The company which has laid the pitch for next year’s World Cup final has selected Co Tyrone for one of its first bases in Ireland.
SIS Pitches was set up by Sligo Man George Mullan in 2001. Recognised as a world leader in synthetic and natural sports surfacing, it now employs 245 people around the World and counts Real Madrid and Barcelona among its customers.
But the company has never retained a direct presence in Ireland, until now.
Fresh from laying the pitch for the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow, SIS Pitches has set up in Ardboe.
The company’s sales director Darren McGeehan, who is originally from Ballinderry in Co Derry, will head up the new Irish operations, which also includes bases in Greystones, Co Wicklow and Sligo.
Eight people will be employed initially in warehouses and offices, as the company looks to target the GAA, soccer rugby and hockey markets.
The new Irish end will compliment the company’s offices in Britain, Holland, the Middle East, Russia, Turkey and Angola.
SIS Pitches recorded a turnover exceeding €54 million last year, and is projecting a turnover of almost €63.5 million for 2017.
CEO George Mullan, who still lives in his hometown of Sligo, said the company’s success in the UK, Eastern Europe and Russia had been “phenomenal”.
China, the USA and Japan are among its next target markets.
“We want to bring the success that we have had overseas to Ireland, invest in Ireland and hire Irish people,” he said.
Sales director Darren McGeehan, who will head the Ardboe operation along with the company’s operations director Mark Barry, added, “With more than 25 years’ experience designing and making pitches, Mark and I are looking forward to providing a full turnkey service for rugby, football, GAA, hockey and other pitches to sports clubs, local authorities, third-level institutions and schools across the country.”
Last year, SIS Pitches installed more pitches than in any previous year in business including the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, where the opening match, a semi-final and the final of the 2018 World Cup will be played.
Incorporating technologically-advanced SISGrass (which is a hybrid between synthetic and real grass) as well as the SISAir under-soil heating and cooling system, SIS Pitches has ensured perfect playing conditions for the most famous football event in the world.
A total of six of the 12 World Cup stadiums will be constructed and stitched with SISGrass by SIS. This means it will be laying more pitches for the World Cup than any other company.
In 2016, SISGrass fields were also completed for clients such as Chelsea, Derby County, Besiktas and Athletic Bilbao whilst the company also installed a new SISGrass hybrid pitch at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, making Premier league history in the process.