Club Grounds

In 1956 the club was offered 7.2 statute acres of land by the Land Commission to be used solely as a G.A.A. Grounds. This was part of the Annaly Estate and the boundary wall as it is today was part of the old demesne wall. The offer was accepted. The purchase price for the land plus interest charges was £257-6-9. This money had to be borrowed from the bank. Some club members of the time financed this loan. The original trustees of the grounds were John Hutton, Paddy Loughlin and Paddy Grace. At the time of purchase there were 47 mature trees on the site. These were felled. Then in 1958 Brett Brothers were engaged to remove the stumps of trees from the scrubland and also to plough it at a total cost of £250. In 1961 new gates were erected.

The years 1963-1964 saw the levelling of the pitch and also an exchange of lands with Christy Nolan along with the erection of a wire fence by Patrick O’Reilly.

In 1965 –1966 ploughing of the land took place, laying of pipes and sowing of bushes. Much of this work was done by Jimmy Lennon. On June 1st 1966 grass seeds were sown. The seeds were brought from Paddy Loughlin.

In the minutes book is recorded that the following is owed to people in connection with the purchase of the pitch with reference to Bank of Ireland Account on 31st December 1967.

Canon Murphy P.P. 1956 – £5 1965 – £20

Frankie Farrell 1956 – £10 1958 – £5

Paddy Loughlin 1956 – £10 1958 – £5

James Lennon 1956 – £5 1958 – £5

Tom Fenlon 1956 – £5 1958 – £5

Andy Comerford Snr 1956 – £5 1958 – £5

Paddy Brennan 1956 – £5 1958 – £5

Vincent Kehoe 1956 – £5

Jim Harding 1956 – £5

Pat Kennedy 1956 – £5

In the secretary’s report of 1968 gratitude is recorded to Leinster Council and Central Council for grants towards the pitch totalling £575. Work earmarked for 1969 included picking of stones and provision of goalposts (a task undertaken by Paddy Loughlin). It is recalled by members of the time that the afore mentioned picking of stones was a laborious task done on hands and knees – not a task one would easily forget. Even local schoolchildren of the time often spent their evenings in the pitch helping in this chore. At this stage a total of £1957-11-3 had been spent on the pitch of which £1407-6-2 had been paid. Much of this was financed through the running of a Silver Circle draw. No hurling was played in the pitch until around 1970.

This was the year Gowran first qualified for the senior semi final. It is recalled by players of the time that they would arrive at the pitch and putt pavilion, down the road from the pitch, where they would tog off. Then they would jog down the road to the hurling pitch and proceed with their training. Back to the pitch and putt pavilion again when they were finished.

In 1973 the then chairman Tom Carroll and his committee set the wheels in motion for the building of the club Dressing Rooms. It was proposed to build a Community Centre which would incorporate dressing rooms, squash courts, tennis courts and other facilities. A committee was set up comprising of members from the various clubs of the parish. The decision was taken to apply for outline planning permission. In December Tom Carroll, Pat Treacy, Charlie Carter and Martin Carey were assigned to meet with the County Council. However in 1974 the proposals were rejected by the committee and the project fell through.

Under the chairmanship of Jim Fitzgerald the GAA club then forged ahead with the building of their own dressing rooms. Finally in September 1975 the long planned project went ahead with Eamonn Concannon starting the foundation walls. Much voluntary work was going to be needed to fulfil the task in hand at an affordable cost. In order to finance this work the following years saw many fundraising events – the field day being an annual one. There were also raffles and indeed the club even took to the stage with some entertaining concerts being coordinated by Mr Ger Dooley. Later the club ran a successful weekly Bingo.

1976 saw the roofing of the building begin and the rooms began to take shape with the installation of doors and windows. Dwyers of Kilkenny were given the job of wiring the dressing rooms at a cost of £185 with electricity supply being connected at a cost of £550. The following year plumbing was fitted by Tommy McCarthy and septic tank and showers were installed.

From the time of first use an ongoing problem had been the lack of soakage and drainage in the grounds. In 1983 An Forais Talúntais were asked to draw up plans for the drainage operation necessary. This work commenced in October 1983. This was a major operation which was to cost over £7000. It was carried out by Hughes Brothers of Woodsgift. The following spring the field had to be completely rotovated, levelled and reseeded. The late Tommy Phelan RIP was responsible for much of this work.

Since then the grounds have been maintained and developed to today’s standard by successive field committees. In later years sideline seating was put in place, banks and car parks were developed and toilet facilities provided.

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