Doon GAA Pitch & Facilities
The standard of the playing pitch, practice pitch and dressing rooms in Doon are on a par with the best. The grounds are easy to find. Doon is situated on the border between Limerick and Tipperary between Cappamore and Cappawhite.
The pitch is situated about 200 yards from the Main Street in Doon. Doon GAA Club moved to these grounds in 1994.
The Dressing Rooms were officially opened in 2002.
Doon GAA pitch now opened twenty years
On the 1st of May 1994 the present GAA pitch on the Toher Road was officially opened by his Excellency Terence McCarthy Australian Ambassador to Ireland and Peter Quinn former President of the GAA. The field was blessed by the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Dr Dermot Clifford
The opening match was between Limerick and Laois and was refereed by Sean O Meara from Shinrone who won an All Ireland senior hurling medal with Offaly in 1981
The first recorded match played by a Doon team was a football game played at the Inch in Cooga , a field owned by John Ryan Luke who was the Poor Law Guardian for the area. Large crowds attended tournament games held there in April 1887. The pitch was situated on the banks of the Bilboa River , it was used for six years until the lapse of the GAA in the area around 1893.
A second parish club, the Castletown Defenders had their playing arena in Tim Quinlans of Carrigbeg [which is now owned by Tim OBrien ] The field is in the shadow of Coonagh Castle. Thousands attended a monster Tournament held there on August 8th 1887 with teams from Doon, Pallasgreen, Oola, Cappawhite, Donohill, Moanrue, and Cappamore taking part.
The Blackboy Rovers had a hurling team also and their field was reputed to have been on land owned by the Kearney family near the bridge of the same name. Around 1904 Gurtavalla had a football team , the whereabouts of their training field is unsure, the same club also taking part in the Junior football championship of 1917.
The GAA lapsed in the area until around 1922 when a club under the name of Glengar played tournament games in Lysaghts near the Christian Brothers School. After a few years the training was done in Richardsons across the road near the cemetary.
With the formation of the Doon club as it is known to-day games were played at Devanes on the Toher road which is now our present permanent headquarters. In 1929 Glengar played Doon in the East Limerick Junior Hurling Championship and during the same year the County Junior football semi final of 1928 against Sarsfields [Army ] took place here. After some years the next move was to Whites , now owned by the Hayes family, where the 1932 county minor semi-final against Young Irelands was held. Hayes field was also used for many years by the Coursing club . It was from this pitch that the successful Junior teams of 1937 and 1941 practised their skills.
During the War years the club trained at Cooga. In the depressed decade of the fifties it was back to the village and Barrys field on the Toher road. From here began the great underage revival of 1959 and numerous county titles during the 60s in u21, and Minor were born in this arena. The great Tournament clashes of the late 60s between Newport and Doon and Solohead and many others drew huge crowds. The Junior team of 1967 that reached the County final was one of the last to use it for training. In 1968 Doon went senior and have held this status since.
In 1969 following the division of the estate of Jimmy OConnell of Cooga by the Irish Land Commission , the club purchased six and a half acres for 800 pounds, so after 20 years it was back to the same field about one mile from the village on the Gurtavalla road. Many successes were recorded there in Tournament games . Sean Treaceys were the leading team in West Tipperary at the time and they attracted huge crowds Numerous East Board games took place here including the 1988 East Senior hurling final between Cappamore and Ahane. With the advent of the All County Leagues such notable clubs as Patrickswell, Ballybrown, Kilmallock and Cappamore have traded their skills there over the years. In the club Centenuary year of 1988 Cappawhite as Tipperary County champions played Doon , one of the years highlights. In May 1979 a testimonial game between Limerick and Tipperary senior hurlers was played in memory of the late Jackie McGrath who was club secretary and East board secretary for many years.
On numerous occasions Doon GAA club had endevoured to acquire a site closer to the village, but all efforts proved fruitless, that was until early 1991. The Sisters of Mercy owned a site on Toher Road, Doon which was ideally suited to the GAA clubs requirements. This pitch was known locally as the 9 acres and was previously owned by the Devane family , when it was also used as a GAA pitch. The Sisters of Mercy were favourably disposed towards the GAA clubs proposed development, but did not wish to sell the site in question as it would reduce their farm to an uneconomic holding. They were , however , willing to exchange this site for an equivalent amount of land bordering their holding, and when an appropriate property came to the market in the Autumn of 1990, the club purchased this property. Fifteen and a half acres of land was exchanged with the Sisters of Mercy for the nine acre site.
In the Spring of 1991 the Field Development Committee was appointed and the club engaged the services of Martin Moroney , a civil engineer from Scariff, to draw up plans for the development of the playing pitch. It was agreed to develop a main pitch and a training pitch. Ambassador Terence McCarthy formally turned the first sod and planted an Ash tree to mark the occasion on April 11th 1992. The project was started in May 1992 and completed in October of the same year.
From the end of 1991 until the new pitch opened for use in 1994, the club used the CBS pitch and Barrys field for training and all underage games. The senior team played their home matches in the County league at Cappawhite During the Spring training was at the well appointed Bilboa Athletic Track, the first time the club trained outside the parish.
A stand was built in 2001 and on Sunday February 10th 2002 a tournament game was played between Limerick and Clare to mark the official opening of the Dressing rooms and New Stand by the then County Board chairman Donal Fitzgibbon
The pitch and its surrounds is to day a magnificient development and is being continuously updated .
Thanks to all the hard work of many club members, the financial support of the people of the parish and beyond and finally the generosity of the Mercy Order and the local Sisters for agreeing to hand over the grounds.
Peter Quinn had just completed a very successful three year period as GAA President at Easter 1994. Peter, an accountant, is a native of Teemore Co Fermanagh. He arrived on the Slieve Russell helicopter , then owned by his brother Sean direct from an Ulster under 21 football championship match in which his son was playing for Fermanagh and it landed on the practice pitch. Immediately after the game he made the return journey north , to comply with the seven o'clock curfew on helicopter flights imposed in the North by the British army. He succeeded John Dowling as President in 1991 and handed over the Presidency to Jack Boothman in 1994. During his presidency he was the driving force in all aspects of the preparatory work for the building of the now magnificent Croke Park Stadium.
Terance McCarthy was Australian ambassador to Ireland since 1991. His grandfather John emigrated to Australia from Coolbawn in 1878 with his brothers Denis and PJ .Denis and PJ subsequently returned to Ireland leaving John to settle in his newly adopted land. Another brother William joined the Christian Brothers and went on to become Superior General in Ireland and was known as Brother Mark McCarthy. Mr McCarthy was born in Sydney in 1935 and served in Islamabad, Pakistan, The Hague Holland and as Consul General in Chicago before coming to Ireland in 1991. On April 11th 1992 he officially turned the first sod on the field development. He now lives in retirement in Canberra with his wife Margaret.
Archbishop Dermot Clifford is a native of Ballymacelligott Co Kerry and was born on 25th of January 1939. He was ordained a priest in Rome on 22nd of February 1964. He was ordained Coadjutor Archbishop of Cashel and Emly on 9th March 1986 and Archbishop on 12th of September 1988 by the late Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich. He also served as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cloyne from 7th of March 2009 to 27th of January 2013. As a successor of Archbishop Croke, he is also the Patron of the GAA and is annually seen presenting the cup to the All Ireland minor winning captains in hurling and football at Croke Park. He is due to retire this Christmas 2014 on reaching the age of 75 years after 26 years of faithful service as Archbishop.