History of Paírc Emmett
When Butlersbridge Emmett’s celebrated their Centenary in 1988 it was fitting that their new football pitch Paírc Emmett, was just ready to host the clubs Centenary game – a past versus present selection. For over one hundred years the club had tried and failed to secure a permanent, suitable site for the playing of our national games. However, this was to change in the mid 1980’s.
In February 1986 a meeting of the committee of the Development Association (Vincent Bartley Jnr, Hugh Leddy, Mary Tierney) and the officers of Butlersbridge G.F.C. (Ambrose Shannon R.I.P, Brian McEntee and Terry Leddy) took place. At that meeting it was pointed out that the then Dev. Assoc. field could be purchased by the football club if the adjoining field owned by Johnny Smith (Ballyhaise), could be purchased also. Both committees agreed to pursue the possibility. In time Smith’s field was bought for £12,000 and the Dev. Field for £8,000. The purchase money was raised through a house to house collection in the area and through donations from “’Bridge” people who were then living outside the area, allied to finance already in the club, raised over a period of years by a very hard working finance committee.
In March, 1987, the job of excavating, draining and levelling the proposed new pitch was given to Mr. Sean Smith of P & S Constructions at a cost of £26,000. Work commenced in May and excavation and drainage were completed by September. In April 1988 the grass seed was sown and by August the pitch was ready for the clubs Centenary game. The finance for this part of the project was raised through two very successful car draws in 1987 and 1988.
Close to the pitch site was an old disused Co. Council boiler house. This was made available to the club at a nominal fee and over the next couple of years old tanks and pipework were removed. The building was re-roofed and adequate dressing rooms were provided. In the following years perimeter fencing, dug-outs, and a stand were erected.
Paírc Emmett was officially opened in May 1993 by the then G.A.A. President Mr. Peter Quinn. Longford and Cavan played at the official opening. A plaque inside the ground reminds us of two great ‘Bridge men who passed to their eternal reward before the official opening. One was Con Smith, who played for Butlersbridge and Cavan with distinction. The other was Ambrose Shannon who worked tirelessly for the new park. No doubt both men would be very proud of the clubs achievements in the intervening years.
It is worth nothing that at no stage during purchase or development did the club ever borrow a penny from the bank. Funds were always raised in advance of work being done. The fund raising committee at that time (1987 – 1990) was Brian McEntee, Paul Hickey, Gerry McGerty, Paddy McGovern, Ambrose Shannon R.I.P., Terry Leddy, Sean O’Reilly, Sean McGovern, Jimmy McGerty, Martin Duffy, John Emmo, Paddy Leddy and Michael Reynolds. The field committee, who worked so hard for so many years was comprised of Packie Connolly, Noel McGovern R.I.P. and Patsy McEntee R.I.P.
As the years moved on the club was growing in numbers. The local population was increasing rapidly and more demands were being made on the pitch. With Junior League and Championship success coming in 2002 and more players playing Gaelic football at all levels, it became apparent that the time was coming to upgrade the dressing room and the playing facilities. Plans for new dressing rooms, meeting rooms, toilets, gym and so on were drawn up.
An application was made to the Sports Capital Grant in 2007 for funding for the provision of new clubrooms which would consist of the following on a split level site: 1st floor : 4 large dressing rooms with shower rooms, toilets (both ladies and gents), a referee’s room with shower facility, meeting room/function room, tea room. Basement: gym, storage room, boiler room, and a large room for pitch maintenance equipment or indoor training. At the entrance gate we have public toilets both male and female and turnstile. All facilities comply with wheelchair regulations.
Architect employed was Michael Fitzpatrick.
Tenders were sought and M & C Bannon Construction from Ballyconnell was selected as the builder as a result of the tenders. Contract price was €358,000 plus vat. The total price was €442,000 which included some extras.
Sports Capital funding of €100,000 was granted with €20,000 coming from Clar and the remainder was made up with our own funds and major fundraising events.
To raise the local contribution Club 300 was formed which was run over a five year period with tickets €1,000 each, this proved very successful, and resulted in us not having to avail of any overdraft facilities.
Our new Clubrooms were opened in 2008 by President of the GAA Nicky Brennan in the presence of Geraldine Giles, Ladies Football President and Aogan O’Fearghail, from the Ulster Council.
We made an application in 2008 to the Sports Capital Programme for grant aid towards the upgrading of the pitch but were unsuccessful on that occasion.
We applied again to the Sports Capital Programme in 2012 for a grant towards upgrading of the pitch and training area and provision of a running track round the pitch, lighting and fencing. We were granted €80,000. Tenders were sought and Michael Hyland of Hyland Turfcare was selected to undertake the work at a cost of €175,000.
Michael Fitzpatrick was again the architect.
Local funding was required to make up the shortfall and Club 125 was launched over a period of three years with tickets at €720 or standing order of €20 per month for three years which again proved very successful.
Work is well under way with the new pitch and practice pitch fully laid. Work is ready to commence on the running track and fencing around the field. Flood lighting is also being put in place and it is hoped that the official opening of the new pitch will take place in summer 2015. This will greatly benefit all the young football talent that is being nurtured in Butlersbridge at present.
Great credit is due to the hard working officers and committee who pressed ahead with these projects. Former club Chairman Michael Mulvey did Trojan work in securing Sports Capital Funding on two occasions. He was ably assisted by former Chairman Ronan Flanagan and current Chairman Paul Henry, Vice-Chairmen Harry Conaty and Pauric McGearty; Treasurers Helen Flynn and Michael Reynolds; Secretaries Louise Leddy and Maureen Cosgrove; Assistant Secretary Eileen O’Reilly. The present field committee of Jim McCorry, Michael Mulvey, Ronan Flanagan, Paul Henry and Michael Reynolds are overseeing the present pitch development and deserve great credit for their work todate. As we move towards 2015 we continue to hold to our Club 125 motto “Is feidir linn”.