Posted by Oliver Killeen on September 11, 2009 at 22:10:12:
In Reply to: histroy of McHale Park posted by castlebar local on September 11, 2009 at 11:22:45:
A major redevelopment was undertaken between 1950 and 1952 which raised the capacity of the ground to 40,000 with seating for 18,000 costing £15,000. The ground was reopened on June 15, 1952 with a game between the reigning All-Ireland champions Mayo and Meath which also ended in a draw.
In the late 1980s covered seating was provided in the Gerry McDonald Stand. In 1990 the Connacht Council decided to grant aid Dr. Hyde Park, County Roscommon with a view to making it the main venue in the province. In reaction to this a further redevelopment was embarked upon by the Castlebar Mitchels club. Over the course of the next 12 years the ground was converted into a 36,000 all-seater stadium and new dressing-rooms, improved press facilities, dug-outs and a wheelchair area were constructed.
In March 2005 the Mayo County Board took control of McHale Park on a fifty-year lease with a view to upgrading the stadium.
In 2008 construction work commenced on a detailed renovation of the ground, to include the construction of a new 10,000 seater stand as well as an extension to the seated area to the south (Albany) end of the ground. Following completion the seated capacity of the stadium will be raised to 41,000, making the stadium the largest all-seater venue in Ireland, outside of Dublin. The Ä16 million redevlopment works will also include improved facilities for spectators, a museum, underground training areas, and County Board offices. As part of these works the famous facade on the McHale Road side of the ground has been demolished. The redevelopment is scheduled for completion in September 2009. Funding for the project is being generated by the sale of the naming rights for the stadium as well as the sale of season tickets for matches taking place at the ground.
Images of proposed redevelopment of McHale Park
Photographs of ongoing development work at venue, April 2009
1952 Connacht Senior Football final: Roscommon GAA 3-5 Mayo 0-6. This was the first Connacht final to take place in McHale Park and the first big game there since the redevelopment. Mayo were coming off the back of two consecutive All-Ireland titles and 4 Connacht titles in-a-row. There was a journalists strike on at the time and there were no reporters at the game. The result was sent by telegram to RT… to be read out on their evening GAA results programme. However, it was felt that a mistake must have been made and that Mayo couldnít have been beaten by an unfancied Roscommon. There was no way of checking this due to the journalists strike, so the result was erroneously read out as Mayo 3-5 Roscommon 0-6.
1962 Connacht Senior Football final: Roscommon 3-7 Galway GAA 2-9. Galway were well ahead when Aidan Brady broke the crossbar. A lengthy delay ensued while repairs were made. On the resumption the game changed completely and Roscommon turned things around to snatch a famous win.
1975 Connacht Senior Football final replay: Sligo 2-10 Mayo 0-15. Many thought Sligo had missed their chance in the drawn match in Markievicz Park but inspired by Mickey Kearins, they won their first Connacht title in 47 years to spark joyous scenes among the Sligo supporters at the final whistle.
1981 Connacht Senior Football semi-final: Mayo 2-7 Galway 1-8. Few gave Mayo, without a Connacht title for 12 years, any chance against arch-rivals Galway who had just been crowned League champions. However, on a blazing hot summerís day, a tremendous performance of high fielding by Willie Nally propelled Mayo to a famous victory and they would go on to clinch the Connacht title over Sligo, also at McHale Park.
1991 Connacht Senior Football final: Roscommon 0-14 Mayo 0-14. With time almost up, it appeared that Mayo had regained the title but up stepped Derek Duggan to kick a now legendary long-range free to take the game to a replay.
1992 Connacht Senior Football final: Mayo 1-14 Roscommon 0-10. Remarkably, the same McHale Park crossbar was to be broken again in a Connacht final. Mayo were on top when Roscommonís Enon Gavin brought down the bar. However, there was to be no turnaround for Roscommon on this occasion and Mayo went on to comfortably regain the title.
2001 All-Ireland Senior Football quarter-final: Galway 0-14 Roscommon 1-5. The first All-Ireland series match to take place in McHale Park was an all-Connacht affair. The two sides had met earlier in the championship when Roscommon had shocked the defending Connacht champions. Revenge was to be sweet for Galway in the re-match as they ran out convincing winners on their way to claiming the All-Ireland title.
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