Sixty years ago in 1962 thirteen acres of land at Lisanelly were purchased by Omagh St Enda’s. Michael Healy reflected at the time that the development was long awaited and would benefit gaelic football in the town. Ten years on those thirteen acres, the playing surface tended everyday by Michael, was officially opened as St Enda’s Park on September 17th 1972
The work commenced in mid 1968 at a projected cost of £30,000 with John Currid the consultant engineer and contractor Paddy Corey. By 1969 the fences were up and by 1971 the new pitch was described as having a “billiard-like” surface. There was of course the famous story about the dozer that sank without trace. It’s a true story but the dozer was eventually recovered.
The first Park Committee had been formed in 1957 but after a few false starts the activity stepped up. By the start of the new decade the successful “scouts double” fundraiser had evolved into the carnivals, sports and bingo securing the funds to purchase and then develop a place for Omagh Gaels to call home.
In the Autumn of 1972 Mr Alf Murray former GAA President, Tyrone Chairman Paddy Corey and Mr Jim Gormley Omagh Chairman officiated at the opening. Following the dedication of the park a double bill of games took place.
The occasion marked a milestone for St Enda’s and now fifty years on club members, including those who were part of the club or were there when the first sod was cut, will gather once again as the club celebrates this special fiftieth anniversary in the club’s 90th year of existence.
The events start on Thursday with a massive bingo session. The bingo of course was a huge fundraiser for the club through the years. A club exhibition will continue all weekend with a special tea dance aimed at the club’s senior members and local senior citizens from the Omagh community on the Friday with two Tyrone championship games to follow.
On Saturday the club will host a special day to remember Chris Keyes with a family fun day and music later in the club. The main focus on Sunday in terms of club involvement will be Mass in Sacred Heart Church at 12:00pm with the rededication of the park to follow at 2:00pm.
St Eugene’s Band will then jointhe celebrations at the Park. Fr Peter O’Kane will lead the rededication with Club President Liam Mc Grath, Mrs Sheila Meyler and Michael Brogan joined by Club Chairman Conor Sally.
Tyrone over 35s face Donegal in a challenge game. Fifty years ago a Brian Mc Eniff led Donegal playeda Tyrone team laced with talent and led by the late Brendan Dolan to mark the official opening. Players from the two squads and the two Tyrone Minor selections from 1971 and 1972 are cordially invited to join the club and their colleagues.
Tyrone v Donegal 1972
Tyrone- Mickey John Forbes (Ardboe); Frank McGurk (Kildress); Aiden McMahon (Coalisland); Seamus Donaghy-RIP- ( Dromore); Liam Turbett (Omagh); Anthony Donaghy-RIP (Beragh); Brendan Beggs (Pomeroy); Eamonn Hetherington (Donaghmore); Brendan Dolan-RIP-( Aghyaran).
Frank Quinn (Donaghmore); Pat King (Trillick); Mickey Hughes ( Killyman); Ollie Nugent (Pomeroy); Kevin Teague ( Ardboe); Patsy Hetherington. (Donaghmore); Gerry Taggart (Derrylaughlin). Paddy Mc Mahon (Omagh)