GAA wanderers find their field of dreams after 46 long years
One of Ulster's last nomadic GAA clubs is finally getting its own pitch - almost half-a-century after being founded.
Doire Colmcille GAC will today play on its own pitch for the first time.
Guest of honour, GAA president Aogan O Fearghail, will open the £1.2 million new clubhouse and pitch development at Lowry's Lane in the west of Londonderry city.
The ground received a cocktail of funding from Sport NI, the Department for Social Development and the GAA itself.
Since its foundation in Derry in 1969, Doire Colmcille has played its home fixtures at a range of venues from the Derry City and Strabane District Council-owned Templemore sports complex to pitches kindly made available by St Columb's College.
The Doire Colmcille Club has been to the fore in promoting Gaelic games in the Maiden City over the past 46 years.
It fields teams in ladies and men's GAA, covering all age groups from under six right up to adult.
Speaking ahead of today's official opening, club chairman Mark Higgins said this would end Doire Colmcille's status as one of the last nomadic clubs in Ulster. He said: "With more than 300 members, we have a long and proud history, both on and off the field of play.
"Some of our past players are among the best known sports people in Northern Ireland.
"These have included Sean Sands; the Trainor brothers, Frankie and Brian; Johnny O'Leary, Emmet McGilloway and many others who wore the red and white of Derry."
Mr Higgins said the opening of the new facility would further embed Doire Colmcille in the communities of Rosemount, The Glen and Ballymagroarty. While a major share of the cost was borne by the GAA, almost £500,000 came from the Department for Social Development, with an additional £250,000 being contributed by Sport NI.
Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey said: "This capital investment provided by my department illustrates my commitment to the future of all residents within the outer west area of the city.
"The multi-purpose complex will open up opportunities for all age groups to avail of this much needed facility, which will host many social and community development opportunities."
Doire Colmcille was established in 1969 following the amalgamation of three city clubs - Daire Og, Eire Og and Sarsfields. Doire Colmcille had humble beginnings, with its only representation being a men's senior football team. Over the past 40 years the club has continuously grown and now is represented by no fewer than 10 individual footballing teams spanning both men's and ladies.