Dundalk Young Irelands GFC are located at Upper Marshes on the south side of the town of Dundalk, Co. Louth. Dundalk is an industrial town of c40,000 population situated exactly half way between Irelands two major cities, Dublin and Belfast. The clubs grounds are easily located near the towns eastern bypass.
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Dundalk Young Irelands GFC were located at the Athletic Grounds (Ramparts, Dundalk – now Dublin Building Providers) until its closure in November 1959. The grounds were not actually owned by the club but a linked body – Dundalk Young Irelands Athletic Grounds Company Ltd. Following bids for the grounds (including a bid from Louth GAA), a decision was made by the company to sell the grounds to Hallidays Shoe company in order to provide much needed employment to the town. The loss of the Athletic Grounds was not only severe blow to Young Irelands, but to all Louth gaels. The Athletic Grounds was the scene of many great games including many Louth County Finals.
Dundalk Young Irelands were faced with a serious problem, however their President, Fr. Paddy McDonnell found a ready ally in Fr. Eugene Quigley S.M., superior of the Marist College, who willingly provided the club with the use of the college grounds. The Marist Fathers indeed have always been instrumental with Young Irelands and this is still the case in 2004 with our Honorary Club President Fr. Mulligan S.M. very active in club activities. Dundalk Young Irelands moved to the Marist Grounds from 1960.
This relocation to the Seatown/Marist area saw the development of this area with many fine players produced in the following 30 years. 1979 captain Seamus Haughey (Valley), Maguire (Valley) Gorhams, Maguire, Holland (Mary Street), McArdle (Seatown), Scully, Murphy (St. Marys Road), Powell, Corbally (Castle Road) Hande, McGuinness (New Street), Bailey, Lawrence (Chapel Street), O’Connor, O’Callaghan (Broughton Street), Rice (Bachelors Walk) are both some of the family names synonymous with the “Irelanders” who were within a stones throw of the Marist Grounds. The club enjoyed some fine times at “the Marist” however it was always the intention of the clubs committee to acquire our own playing grounds. This opportunity came about in the early 1980s with the purchase of a 7-acre site from Dundalk UDC at Upper Marches.
1989 say a dream come through for the people who worked tirelessly for Young Irelands to have grounds we can rightly call our own. Fr. Mulligan S.M., Cathal MacArtain, Michael Flood and Tommy Carroll were the main movers in the Pairc Eire Óg development. Fortunately these men had the foresight to acquire a site capable of holding 2 pitches.
In the summer of ’89 the first Senior League Game was played on Pairc Eire Óg v Newtown Blues (Drogheda). Niall O’Callaghan (Bay Estate) was the first Young Irelands scorer in the new grounds. It wasn’t long before development began on and off the field. In 1992 the dressing room complex was opened. The development of juvenile teams in this new area was also a major job with Kieran Maguire, Joe Mc Donald, Pat Bailey and Gerry Nixon in particular playing a leading role in attracting young players. Graham Carr was one of the first young players from our new area and everyone at Young Irelands were delighted when Graham made his Louth senior debut on 4 th January, 2003 v Westmeath (O’Byrne Cup).
In 2001, the committee started a new 4 stage development plan to transform the grounds into a top class sporting facility for the area. Under the supervision of committee member, Derek O’Donoghue we have just completed new extended clubrooms, which have basically doubled our clubhouse. Stage I and II are complete and we now have four large dressing rooms with ensuite shower rooms, kitchen, referees room, garage and storage area, public toilets, laundry room and meeting room/office. A new entrance is currently being installed with better parking facilities and the existing drive/parking area will be dug up and incorporated into the juvenile playing facilities. Full floodlighting of our pitches was completed with switch on of new floodlights on Wednesday 1st December, 2004.
We are currently in Stage III of our 4 stage development plan. Plans for Stage III in 2005 to erect new fencing, new barrier netting, improve the playing surface of our main pitch and realign our juvenile pitch closer to the boundary fence at pitch & putt course. Stage IV will entail a perimter fence around the main field, dug-outs, tarring the car park, new entrance at Rockfield and some more ground work on the Tom Bellew Ave side. We were granted €80,000 in the 2004 Sports Capital Grant allocations and hopefully we are on course to finish Stage IV by 2005 latest. The club committee are very keen on working closely with St. Gerard’s Athletic Club in the joint promotion of our sports. Dundalk Young Irelands G.F.C. and St. Gerard’s Athletic Club have the capacity to jointly develop our grounds into a top class sporting facility for the area. St. Gerard’s will continue to use our grounds free of charge for their weekly training/coaching sessions.
We have a long history (120 years in 2004) and we have invested heavily in the grounds in recent years and will continue to do so to provide sporting facilities for the area. While the club have fundraised for these projects, we are also very grateful for funding received from the Sports Capital Programme and Louth County Council led Task Force/EU Peace and Reconciliation Fund.
Any person/organisation interested making a donation to Dundalk Young Irelands GFC can do so by clicking the link. Donate.