O'Connor Park, Development
Aerial View of New Stand, O'Connor Pk,
Officially opened October 8th 2006
O’Connor Park - A Development To Be Proud Of
The re-development of O’Connor Park into a 20,000 capacity, modern day stadium has won a firm seal of approval from, not just supporters from the Faithful County but also from visiting counties.
O’Connor Park, which was officially opened by An Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera in 1934, has undergone many changes in the intervening years. Developed originally by Tullamore GAA Club, O'Connor Park's central location in Ireland has made it an ideal venue for high profile games and it has hosted many Leinster championship games in all grades as well as All-Ireland finals at U-21, underage and schools level.
The previous stand was officially opened in 1991 while the dressing rooms, which were in use up until recently, were built in 1953 and upgraded in the late 1980s.
In 2002, years of negotiations between the Offaly GAA County Board and Tullamore GAA Club finally reached fruition with the County Board taking a long term lease on the grounds, with the option to renewal at the end of that period.
The need to redevelop O’Connor Park was never more poignantly demonstrated than in 2004 when Leinster Council ruled that it could not host the Leinster Senior Football Championship game between Offaly and Westmeath as the capacity was insufficient because of health and safety regulations and the game was transferred to Croke Park. “Home” All-Ireland hurling qualifiers in 2005 were also moved out of the county for the same reason.
The re-development comprised of three stages:
stage 1 construction of a stand with press and wheelchair facilities (capacity 7,000),
stage 2: terracing on North side of ground (capacity 8,500)
stage 3 Terracing and seating on the East side of the ground (capacity 3,500), 4 new dressing rooms and TV tower.
There is further spectator facility (capacity 1,000) on West side of ground
The sod was officially turned on the new stand in O'Connor Park at a ceremony performed at half time in the Senior Football Championship final on September 18th 2005. It was officially opened on October 8th 2006, by GAA President Nickey Brennan.
O’Connor Pk now provides the following facilities:
The stand, which was constructed to the highest standards, seats 7,000 people, divided into ten sections.
· Ladies, gents and wheelchair accessible toilets.
· A corporate facility for pre and post event hospitality, accommodates 100 people all seated.
· A press box with full broadband facilities, separate areas for print and radio media and a media hospitality area. Toilet facilities.
· Comfortable viewing facility, with a special section accessible by lift, accommodating up to 16 wheelchair users.
· First Aid Room
· Referees dressing rooms
· Secure cash room with keypad locks and CCTV.
The terracing, with a capacity of 11,000 is also of the highest standard
· Ladies, gents toilets.
· Large TV camera room incorporating TV studio and two commentary boxes
· Four large custom built dressing rooms.
· First Aid and drug testing rooms.
· Enclosed Car Park facility for up to 50 cars and 4 Busses
· Warm up facility for teams
· The ground has passed all health and safety inspections.
· All turnstiles are connected to an electronic counting system.
· Turnstiles monitored by CCTV
· Electronic scoreboard for displaying advertising, emergency and general information.
August 21st 2010 marked the completion of the third and final phase, of the Development, and we were delighted to welcome our many guests, local and national. We were particularly pleased to have GAA President Christy Cooney accompanied by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen T.D. perform the opening ceremony and members of the local religious bodies present to perform a blessing.
The redevelopment of O’Connor Park is certainly the biggest project undertaken by the Offaly GAA County Board.
We are indeed indebted for the major injection of financial support received from The Government, through the Sports Capital Programme, Central Council and Leinster Council through their respective Infrastructural Funds. In addition, substantial monies have been raised from local fundraising efforts, initiated and co-ordinated by the O’Connor Park fundraising committee, and from the Offaly GAA All County Clubs draw.
Sincere thanks, for your work to date, to the past and present members of O’Connor Park Finance and Development Committees and all businesses, clubs and individuals who have supported the venture, to Tullamore GAA club and local residents for your co-operation and support at all times.