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Memorials to football heroes could be in Omagh

Filed under: News/Events - Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2004 @ 10:40 am

Tentative suggestions to build a remembrance garden in honour of Cormac McAnallen and Paul McGirr at the entrance to Omagh St Enda’s ground are still a long way from coming to fruition it was revealed this week.

In a letter to the UlsterHerald, Omagh St Enda’s clubman and joint-treasurer, Liam McGrath, had offered the opinion that this would be a suitable memorial for both players and all deceased Tyrone Gaels throughout the county.
“When the new stand was opened here at Healy Park some people had said that it should be named after Cormac McAnallen, as it would be appropriate, but I think that was more of a knee-jerk reaction,” Mr McGrath said.

“It would be better to have something that would commemorate Cormac’s memory and that of Paul McGirr, who in 1997 died from injuries received on the Healy Park pitch during a minor championship game.

“I was an official that day, and I’ve often thought that something should have been done to remember Paul McGirr, and after what happened to Cormac, to honour him as well.
“A remembrance garden at the entrance to the pitch, with maybe some sculptured statues of the players – something similar to the Christy Ring statue down in Cork – and every Gael that went through that gate would see it and remember the great players they were.”
However, County Board Chairman Liam Nelis preferred not to comment on any prospective plans for the development.

Although this does not necessarily mean that plans for the remembrance garden will be shelved, Mr McGrath emphasised that Omagh St Enda’s GAA club, Tyrone County Board and the players’ families would have to be in agreement for the whole thing to come together.
It would be only by the acceptance of all three parties and the importance of everyone reading off the same hymn sheet that progress could be made. Funds would then have to be raised for the remembrance garden. Local footballing rivalries would also have to be put aside if it were to come to pass.

“Other clubs within Tyrone may want to do a similar thing, which is fine, but I think it would be appropriate to have one at Healy Park in Omagh, which is the county ground and which hosts the majority of inter-county matches,” Mr McGrath said.

“A small remembrance garden would be easily maintained and would be a fitting memorial for both these footballers and for all Tyrone Gaels across the county who have passed away. Gaels from all over Ireland would come through the front gates for matches here and see it. Their memories would be forever preserved.”

John Carney, Ulster Herald.

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