New state-of-the-art floodlights installed at Healy Park

By Niall Gartland

THE prestigious Tyrone Club Championships are set to be illuminated in more ways than one with the installation of new state-of-the-art floodlights at O’Neill’s Healy Park.

Tyrone’s flagship stadium regularly hosts floodlit championship matches, including a number of recent county finals, but the lighting system has started to degenerate in recent years and a new lighting system was sorely needed.

And no expense has been spared with the installation of dazzling new floodlights with the championship just around the corner. The new lighting system was designed and manufactured in Iowa, USA, by world market leaders Musco Lighting, and Omagh St Enda’s chairman Conor Sally says the plan of getting them installed in time for the championship has thankfully come to fruition.

“Over the last three or four years the floodlights had started to give us bother and it had got to the point that we needed to do something about it so we could continue to hold the same level of matches.

“We’ve managed to get it sorted and the plan was always to have them completed by the start of September to ensure they’d be ready for the championship. The two times we really need the floodlights in operation are the beginning of the season for the McKenna Cup and the National League, possibly even intercounty championship matches with the earlier start, and then the back-end of the year with the Tyrone Club Championships and Ulster Club Championships.

“It’s massive for us that we’ve replaced the floodlights and over the next week or two they should be fully operational.”

In recent seasons the deteriorating quality of floodlights at the Gortin Road venue had become a genuine source of concern. The curtain-raiser to this year’s Tyrone Senior Championship is expected to take place at O’Neill’s Healy Park on the evening of Thursday, September 21, and Sally believes everyone will benefit from the new lighting system.

“It’ll be great for not just referees, players, management and officials, but for the press and supporters. It had become a massive issue over the last three or four years and we decided against significant remedial work given the life expectancy of floodlights, the plan was always to get them fully replaced.”

The Omagh St Enda’s chairman also says it will be great for the club itself. The old floodlights had been in place since 2006 and it proved a significant enhancement to what is widely regarded as one of the premier GAA venues.

“It’s massive for us as a club. We’d become very used to having such great facilities over the last 15 years. It’s great for our club members and there’s the added bonus of being able to host big games as well,” he said.

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