Páirc Chormaic

Páirc Chormaic is the culmination of several years’ hard endeavour to provide a much needed additional playing field for Naomh Pádraig, An Eaglais.

Over the years the need for a second pitch became more pressing as the demand being placed on the main pitch, Fr. Connolly Park, increased. Both the local GAA and camogie clubs cater for teams from under-6 to adult level, and owing to its accessible location it has hosted many colleges and schools games. With all the training and matches from the various teams the playing surface on Fr. Connolly Park was stretched to its limit.

Fr. Connolly Park itself, situated beside the River Oona, has been a central site in the village of Eglish since its official opening in 1964. Many changes have occurred in the intervening five decades. Within a few years of its opening, an adjoining pavilion with dressing rooms was built, and this was developed into a larger sports hall complex that was officially opened in 1984.

From 1997 the facilities were substantially renovated. The pitch was re-surfaced and lengthened to include a practice area; a bitmac surface was added behind the hall; the terrace for spectators was extended; and the pavilion was expanded to encompass two extra dressing rooms, a new meeting room, toilets and several storerooms.

For all the improvements that were made, overuse and harsh winter weather generally necessitated pre-season training having to move to some rudimentary training ‘grounds’ elsewhere. In the early months of each year, training took place at locations such as Donaghy’s field on Stiloga hill; Richardson’s field, Coolkill (to the left hand side as one leaves Eglish village for Dungannon); and the field below Fr. Connolly Park, to the rear of the chapel. This endurance of these primitive conditions often entailed wallowing in muck and returning home without a shower! Sessions were also held further afield, for instance at the playing fields on the Killymeal Road in Dungannon belonging to the colleges; the playing fields at St. Patrick’s College Armagh; and Armagh astro surface on the Cathedral Road. In search of more picturesque settings, training runs were held at the Brantry Lough, Parkanaur and Drum Manor forests.

Once Cumann Naomh Pádraig decided in the mid 2000s to embark on the purchase and development of a new ground, Páirc Chormaic emerged as the name for the project from an early stage. The land, situated in Brossloy, was acquired in 2005, and the process to secure funding began soon afterwards. An application to Sport NI for capital funding was successful and other fundraising initiatives were carried out, most notably under the auspices of An Eaglais le Chéile.

Plans were drawn up, and the first phase of work, to clear and excavate the site, began in 2009.  When this was complete, a sand-carpet pitch was laid and floodlights erected. Phase 2 will include the construction of changing facilities and the provision of car parking.

The voluntary ethos which exists in the GAA community was seen to full effect in the months leading up to the official opening on 27 May 2012, as many locals gave up their time, plant and materials to help complete the works. Not least was this apparent in the widespread selling of tickets for the Páirc Chormaic Draw, from its launch in June 2011 to the moment the winning tickets were drawn at a gala banquet on Saturday, 2 June 2012 when our sports hall was transformed into a spacious function room. The Páirc Chormaic draw proved a huge success and the announcement of the £240,000 raised from the draw drew gasps from everyone in attendance, proving hard work and vision can pat off.

The official opening of Páirc Chormaic took place on Sunday 27 May 2012. The famous Artane Boys Band came from Dublin to lead a parade from Fr Connolly Park to Páirc Chormaic. The field was blessed by Rev Peter McAnenly, then the parish priest of Eglish, and the opening ceremony featured speeches from representatives of Comhairle Uladh, Coiste Contae Thír Eoghain and Cummann Naomh Pádraig of both the GAA and camogie associations, as well as the McAnalleen family. This was followed by a camogie friendly match between An Eaglais and Port Chluain Eoghain(Aintroim) and reserve and senior ACL league games between An Eaglais and An Charraig Mhór.

At the entrance to Páirc Chormaic stands a large boulder inscribed ‘Páirc Chormaic’. It sits truly as a new milestone for the village and parish of Eglish

Programme that was available on day of the official opening [Click Here]