The History of the O'Raghaillaigh Park Development

November 8, 2018

Rev Fr Michael Marry P.P Kingscourt purchased O’Raghaillaigh Park in 1950 from the Pratt family. Fr Marry formed his first park committee, which consisted of Rev. Dr. Ward, Rev. N. Foley, Eugene Connell, John Burns, James Blake, James McCabe, Joseph Farrelly, Michael Faulkner, Tommy Hegarty, Paddy Mackin (all now deceased). The only surviving member is Eugene Murtagh, still very active in his retirement. They set about developing the park into a natural amphitheatre in its ideal setting in close proximity to the town. Truly great vision. Through the years between the 1950’s & 70’s development of the grounds from levelling, drainage, perimeter fencing and concrete terracing took place. The grounds held county ground status and staged a number of Dr. McKenna & N.F.L matches. In 1982 the Ulster council set about re-assessing the county grounds in each County with the view of upgrading the facilities that would befit Ulster council status. The club set up a plan that would bring the club into the 21st century. The plan consisted of a ten-phase development plan due for completion in 2001. The completion of the plan would provide two all-weather playing pitches c/w floodlights, covered accommodation incorporating dressing rooms, meeting rooms. Listed below is the breakdown of completed phases c/w cost’s.

  1. 1984 erection of perimeter fence incorporating dug-outs 42,000
  2. 1986 erect press facilities, scoreboard and upgrade Corrygarry entrance 15,000
  3. 1988 temporary drainage, field maintenance, purchase field mower and develop training track 18,000
  4. 1988 temporary drainage, field maintenance, purchase field mower and develop training track 18,000
  5. 1992 building of tunnels to gain access to pitch building of turnstiles at each entrance. Erection of steel goal posts 28,000
  6. 1994 development of all weather juvenile pitch adjacent to main pitch. Erection of goalposts, plus upgrade landscaping on main pitch 105,000
  7. 1996 program of tree planting, laying of new floor in meeting room, purchase of mower 28,000
  8. 1998 erect fencing around perimeter of juvenile pitch, building of dug-outs on juvenile pitch, erection of ballstopper at Corrygarry entrance 14,000
  9. 2000 complete overhaul of main pitch, strip level primary drainage, relay topsoil, lay 60mm sand secondary drainage and lay turf. Relay running track, galvanise, paint and re-erect goalposts 65,000
  10. 2001 installation of flood lights on main pitch and training lights on juvenile pitch, tar and chip access roads 75,000

Total: 640,0000

In financing this development a hard working committee set about raising finances. In the early stages we were helped greatly by the success of our Senior teams. During the eighties and nineties we captured eight Senior Championships, 7 league titles, Junior B championships, 2 under 21 championships and 2 minor championships.

This success brought in extra revenue and put the club into a high profit. In fund raising we held numerous draws along with our weekly lotto, raising the high percentage of our funds. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all contractors for their excellent workmanship, and the financial institutions who financed us, the people who gave us interest free loans, our sponsor Kingspan for their generous support and above all the Development Committee and the various executive committees through the years for their help.

Today is the culmination of 50 years of hard work to bring O’Raghaillaigh Park back to the forefront as one of the finest playing surfaces and facilities in Ulster. We thank those who are with us and those who have passed away, for this memorable day.

Philip Smith
Development Officer.