Northern Ireland news

Ulster final victory for Magheracloone GAA club a year after sinkhole devastation

Magheracloone Gaelic Football Club in Co Monaghan was forced to shut after the collapse of a mine caused sinkholes to appear in its pitch

A GAELIC club in Co Monaghan which lost its pitch after sinkholes appeared has won an Ulster title.

Magheracloone Mitchells GAA claimed the Intermediate Championship at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh on Saturday, with a 1-15 to 0-13 win over Galbally Pearses.

This makes them the first Monaghan winners of the McCully Cup since 2013.

The club, near Carrickmacross, summed up its reversal in fortunes with a tweet: "What a difference a year makes....This is what dreams are made of. Well done to all the lads and management!"

The achievement marks a major milestone for the club, which had to find new training facilities after the incident in September last year when part of a disused mine collapsed.

Read More: Monaghan GAA club hit by sinkhole could face five-year wait for new home

The collapse resulted in two sinkholes, one of which was around 30 feet wide, and gaping cracks which split the pitch down the middle.

Magheracloone Gaelic Football Club in Co Monaghan with the mining work visible in the background

The entire site had to be abandoned forcing the club to play home games over the border in county Louth.

Magheracloone also used neighbouring facilities before converting two fields in the parish into a temporary new base.

At the time, chairman Francis Jones said they had been inundated with offers from local clubs offering temporary training facilities, but finding a new long-term location could prove more difficult.

"It is going to take a while before we have our own pitch to play games," he said.

"It's just total devastation, surreal. You would not believe what you were seeing, you would think it was something out of a film you were looking at."

Mining company Gyproc said pillars in the mine had collapsed after water had been transported and stored in a section that had not previously been used for water storage.

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