IT WAS an eventful and inspiring morning for the Dungannon Thomas Clarkes last Thursday as they officially cut the ribbon at the ceremonial opening of their brand new, state-of-the-art club facilities on the Lisnahull Road.
The £1.3million health and community hub will include a community hall, fitness suite, dance studio, meeting space, mixed changing areas and aims to benefit footballers, hurlers, musicians, dancers, community groups and schools throughout the community.
The construction of the new facilities was made possible thanks to
a £973,000 investment by the Department for Communities and a
significant contribution of almost £328,000 which was raised by the club itself.
Club stalwart Adrian Logan hosted the opening event on Thursday where he gave a short speech remembering “so many people who can’t be here with us who made this dream a reality.”
He then welcomed club chairperson John McNulty who gave praise to the community for its effort and hard work throughout the process of the project saying, “The motivation behind this is so that young people can get what we have gotten out of the club over the years.”
Local councillor Dominic Molloy was also in attendance and he highlighted the importance of the social aspect within the new club.
Mr Molloy continued, “I also want to pay tribute to the design team and contractors who worked tirelessly to make this happen and I wish the Clarkes the very best of luck with the redevelopment and reopening.”
Last to speak at the event was Francie Molloy MP who offered his sincerest thanks to the Department of Communities and Mid Ulster Council.
Mr Molloy then took a moment to remember those close to the club who are no longer with us including Bertie Foley, Dick Cahalane and Art McRory.
Mr Molloy said, “Art McRory made early phone calls to make sure that this happened and his support and encouragement drove the project right through.
“It was, no doubt, money well spent and will be of great use to the community for years to come.
“Clubs like the Clarkes deserve great credit for what they do for young men and women across the community.
“It is unbelievable what those clubs achieve on a weekly basis.”
As the grand opening ceremony concluded ahead of the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, chairperson John McNulty again thanked guests, club members and officials who helped in the development.
Speaking after the official opening, Mr McNulty said, “We are absolutely honoured, delighted and excited about what we have achieved and what is ahead of us, it is a phenomenal effort on behalf of everyone and the future is looking bright.”