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Armagh Harps and Loughgall FC plan new clubhouse provision

Two of Armagh’s leading sports clubs have major plans in the pipeline for new clubhouse provision, Armagh I can exclusively reveal.

Both Armagh Harps Gaelic Football Club and Loughgall Football Club have this week submitted formal plans for approval.

Armagh Harps is hoping to construct a new clubhouse at its Abbey Park ground, off the Loughgall Road, which would cost in excess of £1 million.

And Loughgall FC, meanwhile, are hoping to build a new clubhouse pavilion at Lakeview Park.

An application by the local village club has been submitted on behalf of Loughgall’s youth set-up.

It is hoped to provide a new 3G pitch on the former hockey ground at the rear of the existing premises, as well as upgrade the existing Lakeview surface to 3G standard.

The proposals, if approved, will see the installation also of new floodlights, dugouts, fencing, a security tower, turnstiles, stand, toilet blocks and associated groundworks.

Armagh Harps, meanwhile, wants to demolish the existing clubhouse at Abbey Park and construct a new two-storey facility, complete with changing facilities, gymnasium and facilities for disabled users.

The plans include a corporate shop too, with a sports hall and viewing areas at first floor level.

An Armagh Harps spokesman, told Armagh I: “Armagh Harps have plans to build an indoor sports hall/community hall, children/female friendly changing facilities and a gymnasium/weights room.

“The indoor sports hall would be 20m x 20m and used for sporting and community-based recreational activities.

“The facility would also include four female/child friendly changing rooms and a gymnasium which will be 10m x20m.

“The project will include also resurfacing the current training pitch with a synthetic carpet.”

This would be the latest in a rolling programme of development for the Harps, an Armagh Club with a long and proud history dating back to 1888.

The Abbey Park ground was bought by the Harps in 1979.

But it was not until 1986, after the pitch was constructed and allowed to bed in, that the first game was played there – a league clash with Killeavey.

The foundations for the current dressing rooms were laid in 1988, but finance dictated that it would not proceed any further for a number of years.

After extensive fundraising by hard-working members and supporters, and a £90,000 grant from the Foundation for Sports and the Arts, it was not until the mid-90s that development work at Abbey Park was in full swing.

The ground also now has an all-weather pitch, a covered stand – capable of accommodating some 500 spectators – and floodlighting.

These latest plans, if given permission to proceed, will see the latest chapter written in the history of a club which has been to the forefront of the local gaelic games scene for 137 years.

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