Sunday 20 October 2019

Old stand, new venue: Croke Park's famous Nally Stand takes up new residence in Tyrone

The famous Nally Stand which has been re-erected at Pairc Colmcille in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.
The famous Nally Stand which has been re-erected at Pairc Colmcille in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.

The GAA has never witnessed a comeback quite like it.

From the rubble of the old Croke Park, a priceless piece of Irish sporting heritage has been salvaged, and restored to its former glory.

The famous Nally Stand was officially reopened at the weekend, more than 100 miles from the spot where it stood proudly at Jones' Road, flanked by Cusack Stand and Hill 16.

Having been pieced back together in minute detail, the famous old stand now occupies its distinctive position, perched at the corner of the pitch at Pairc Colmcille, home of Carrickmore GAA in Co Tyrone.

Former GAA president Sean Kelly and Ladies Football Association president Geraldine Giles were among those who took part in the rededication ceremony.

Kelly believes the stand will become a major tourist attraction, standing alone as the only remaining relic of the old Croke Park.

"Certainly, I think it will be a major attraction, for GAA people in particular. They will all want to come here at least once in their lives," he said.

He paid tribute to the foresight shown by Carrickmore officials, who spotted the opportunity to preserve part of the old stadium during redevelopment work five years ago.

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"They have shown not just great foresight, but great generosity and great courage to take on the responsibility of getting the stand up from Croke Park and erecting it here.

"If they hadn't done that it's quite possible that it would have been just dismantled and forgotten about.

"It was a huge undertaking. You can build a stand with modern material. That's one thing. But to put up an old structure in exactly the same way as it stood before is a totally different task. It took a lot of good engineering work, a lot of good building and a lot of planning.

"And they have done a fantastic job, but you would only expect that from Carrickmore."

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