Club History

Short History of Club

Swinford Soccer Club was formed in the early 50's.Before that several attempts had been made to form a club. Soccer was played in the 30's and 40's when friendly games were held with teams from Sligo, Ballina and Castlebar and Westport. In 1953 six clubs were operating in Mayo. They were Westport Town, Castlebar Celtic, Westport United, Quay Hearts, Dooniver Swifts of Achill and Swinford. In the mid fifties Swinford played in the Castlebar Junior Leagues. The Mayo League was formed in 1954 and only four clubs took part. They were Castlebar Celtic,Westport Town, Barcastle and Quay Hearts.

In 1962 a meeting was held in Foley's house, Dublin Rd. to form Swinford Soccer Club. The club entered the Mayo League and in 1964 were part of Division 2. Swinford then seemed to drift in and out of the Mayo League. In 1974 the present club was formed at a meeting in the old Town Hall. The late Pearse Holmes was elected Chairman and Donal Benson was elected Hon. Sec.The following committee were elected: Michael Feeney, Tony Spain, Eugene Greaney, Philip Moore, Joe Lambe, & Joe Gallagher. In the early 70's the club played their games in Brabazon Park. In 1977 the club moved to the pitch behind the Vocational School where they remained until 1986. The club were very grateful to the Headmaster Mr. Martin O' Kelly for the use of the grounds. In the early 80's the club had obtained land opposite the Mart but gave up their option to allow housing development.

However the fortunes of the club changed for the better in 1986 when the late Mrs. Margaret McEvaddy of Cloonlara leased land to the club in Cloonaghboy. This was in the region of 5 Acres and was good land for Pitch Development. Mrs. McEvaddys sons Des and Ulick are well known in business and aviation circles. The sons on the death of their mother in 2004 contacted Donal Benson and confirmed their intention of carrying out their mothers wishes of leasing the land to the soccer club. They immediately set in place a new 25 year 1eased. The club at this stage were using a Porto Cabin for changing and had just the one pitch. In 1990 the club decided it was time to begin developing and a plan was drawn up to develop two pitches and to build dressings rooms and a car park. A small grant off €8000 was obtained from the lottery and with a similar grant from the F.A.I. plus a major raffle and local contributions it was decided to go ahead. The dressing rooms and car park were completed and levelling and some drainage was carried out on the two pitches. The development was officially opened by Kevin Moran the Irish Captain on the 13th of July 1991. The grounds were called James McEvaddy Park in honour of Mrs. McEvaddys late husband.

During the nineties the game of soccer in Swinford got bigger and bigger which was a huge achievement in a known G.A.A. area. The pitches however could not handle all the games and the Committee decided that something would have to be done to improve the playing conditions. It was decided to call in the experts on pitch development and also the F.A.I. for their opinions.We were told that the two pitches would have to undergo major drainage, levelling, bad soil removed, tons of sand would be needed and then we might have something. It was decided to apply to the Dept.of Arts ,Sport and Tourism incorporating the Lottery for funding. This we did in 2003 and we were granted 72,000 euro. This together with a major raffle and local sponsorship enabled us to complete the main pitch which is the bottom one. The work was carried out by Sportsground and Field Sevices under the supervision of Ian Mc Mullan. Mr Ray Gallagher was the technical adviser on the project.The grant was made up of 60,000 euro plus 12,000 from Clar as we were in a Clar area. Now that we had one pitch completed we were anxious to proceed with the second pitch so we applied for a grant in 2004 We were again successfbl if not as big and we received 48,000euro made up of 40,000 plus 8,000euro from Clar. This with borrowings helped us to complete the top pitch. We are now in a good situation but we cannot and will not rest on our laurels. We were again very fortunate in 2005 when we obtained a futher grant of 60.000 euro made up of 50,000 plus 10,000 fiom Clar. We outlined the following plans to be implemented.

(1) We hope to build a stand to seat 250-300 people.
(2) We have to increase our dressing rooms from two to four with
Referees room and disabled toilets.
(3) We need to develop the access road to the top pitch.
(4) We have to erect security fencing around the two pitches.(This a
Mayo League directive)
(5) We have to build a large machinery shed as the current ones are too
(6) We have to get a much larger Ride On for cutting the pitches and
(7) High Posts and netting has to be erected behind the goals on both

Even though we have been successful with the 2005 grant we will still be thinking ahead.It is our intention to have an Astro Turf training pitch complete with lighting in the not to distant future. No club can sit back and say that's enough. The players of to-day expect and demand first class facilities.

Since 2005, we have proceeded to implement our further development as set out above.

1. We have built extra dressing rooms giving us a total of 4 plus a referees room in each building.

2. We have erected security fencing around the main pitch which fulfils our Mayo League requirements.

3. We have erected a large machinery shed which houses all our machinery plus cones etc. for training. We have purchased a state of the art Mower which is needed to keep the main pitch and the training pitch in pristine condition.

4. High netting is now in place behind the goals on the main pitch.

5. One of our bigger achievements has been to build an Astro Turf facility which is completely fenced in and is floodlit. This measures 40metres x 30metres.

6. We now have an access road to the top training pitch and the Astro Turf complete with car park.

7. We also have a large car park at the main pitch.

8. We have also erected a stand which seats 130 people and has separate seats for each person plus 2 wheelchair facilities. This stand was erected by a local company. The seating and framework for the seating came from Spain.

We try at all times to keep our facility neat and tidy and the Rural Social Scheme helps in a big way. Our clubhouse has just been freshly painted on the outside and we are also painting the post and rails around the pitches.

We are open to all members of the community to join and welcome fireign nationals and from all ethnic backgrounds. We have at the moment players using our facilities who come from Poland and Syria.

We offer our facilities to Aras Attracta and the schools of the area free of charge.

We currently run 11 teams for boys and girls and while we have had much success over the years, we prefer that the children of the parish use our facility and to improve their skills. Success will follow from dedication and commitment.

We like to think that we are a good club and we are in a secure financial position. We are aware that we must continue to keep up our standards and be able to replace our Astro Turf Carpet and Machinery when the need arises.

Finally, our sincere thanks to the people of Swinford and the surrounding area for their continued support in our fundraising activities. They never let us down no matter how big the command. We feel that the people of Swinford are proud of our club and for that we are eternally grateful.