Tyrone GAA club's 100-mile pilgrimage to help raise funds for new home
A FUNDRAISING drive to build a new home for a Co Tyrone GAA club has seen members take part in a 100-mile 'pilgrimage' from the burial place of their patron.
Dungannon Thomas Clarkes GFC was founded in 1917 and, with its centenary celebrations fast approaching, officials are hoping to make their dream of a modern hub for Gaelic games in the town a reality.
Named after one of the key figures in the 1916 Easter Rising, the club will tomorrow welcome home a hardy group of members who began walking on Wednesday from Arbour Hill Cemetery in Dublin – the site where those executed for their part in the Rising are buried - to Dungannon.
Those behind the O’Neill Park development project say the club has long outgrown its current grounds, which opened in 1947 on the outskirts of Lisnahull in the town.
Dungannon Clarkes caters for 10 of its own teams, and also accommodates Aodh Ruadh ladies, St Teresa’s camogie and Eoghan Ruadh hurling clubs.
If it becomes a reality the new O’Neill Park complex will act as a “multi-layered Gaelic hub” to include a new main pitch, seated stand and floodlights, modern pavilion, as well as indoor training and playing facilities.
The club has produced a video outlining the plans with help from some of the most famous faces in Ulster Gaelic games, including Tyrone senior captain Sean Cavanagh and manager Mickey Harte.
Available on the Dungannon Clarkes website, it also includes details of how members of the community as well as corporate sponsors can get involved.
Tomorrow the club will host a 5k run/walk from 3pm, followed by a programme of family entertainment at O’Neill Park.
Damian Cahalane, club chairman, is hopeful the community will turn out in large numbers and show their support for those completing the 100-mile walk.
“We have been very fortunate that over all those years the people of Dungannon have supported the club in so many ways and we are grateful for that,” he said.
“The next 100 years will present many challenges and we have ambitious development plans that begin to build the future for the next generations.”