The Dundalk FC Development Group was delighted to welcome Dundalk Cricket Club chairman Gerry McKeever to Oriel Park this week. 

The get-together was part of a commitment to grow the relationship between the two clubs and plan for a shared future using the facilities at Oriel Park. 

The current incarnation of Dundalk Cricket Club was established in 2009 and, after playing in Dromiskin for several years, the club moved to its current base at Hiney Park, which is located directly behind Oriel Park, in 2009.

Speaking about the meeting which also included Dundalk FC FSR Officer Aoife Burns, Stephen Neary of the DFC Development Group said it was important to build links with other sporting organisations in the community.

“Gerry was excited to hear of our intention to apply for a Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) Grant and we shared our plans with him for the long-term future of Oriel Park. 

“We also renewed our agreement with Dundalk Cricket Club and signed an updated deal to allow them added access to Oriel Park if we are successful with our submission and complete the new redevelopment. 

“It was a positive meeting between the two clubs and we believe there is real potential to make Oriel Park a true community venue. We want to thank Gerry and everyone at Dundalk Cricket Club for their support on this project.”

Pitch and Floodlights
The meeting with Dundalk Cricket Club was one of a number of initiatives that the Development Group have been busily working on over the last couple of weeks in a bid to complete some essential work required to allow some updates to take place at Oriel Park. Two of those items are the pitch and the floodlights.

“We are delighted to say that we have selected a preferred contractor for the pitch replacement and hope to share some more news when we sign off on this contract,” explained Stephen.

“Work on upgrading the floodlight switch room has been delayed slightly due to us needing to move a meter in the switch room,” he added. “This work can only be carried out by the ESB and we have been waiting for them to contact us with a date for this. 

“Last week, they engaged with us and this should allow us to progress with the new panel installation in the near future. Once again, we would like to thank Jarlath Flynn from JTec Controls for his work on this project.”

Dundalk Cricket Club chairman Gerry McKeever renews his club’s agreement with Dundalk FC

Youth Development Centre (YDC)
“Work on the YDC is ongoing,” said Neary. “We have replaced a lot of the wiring in the building and upgraded the fire alarm system and the area at the rear of the building has been completely cleared, giving us extra space and access to the facility.

“We hope to begin work on the rear of The Shed, adjoining the YDC, in the coming weeks. This will involve building a new wall at the back of The Shed and a new access point for the TV gantry from the YDC itself.”

Stadium Redevelopment
The DFC Development Group has held several meetings with representatives from Louth County Council, the FAI, government officials and other sporting organisations to move the process of redeveloping Oriel Park along.

With the help of Allsports Spectator Facilities, the group shared a rendered video of a potential redevelopment of Oriel Park last year.

Neary said that this plan has moved forward and the group is hoping to submit a Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund application before the deadline on July 1st. 

“We have commissioned Allsports to draw up detailed plans for this submission,” he said. “The change in ownership at the beginning of the year has delayed our progress slightly but we are working every day to try and get a submission into the LSSIF.

“The new Oriel Park would be a modern, community-based centre with a number of additional facilities, new dressing rooms, new offices, new referees rooms, doping rooms, a sensory room and extended accessibility for everyone to use.

“On top of this, we hope to utilise the existing YDC to enhance the club’s corporate potential. The new development would also have a modern disability section within the new stand structures.

“This is a huge task that has been undertaken by everyone at the club and, given the delays we encountered, it will be an achievement in itself if we can get a submission in by the deadline but we are working day and night to achieve that and we will issue another update shortly to let supporters know how things are going.”