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Grounds | Cúiseanna

Fr. McGuigan Park, the home ground of Naomh Mhuire CLG is named after Father McGuigan, founder of the club in 1943 who was parish priest in Ahoghill from 1942 to 1963.

The first playing ground Ahoghill had was in the town-land of Aughtercloney, belonging to Robert Hardy. The club played in five different sites around the town-land before settling in the present location. In 1947, 4 years after the club formed, the committee bought 6.5 acres. Paddy McGarry Snr. was elected to bid for the ground on behalf of the club and he bought it for the sum of £370. Ahoghill became the first club to purchase their own ground and vest in the GAA. The committee purchased a further ½ acre in 1950 at a price of £125.

In the late 40's the club built a 'Nissan Hut' building for social gatherings and committee meetings. Key men involved in this project were Tommy and Jimmy Quinn, Joe Downey and Paddy McGarry.

In the mid-60's construction started on the Main Hall, which replaced the Nissan Hut. The hall still stands today and is very much still in use. Paddy and Eugene Logan are names that are much talked about relating to this project. By the late 60's a Kitchen / storage area was added to the front of the hall.

In 1970, work began on the development of the current playing field. The main contractor was Jack Wilson who carried out the excavation work. P.J. Keenan and John Henry completed the drainage work. Much voluntary work was carried out during this time, with Alphosus Agnew, John Neeson, Club Chairman John McGuigan and Club Secretary Joe Redmond being the main drivers. Installation of the outside perimeter fence was completed by voluntary work. Councillor O'Brien, Chairman of the Ulster GAA Council officially opened Father McGuigan Park on 4th June 1972. The first match on the field was a hurling championship game between Cushendun and Éire Óg.

In 1987, work began in the development of the two-storied changing rooms under the direction of Chairman Harry Graham and Secretary Neil O'Connell. Neil designed the building with a view that the main hall would be upgraded at some later date. Again like so much work done in the earlier years, all work was done voluntarily. The main players this time were the Neeson connection, the Graham connection, Dominic Downey and Phonsie Agnew. There were many others who also got involved in some capacity.

New changing room complex at Fr. McGuigan Park, Ahoghill

New changing room complex at Fr. McGuigan Park, Ahoghill

In the year 2000, the club agreed to purchased 3 3/4 acres to the south of the playing field for development of a practice pitch. By mid-year the club Secretary Nigel Lynn received word that the club had been successful in its application for a National lottery grant of £70,000 to build a new changing room facility. This was a tremendous achievement for Nigel who put in a massive time and effort to acquire the grant. Adam Herbison was the architect of the building with J.F. McLaughlin being the main contractor. However work did not begin until Easter 2002.

To make up the shortfall for the cost of the project, the club raised monies by a Direct Debit Scheme where members pay a small amount monthly into the club account. Without these people, the building would never of been completed! Harry Graham and Gerald McGarry spearheaded this venture. The club also organised a Grand Development Draw in the spring of 2002 raising £78,000, which resulted in the green light to the building of the new changing rooms. Most members young and old were involved in the draw in some capacity whether providing transport or selling tickets.

The new Changing Rooms were officially blessed by Father O'Hagan and opened by County Chairman Joe O'Boyle on 27th April 2003. The first teams to use the building were Dunloy and Ballygalget who played a hurling challenge, with Bellaghy and Ballinderry playing in a football challenge. The first home team to christen the building was the Camogie team who beat Ballycastle in a Division 1 county game the same afternoon.

Father McGuigan Park now contains the following facilities;

  • 4 Changing Rooms (including showers and toilets)

  • Committee Room

  • 2 Referees Rooms

  • Underground Heating

  • Kitchen

  • Function Hall

  • Main Pitch (with Catch Nets, Perimeter Fencing and Team Dug-outs)

  • Land for development of a second pitch

  • Extensive Car Parking

A View of Fr.McGuigan Park - May 2003
A View of Fr.McGuigan Park - May 2003
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