A £600,000 redevelopment plan for Tyrone GAA’s main stadium at Healy Park in Omagh is set to include the resurfacing of the playing pitch at the top venue.
Club and county officials are currently finalising plans for the major scheme which will also include the upgrading of other parts of the ground ahead of the 50th anniversary of it being vested in the GAA.
The erection of catchment nets behind each of the goals, new turnstiles and improvements to the toilet facilities are also being earmarked.
Omagh St Enda’s Chairman, Conor Sally, told the UH that the decision to go-ahead with the resurfacing work had been prompted by the cancellation of a number of high profile matches, including the County Final replay in 2016 and the 2017 National League clash between Tyrone and Cavan.
“Both of these events highlighted the need for a re-surfacing and the matter came to the attention of Croke Park which was when it was decided that consideration needed to be given to looking at the drainage difficulties,” Mr Sally said.
“We implemented remedial measures at the start of 2018 in conjunction with the Tyrone County Board and David Irvine of DMAC carried out work prior to the match against Dublin in the National League in February and again prior to the Ulster Championship match against Monaghan.
“There were no cancellations or postponements this year during what was a big season of activity for the ground. In fact it has been one of the most significant ever.
“We had massive National League games against Dublin, Kerry and Donegal, and first Ulster Championship match involving Tyrone for five years.
“In addition, there was also the Super Eight match against Dublin, and, of course, the four Tyrone County Finals, and the Ulster Club semi-finals and Junior and Senior finals.”
Healy Park has been the central venue for Tyrone inter-county matches since the 1980s.
First purchased by the Omagh club in 1962, the venue was extensively developed and vested in the GAA in 1972, with clubrooms opened in 1984 and the new stand constructed in 2004.
No date has been set as yet for the start of the resurfacing work, and Mr Sally says designs and costs will be available early in the new year.
“Once we have received the detailed plans and costings, we will then be able to plan when the work could take place, the finances involved and who will fund the scheme,” he added.
“We have two options with regard to the closure of the pitch for a period of time. One is to see the pitch closed for 16 months, but the more preferable option is to close the pitch for five-six months with a roll-out pitch similar to what is done in other top sports stadiums.
“Any decision in respect of a new pitch will be required to be taken by our club committee with the priority being the minimisation of disruption to our club members and teams.
“Healy Park is such a big stadium in the eyes of Central Council and Ulster Council officials at the moment is the biggest sporting venue in the six counties.”