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Eoghan Ruadh proving that hard work pays off

By Declan Bogue

We return to the theme of hurling in Ulster, only this time not to add our displeasure at how the game has been allowed to choke by several county boards, complicit along with central bodies, but to marvel at the work that goes on at local level.

The small ball community of Dungannon - with hurling club Eoghan Ruadh and camogie club Naomh Treasa - is still on a high after a huge weekend of celebrations as Eoghan Ruadh opened their own pitch.

This has been coming since their establishment in 1944.

Tyrone has not always been the beacon of Gaelic games it is now, and the club had to rely on the goodwill of the local football club, Dungannon Clarkes, to allow them to host games on their pitch.

In 2011, they secured their present premises on a long-term lease, being gifted parish land. At present, it is used by hundreds from all sections of the community as a venue for walking.

After several rejected applications, they finally secured a grant of £480,000 from the Department of Communities to develop their site on the Donaghmore Road. They added £120,000 of their own money and have created a purpose-built hurling area with a walking track, a skills wall and a handball alley.

Last weekend was the grand opening, with a marquee hosting close to 600 people for a black-tie gala dinner, with guests Henry Shefflin and GAA President Aogan ÓFearghail cutting the ceremonial ribbon on Friday. Birr and Offaly legends Brian Whelehan and Joe Errity also arrived.

The following night, they tipped over the 600 mark with a Lisa McHugh concert.

All this fundraising is to aid the next stage of growth, which is to develop and build permanent dressing rooms to replace the portakabins presently used.

A training field is also on its way.

Hurling might never be fashionable in football-mad Tyrone, but you have to admire what Eoghan Ruadh have done for themselves.

Belfast Telegraph

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