Pomeroy are aiming high
Pomeroy has made massive strides on and off the pitch in recent years – and they have no intention of stopping
at Páirc Phluinceid
POMEROY has always been a club that has aimed high. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the highest village in the north, but they have always wanted to raise their game.
In order to achieve that, you need the facilities to practice and train on though.
Ask Pomeroy chairperson Eddie Quinn about what is being done at the club and it will take a good while before he reaches the end of the list.
They are not only making rapid progress at Páirc Phluinceid but they are also helping to drive improved facilities at St Mary’s Primary School. Busy, busy times – and Quinn said that the work of all those involved should be highly commended.
The Cavanakeeran Community Centre will surely have a profound impact not only on the club, but the entire Pomeroy community as it acts as a social hub for everyone. It was due to open around now with the current coronavirus situation delaying it for a short period.
The centre compliments the current facilities beautifully, and there is more in the pipeline.
“It’s built adjacent to the new building that we’re hoping to start next year,” Quinn. “It’ll have new changing rooms and a new community gym with committee rooms overlooking the pitch.
“They will be two separate buildings but there will be a small path between the two. That’s given us the sports end and it’s given us the community end. We have a lot of people helping out in both.
“The parish, the church, everyone is getting behind it. We don’t have a parish hall in Pomeroy anymore so it’s coming at a good time.
“There’s a walking path at the grounds that was just completed and there is a new training pitch going in the middle of that.
“That will leave us with a full-size main pitch and then two decent-sized training pitches with lights when we’re finished.”
In December 2017, there was another tremendous boost for the Plunkett’s with the news that funding had been secured for a £160,000 floodlit 3G football pitch at the local primary school, St Mary’s. The pitch was built by the Mid Ulster Council and is used throughout the winter months by the club.
The club also worked in collaboration with the pre-school and the primary school to add to grant aid by the Mid Ulster Council for a one-wall at St Mary’s. This is another great asset in the development of football and handball in the area.
SEASONS TO REMEMBER
A steady flow of silverware
HERE are some of the seasons that will live long in memory of Pomeroy supporters.
The Pomeroy Plunkett’s won their first trophy at they collected the East Tyrone Junior Football Tournament. Played at Annagher Park in Coalisland, they defeated the Moy 3-3 to 2-1 with Packie Corrigan grabbing two goals and Patrick Begley the other.
Pomeroy won the Tyrone Intermediate title for the first time with a 0-7 to 0-4 win over Donaghmore in October. The Plunkett’s led 0-4 to 0-2 at half-time, some recent rain causing slippery conditions, and they held out in the second half with goalkeeper Brendan Beggs, Paddy Cunningham, Plunkett Begley, Noel Walshe, Oliver Grimes, Vinny Beggs, Dan Murphy, Patsy Begley, Mickey Harvey and Oliver Beggs all playing well. It was Dan Murphy who punched over the equalizer in their semi-final draw with Kildress with the Plunkett’s winning the replay to set up the clash with Donaghmore.
A fine year for Pomeroy as they completed the Junior League and Championship double under Carrickmore man Frank Martin. September’s championship final proved an extremely one-sided affair as they defeated Urney 3-12 to 0-2 in Dunmoyle. The Plunkett’s defence was on fine form throughout the campaign as they conceded just 0-12 in their wins over Aghaloo, Derrytresk, Brockagh and Urney. The Division Three title arrived in October with a win over Greencastle securing the honours.
Pomeroy ended a 37-year wait for their second Intermediate title in 2004, and followed it up by claiming the Ulster title too under manager Raymond Munroe. Gortin had taken them apart in the previous year’s final, but they came back determined and Christopher Colhoun and Kieran McKenna both grabbed four points as they defeated Eskra in the final. In Ulster they started with a 10-point win over Armagh’s Carrickcruppen before coming through a close encounter with Down champions Atticall. Moneyglass were easily dismissed the final.
In March 2005, after wins over St Peter’s, Manchester and Meath side Wolfe Tones, there was an exodus to Portlaoise for what was the first official All-Ireland Intermediate Club Football final, but Cork’s Carbery Rangers proved too strong despite Ciaran Slane’s early penalty goal.
The Plunkett’s may have only three Tyrone Intermediate titles to their name, but the fact that the last two have been followed by provincial success shows that when they get going, they are hard to stop. In the 2016 Tyrone final they were big favourites against Derrylaughan but in a thrilling match, they had to produce some great moments to secure a 3-12 to 1-12 win. Arva of Cavan, and Derry’s Castledawson were defeated to earn an Ulster final spot against a strong Donaghmoyne team from Monaghan. A close encounter was expected but Pomeroy played some super football to win 2-16 to 0-10. There was regret at the All-Ireland semi-final loss to Meath’s St Colmcille’s as they came from eight points down to lead by three before being undone by some late scores.
A real breakthrough period for ladies’ football in the club. In July, the minor ladies had a 4-7 to 3-8 win over Galbally in the Grade Four Championship final with Clodagh Cunningham’s late 1-1 tally proving decisive. In November the u-16 girls claimed the Grade Four Championship with a 5-3 to 0-6 win over Aghaloo.
A focus on ladies’ football
ONE area Pomeroy are hoping to improve on over the next few years is participation levels in girls’ football.
This season, before it grinded to a halt, there had been plans to really push it, and their new changing room facilities were built with both girls and boys in mind.
The club has some talented young players coming through the female ranks, as demonstrated in 2018, and the club hopes to give them the platform to really succeed in future years.
Ending the Wait
The 2016 Intermediate final win over Derrylaughan was a real breakthrough moment for the current senior team under the guidance of Mark Harte and Adrian O’Donnell.
They had lost a number of finals coming through the ranks, including at u-21 level, so there was some pressure on them to perform.
Two of their young stars, Frank Burns and Kieran McGeary, dove-tailed beautifully with Burns, Christopher Colhoun and Ryan Loughran finding the net in a 3-12 to 1-12 win.
“It’s absolute utter relief, we put in so much hard work over the year,” said player Denver Nugent afterwards.
At the heart of the community
GAELIC games have been present in Pomeroy since November 1908 when Pomeroy Emmett’s played a game against Sixmilecross.
The game finished the Emmett’s 2-3 Wolfe Tones, Sixmilecross 1-5 – Mick Corr captaining Pomeroy.
Back then the likes of Moy, Ardboe and even Maghery would visit for games – giving villagers their first real taste of club action in the Dungannon District League.
In 1916, the Plunkett’s were formed out of the Emmett’s and for the last 104 years they have been providing an invaluable service to the Pomeroy community.
Among the club ethos is the phrase “building a Pomeroy Plunkett’s community spirit and binding our people together”, and it’s easy to see that the are achieving that goal.
“We would be a small enough club but we have the fourth biggest membership in Tyrone,” said club chairperson Eddie Quinn.
“We have powerful community support and an awful lot of people involved in the club are involved in other groups within the parish, which is a big thing.
“It’s a big, big plus to be able to pull different groups together for different function. There’s a real community spirit there.
“We want to just keep doing what we have been doing in the community, and hopefully build on it too.”
Nights to remember
THE coronavirus is, of course, causing uncertainty but Pomeroy are still hopeful of getting their club fundraiser off the ground in September – or soon after.
The original plan was to have the first annual dinner dance in the Cavanakeeran Community Centre in late August with the draw being launched on the heels of that, but it remains an evolving situation.
One of the proudest years for the club was their centenary celebrations back in 2016.
Success on the pitch went hand-in-hand with a series of events off it to mark the occasion.
That included a night in May 2016 to commemorate the life of Joseph Mary Plunkett. He was executed in Kilmainham Gaol after the Easter Rising and the club carries his name to this day.
The club rounded off the centenary celebrations with a gala ball in the Armagh City Hotel.
Although not run by the club, Plunkett members also enjoy helping out with the annual Santa’s Magical Forrest event.
It’s a fundraiser for the community with about 5,000 people coming to it every year.
Pomeroy increase coaching at primary school level
THE club is well aware that there is no room to stand still when it comes to underage activity, and they have taken steps to try and push things further along.
One of the key moves was to send Tyrone star Frank Burns into St Mary’s Primary School twice a week to coach the pupils.
“A big thing for us is that we have Frank Burns going into the primary school twice a week,” said chairperson Eddie Quinn. The teachers have agreed a timetable for him to come in and they’d work it with him an incorporate it in their PE.
“That’s where it has to start, at primary school. The fact that Frank is a Tyrone player too means that he has a good presence.
“We’re hopeful that it will all pay dividends down the line.”
Burns is now a regular with Tyrone along with clubmates Hugh Pat McGeary and Kieran McGeary. It is clear that Pomeroy players can compete with the rest, although Quinn said that they had to keep working hard.
“Frank is only in a couple of months and already you can see progress.
“The P7 team has won a tournament and were in a final for another. That hadn’t happened in a long time.
“That 3G pitch and one-wall at the school, something the council had a big hand in, will be a great help too.
“Everyone is working really hardtop give the best opportunities to our underage players.”
Handball continues to be something that the club promotes with great enthusiasm.
In 1980 a 40×20 indoor handball alley was built and new glass one-wall was built in 2018.
Handball was thriving in Pomeroy during the club’s formation and success continues to arrive to this day.
In 1980 the football club amalgamated with St Mary’s Handball Club and there has been a steady flow of Tyrone and Ulster titles.