How we ended up in Downhills Park
The year was 2013 and Eire Og were on the lookout for a new pitch, as were Holloway Gaels and Finsbury Park Rugby Club. We looked at the option of reopening the pitch that was used in times gone by in Finsbury park, however we found out there was a cracked drain under the surface that Thames Water had deemed unsafe which resulted in Finsbury Park been ruled out.
It was time to look for another green space within a three mile radius of Finsbury Park. We drafted up a list of ten potential spaces in Islington, Hackney and Haringey. We arranged a meeting with Andrea Keeble, Sports and Recreation Department from Haringey Council who was very keen to hear about our consortium and our vision for Gaelic Football and Rugby in the Borough. It was this meeting that set the wheels in motion, and the beautiful park we are in today was selected as the chosen venue.
Andrea kindly put us in touch with the Friends of Downhills Park. Our Club President, Conor McGinn met with the Friends and outlined our plans. We are grateful to the FOD for their support. The FOD do wonderful amount of work in the Park.
The first phase of the project was to install the Gaelic posts. This took place on a Tuesday evening in July 2014. Eire Og had arranged a training session only for our members to arrive down to realise training was cancelled and that it was going to be an evening of manual labour, digging the meter squared holes, mixing concrete until nearly midnight. We erected the posts on the following Saturday. This part of the project was led by Paul Mulholland from Eire Og.
Phase two of the project was to gain access to the changing rooms and to establish the internal condition of the building, judging by the outside we did not hold out much hope. When we did get access the condition was not as bad as first thought but there was a lot of work to do. We completed the second phase in February with the renovation of the unused changing rooms, the consortium have self-funded the whole project. We have invested over £4,500 on rewiring, plumbing, installing new woodwork and repainting the internal sections and the installation of new power showers. We have invested a further £2800 installing the football and rugby posts.
We completed phase three on the 27th June 2015 with the FPEC installing their new posts and the repainting and decoration of the outside of the clubhouse.
There is one aspect of the project that symbolises the transition from the old changing rooms to the clubhouse and that is the signage with our crests that is installed today at each end of the clubhouse.
People who made the project possible
• Haringey Council
• Andrea Keeble from the Sports & Activity Department
• Steve Hall, Colin Copper and all of the Parks team
• Friends of Downhills Park and the HAIL Downhills Park Café
• The contractors who carried out the work in the changing rooms free of charge
• Steve Morse and Chris Dalby from FPRC
• Stephen Brady from Holloway Gaels
• Harry Murray & Dave Moran, Paul Mulholland from Eire Og
• All the members of the three clubs that nearly froze to death in the middle of winter when the works first started!
We look forward to creating a parish in Downhills Park, hopefully in the not too distant future we will have an underage setup.