regarding the project to inform other interested Club of their experience a great way to open the facility.

Various Clubs attended the opening and seminar

Various Clubs attended the opening and seminar

Glasgow Life deliver further 3G pitches

Sports Labs working for Glasgow Life the Leisure Trust operating the sports facilities for Glasgow City Council upgrade 2 No. 3G pitches Working closely with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Building Sports Labs provided consultancy services to design, procure and manage the refurbishment of two pitches in Glasgow. The good news is that both pitches were designed to allow football and rugby use, the bad news is that both were hockey pitches and now these facilities are lost to hockey. Hockey in Glasgow has moved to the new Commonwealth games venue so it is not a complete negative for that sport.

Case Study
Case Study.1
Case Study

These refurbishments have reinvigorated what were very dilapidated facilities these are now thriving community based hubs. The biggest beneficiaries of course are rugby who now have excellent training facilities where before there were none! See attached synopsis of the work done to upgrade the facilities.

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Joseph's of Cluny get new FIH Hockey Pitch, Access Road and Car Park

Sports Labs help St Joseph's of Cluny to deliver a major project In reality it has taken 10 years of planning to realise a dream for the school - to have their own hockey pitch. In 2013 the contract to upgrade the access roads and car parks and build a new hockey pitch actually started for Mary White Principal of the school. cluny pitch

Sports Labs acting as specialist consultant was appointed to take this project forward.  The project  involved a major cut and fill to provide a platform for the hockey pitch , redesign and construction of a new car park, access roads and retaining walls.


The contract was awarded to SAC Construction a local contractor familiar to the Board of Governors of the school. image

There were numerous design considerations on this residential site. Planning restrictions were placed on landscaping and the road, car park and lights. All had to be designed and constructed within tight planning conditions.

The ground conditions on-site were particularly challenging and necessitated cement stabilisation over half the pitch and capping in the car park area.

New access roadways and car parks were constructed to control Traffic flow and provide better traffic management of buses and vehicles dropping off at peak times. Additional car parking space at the front of the school has significantly improved the look at the front of the school.

The Hockey pitch a TigerTurf evopro sand dressed surface was selected for the playing surface. The pitch whilst for school use however the school has already had enquiries from clubs to let the facility.

Principal Mary White said

'I’d like to thank the astro turf pitch consultants i.e. Sports Labs UK based in Edinburgh and to congratulate their Director Mr Eric O Donnell, the Chief Consulting Engineer Mr Robbie Blair on a wonderful achievement. I’d like to praise the professionalism of this company, to thank them for the ease with which they were a weekly presence in Killiney, despite having to catch planes and ferries to cross the Irish sea be here and to thank Mr Robbie Blair in particular who oversaw the details of the construction of the project for Sports Labs and the school in a very supportive and committed way. We benefitted greatly as a school by having such an experienced and professional company to assist us in managing the pitch construction'.

cluny                                              Mary White, Robbie with the team

Peterborough Embankment Athletics Track; get's a facelift with Sports Labs help!

Peterborough Embankment Athletics Track A major refurbishment of the Embankment athletics facility was commissioned by Peterborough Council to bring the facility up to modern standards.  The facility is managed by Vivacity Peterborough on behalf of Peterborough City Council, who actually funded the project. Sports Labs provided specialist consultancy services to Peterborough  Enterprise to assist in the management of this project.

Following a tendering process to SAPCA approved track builder members, Blakedown Sport and Play were awarded the contract.

The works included adding new training straights, modifying and refurbishing the long/triple jump facilities dealing with run-off from embankments on the home straight together with the replacement of all the polymeric surfaces on the track.

As with most ageing facilities you are never quite sure what you will find when you remove the old track surface and that was the case here; we found a very poor substrate which required a lot of work to make sure it complied with modern athletic requirements and was durable (future proof). The works in general were delivered smoothly and generally to programme albeit the early weather in spring was very cool to say the least and most importantly to budget.

The track has a thriving club network and this refurbishment puts the facility right back in the frame as regards athletics in the heart of the Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire borders. We are looking forward to seeing the athletics results of this investment in years to come.

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Sports Labs become Sports England Framework Provider

Sport England Artificial Sports Surfaces Consultancy Services Sport England has set up a number of framework contracts with service providers to simplify the procurement of contractors and consultants for future funded projects.Image The framework contract is simply a form of contract where pre-selection of a particular service provider results in a small number of companies being shortlisted to provide the services without the need for protracted tendering process each time a project is available. Frameworks normally last 3 to 4 years. The aim of the Sport England framework contract is to select the best service providers for the work being tendered. Sport England has now put in place a number of framework consultants to deliver specialist aspects of projects on their behalf the one that concerns us is the sports pitches and other sports surfaces framework contract.


Following a detailed and thorough selection process Sports Labs were successfully selected as one of four specialist consultants for sports surfaces and other specialist services. We are very pleased to be involved with Sport England in this framework contract and look forward to the next 4 years working with Sport England within the framework.

St Edwards School, Oxford: Take possession of a new hockey pitch

St Edwards School Oxford "Teddy's" get top quality hockey pitch St Edward’s School, Oxford have just completed the refurbishment of an old sand filled hockey pitch. The original pitch (now 21 years old!) was mainly used for tennis.

Site Investigation

As with any old facilities the old pitch has to be carefully investigated to characterize the base condition, shock pad and any need to modify the surface to meet NGB requirements; which may have moved on. Sports Labs carried out a site investigation on the old pitch to assess existing tarmac and shock pad. This clearly indentified the costs going forward for works required- in this case a new shock pad was required.

Quality Installation

Sports Labs designed, tendered and project managed the works. Agripower successfully secured this contract and decided to install a Tiger Turf Evo Pro sand dressed surface.

At every stage in the construction process checks and tests were carried out to confirm that the works met specification. This included the tarmac, shock pad and artificial turf.

On Time, To Budget

The pitch installation was handed over to the client on time and on budget. The school have found the pitch to be first class and is now the preferred surface for hockey at the school.


Sports Labs launch major step forward in automation of sports surfaces testing

Sports Labs chose the recent FIFA round robin to launch the next big thing in sports surfaces testing equipment. The 'buggy' as it has affectionately become known places all the major items of sports surfaces testing equipment onto a battery operated buggy. Powered by the internal fuel cell on the buggy all the equipment is automatically placed and retracted via a unique hydraulic ram system which not only supports the kit but is extremely consistent. The kit has already proven its self to be faster, more accurate by reducing operator influence and produces consistent results.

Here Keith and Richard show off the kit to our friends from the other FIFA accredited Test Institutes. To say it went down a storm is an understatement - every Lab should have one!