Here to Stay

In the Autumn of 1969 when a group of enthusiastic boys and a few dedicated men met in Danny Friel's barn, they had one objective in mind. They were determined to play their part in the history and activities of Cumann Luthchleas Gael in their own county of Dun na nGall. The beginnings were indeed humble but that was no deterrent. They had the players and mentors. They knew the colour they wished to play in - red and black - just like their heroes of the great team from Condae an Dun. They even had a ball. One thing was lacking - a pitch to play on. This problem was overcome when a good friend of the club, Michael Kearney agreed to rent them his ground at Leenan. And it was there that the club played their matches. The terrain in Leenan suited the club -it was rugged and durable. Many games were played there in the early years and later for a period at Carndonagh. The club, however, always had the objective of acquiring a real home of their own. Even after the great success of 1979 and the early 1980's when the club returned to play at Leenan, it was obvious that a permanent pitch and premises was necessary.

During the 80s when expansion of underage activities was rapid resulting in a huge number of games for players of all ages, the need became even more acute. A good pitch with full facilities in a central location within the parish became a must. They say that fortune favours the brave and in the case of Urris, this really was so. Charlie Crampsey from Clonmany knew the needs of the club. He also had the answer to their problems. A life-long supporter of the game of Gaelic football, Charlie lived in exile most of his life, however, he never forgot his roots and when he was approached by the club he agreed to sell his land at Straid to them. Of all the locations in the parish, this was easily the best site. The club is fortunate indeed that Charlie Crampsey had the desire that his land should become their permanent homeplace. Sad to relate, Charlie is no longer with us as he passed on shortly after the deal was done. The club has decided the grounds should be known as Páirc Uí Chnáimhsighe in memory of a great friend and a true Gael. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.

A committee had been formed to acquire a pitch with John Friel, Colm Toland, Mattie Kemmy and Charlie Farren leading the way. Money was raised through draws including a car draw and bingo.

Many helped in this work, not least Danny Kelly, James Friel, James Kelly, Danny Friel, Tony McHale, John Joe Cleary, Michael Kelly, Bridget McLaughlin, John Farren, John Friel (Roxtown) and Eddie McLaughlin. With the finances in place, the land was bought. Now a premises for club rooms was required and Bernard O'Donnell was kind enough to agree to sell a house adjoining the field to the club. Work commenced on this project and again the club found a good friend in Danny McConologue who helped in designing the changing rooms. Long hours of work were put in with John Friel (Roxtown) and Colin Doherty and Patsy Doherty sparing no effort. Kind words of advice were always welcome from Laurence Farren and John 'Danny' Doherty whose expertise was invaluable

So now we are ready to officially open our new pitch and clubrooms. Our team, ably assisted by our faithful umpires, Mattie Kemmy, James Friel and Charlie Farren and redoubtable linesman Willy Friel, are ready for action. We see what has been achieved to date as only the beginning of what hopefully will be a long and illustrious history for the club. We are truly grateful to all our members, friends and supporters for their help and we are honoured by the presence of Peadar Ó Cúinn, Cathaoirleach Chomhairle Uladh and Uachtarán elect of Cumann Luthchleas Gael who will perform the opening. We know that we will not be allowed rest on our laurels by John Friel whose driving amibition has been the inspiration of us all and we sincerely hope that everybody enjoys this milestone in the history of the Urris club.

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