Sinead Reel isn’t one to rest on her laurels so it was no surprise that the Armagh LGFA Chairperson was already looking ahead to the next phase of the ambitious McKeever Park development even as the floodlights were being formally switched on last Friday night.
“We only went and lit McKeever Park! Thanks to everyone from the bottom of my heart; I’m proud to be part of a great team of workers and players, both past and present, that helped achieve this dream,” Reel wrote on social media.
“Now we’re aiming to move forward to the next stage, which is building a state-of-the-art changing facility to match the work that has been done on the playing facilities. These players dedicate their lives to the county and deserve the best facilities to train in.”
Rightly though, she did acknowledge that the offical switching on of the floodlights was a real landmark moment in the overall McKeever Park project and, although she has been such a driving force, Reel made sure she acknowledged the efforts of all involved.
“Of course, this is special. We’re the first county in Ireland to have our own dedicated facility for ladies football and that’s a real source of pride for all of us as Armagh people. A lot of work has gone in over the past four or five years and now we’ve lit up Killean.
“We were campaigning for about three years there on the basis of ‘Let’s Light Killean’ so now we have to ‘keep her lit’, quipped former county player Reel, who is set to be returned for a sixth year as county chairperson at Armagh LGFA’s AGM on November 29.
“I’m sure everybody knows the story, how we didn’t have a regular, guaranteed training base. I think it’s very good for the girls to have the floodlit field and also the area here to come in and have something to eat after training and do their rubs and so forth.
“Everything is based here so they walk out of here straight onto the pitch which I think is great for the players themselves. Having a place like this brings unity and certainty and the girls know this is their home now which is a big thing as well.
“Even the younger girls at the minute that are underage (level), they know this is going to be here for them, this is the future and of course the big picture is that we keep producing players to follow through and play senior county football for Armagh.
“(New Armagh manager) Shane (McCormack) has mentioned me in terms of giving credit for this but what we have achieved here is far from just being about me and I want to acknowledge the amount of great people involved in various ways.
“There are those who have helped, or served on committees, some of whom maybe aren’t even involved any more but were there from the start. I’m not going to thank everyone individually but they all know who they are and I appreciate all of their help.
“I have to thank Curran Contracts for the work done on the pitch itself. For the amount of rain that has fallen in the past 10 days, it is probably one of the best surfaces in the whole of Ulster. You could run on it all night long and it doesn’t cut up. The surface is unbelievable.
“I want to thank the people of Killean, because they have taken us in with open arms, and anything we have ever asked for them to do, they do it. But there is one person in particular who I really want to thank and that’s Micheal Connolly from MICO Electrical.
“He has been the driving force behind the connection between Armagh Ladies and Killean from the very start. So I have to acknowledge the work that he has done and I look forward to the productive partnership with the local community continuing,” she concluded.