Opening Of New-Look Grounds
20 March 2003
Eugene Creaney, Lurgan Mail
March 20th, 2003
MAGHERY Sean McDermott's GFC showed off their splendid new re-developed grounds to the general public for the first time last Sunday afternoon.
A big crowd turned up to watch All-Ireland champions Armagh play Leinster side Westmeath in a lively challenge game with the Southerners going home successful on a score line of 1-22 to 2-17.
The day, however, was more about Maghery than the Armagh and Westmeath game. The Loughshore Club has in a period of just sixteen months and without any form of grant put in place a playing surface and surrounding amenities which can only be described as a credit to their members and their committee.
Addressing the crowd Maghery chairman John Robinson was quick to praise those who had made it all possible.
He said: "it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the considerable amount of work carried out by the Field Committee - Stephen McConville, Kevin Rafferty and Brian Nugent. They deserve great credit, particularly when you consider that we have achieved all this in less than sixteen months.
"However, we do owe our club to our founder fathers and to those who worked tirelessly in committees of the past to build the club from its foundations. Sadly, some of them are no longer with us. We remember them today.
'I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Maghery GFC committee and in particular Kevin Corr, Mark Laverty, Noeleen Rafferty and. Desmond Qg Tennyson for assisting myself in organising today's game.'
John continued: 'I could not let today's occasion pass without recognising the marvellous historic achievements of the Armagh Senior Football team. Once again we offer them our congratulations and welcome them to the 'Loughshore' here today. It is a great honour for our club to host the All-Ireland champions and 1 would like to thank them and the men from Westmeath for accepting our invitation to fulfil this fixture.
"I would also like to welcome the County Chairman, Joe Jordan, and other members and representatives of both county boards. 1 would also like to welcome back to their training base of fifty years ago members of the famous Armagh '53 team, and also Gaels throughout the county, neighbouring counties and further afield."
The official opening of the now re-named Felix Hamill Park will take place on Sunday, April 13, with All-Ireland champions Derry playing Armagh in a special minor game. Special guests expected to attend will be former GAA President Peter Quinn and current Ulster President John O'Reilly.
The late Felix Hamill was spoken of with great fondness by Maghery Chairman John Robinson who said: "The death of Felix Hamill, on July 28, 1999, robbed Maghery Sean MacDermott's club of one of its most outstanding members. Felix held the treasurer post for over fifty years, spanning the era when clubs could be run on the proceeds of a successful ceili, to the present time when running costs are measured in thousands of pounds.
"In his earlier years, Felix was a successful and dedicated player and later took on the role of grounds man, kit provider, club delegate, manager and trainer. Felix was also responsible for setting up a successful under-age structure within the club.
"Many generations of players are indebted to him for his commitment to his club, and the many years he devoted to promoting Gaelic games in the Maghery area."
Another institution at the Maghery Club, their President Daniel Fox, who celebrated his ninetieth birthday this year was on hand to meet Armagh manager Joe Kernan, who brought a strong line out to the re-opening of the new Maghery pitch.
UTV presenter Adrian Logan oversaw the MC duties on the day with all of the Armagh and Westmeath players being given special mementos marking their attendance.