In the next of our monthly club focus articles, we are in West Tipperary as we take a visit to Arravale Rovers GAA Club:
- Club Name: Arravale Rovers GAA Club
- Address: Sean Treacy Park, Railway Road, Tipperary, Co. Tipperary
- Eircode: E34 DK26
- Hurling: Intermediate & Junior B
- Football: Senior & Junior A
- Club colours: Black & Amber
- Main Club Sponsor: Tipperary Credit Union
- Current Referees: Richard O’Connor & Michael Duffy
- Current County / Divisional Officers: Denis O’Mahony (County Football Board), Jerry Ring (County Board Representative)
- Chairman: Billy Ryan – 0872959898
- Secretary: Fionnuala O’Mahony – 0876613575 email@example.com
- Treasurer: Owen Hogan – 0877445504
- PRO: Maria Carrie – 0861987650 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Juvenile Chairman: Ivor Wilkinson – 0879484574
- Ladies Club Chairman: Tom O’Dwyer
Club Social Media details:
- Twitter: @arravalerovers
- Facebook: Arravale Rovers GAA
- Instagram: Arravale Rovers GAA
- Website: www.arravalerovers.tipperary.gaa.ie
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CLUB
Seán Treacy Park was officially opened by Pat Fanning, Waterford, Chairman of the Munster Council, on Sunday, 3rd June, 1962 before a crowd of 12,000 sun-drenched supporters.
Tipperary town was a noted stronghold of Gaelic football from the foundation of the G.A.A., to the end of the first decade of the 20th century. Rosanna, Bohercrowe [All Ireland Champions] 1889 and Arravale Rovers [All Ireland Champions] 1895 and Tipperary Club [All Ireland Champions] 1904 kept Tipperary in the limelight. Many huge games were played in Tipperary town: 1899 All Ireland Football Final; 1900 Munster Football Final; 1905 Munster Hurling Final; 1905 All Ireland Hurling Final; 1906 Munster Hurling and Football Finals. Tipperary town was a popular venue because of the proximity of the pitch to the railway station. Also because Pat McGrath and John Bourke from Tipperary town had high profiles in the G.A.A., the former as a well-respected referee, Chairman of Tipperary County Board and eventually Secretary of the Munster Council and the latter, as National Athletics Handi-Capper at G.A.A. Sports in the early days, and as Secretary of Arravale Rovers, Munster and All Ireland Champions.
In 1936 Pat McGrath died and in 1938 Arravale Rovers moved to Scallagheen and the field was officially opened in 1940 as Páirc Cuimhneacháin Sheáin Ui Threasaigh [Sean Treacy Memorial Park]. The Seán Treacy Memorial Committee commissioned local farriers, Witheros, to execute in bronze the new park’s signage. 5,000 people attended as Glen Rovers and Ahane did battle for “The Suit-lengths”.
The Scallagheen pitch and surrounds proved unsuitable for development and in an inspired move the club, in 1955 sent a delegation to Tipperary Urban District Council, offering to buy “the barracks site” and develop it as the new Seán Treacy Memorial Park. With the support of the Seán Treacy Memorial Committee negotiations concluded favourably in July 1957. The 11 acre, fully enclosed site, within the urban area was ours.
The major task of developing and financing the work began immediately. The first of three massive fund-raising draws – 2000 cards printed-took place in October with further draws in 1958 and ’59. An Austin A40 car was purchased supplementing the committee members’ cars, to ferry card sellers who trawled the G. A.A. grounds, Sunday after Sunday, in all four provinces. Other fund-raisers were more local but still significant: carnivals, dances, 45 Drives, tournaments and all this while teams were taking part in West Championships, adult and juveniles, and the Abbey School were winning the Harty Cup!
The 3rd June 1962 was the culmination of a massive club effort and the two games entertained the fine crowd. The teams, Kerry v Meath and Tipperary v Cork, togged out in the Royal Hotel and the Abbey School. Amazingly, Christy Ring played at the opening of both Seán Treacy Memorial Parks, at Scallagheen 1940 and Station Road 22 years later!
The next transition occurred in 2004 when a committee was set up with the purpose of creating modern facilities that our members, players and supporters would benefit from. The committee envisaged a plan which would transform Seán Treacy Park. The committee proposed a five-phase project which involved redevelopment of the lower field and banks around the field, building of new dressing rooms/clubhouse, redevelopment of the front entrance and car park and a new covered stand. The dedicated finance committee provided the foresight and leadership to plan and oversee the plan to its completion in 2010 with the final addition of the stand.
While the main development has now been completed, the club has still much to do.
The club has recently added an all-weather playing area with a hurling wall. In 2021 the club refurbished an old machinery shed and converted this space to a modern gym for strength and conditioning programmes.
The growth of the ladies football club has added significant pressure to field availability. To alleviate this the club are also supporting their neighbours The Abbey School with their plans to develop an all-weather LED illuminated playing surface for use by the pupils of the schools and members of both Arravale Rovers G.A.A. and LGFA.
Medium term plans are to build a community walkway around Sean Treacy Park as the facilities are being used by a number of local groups of all ages for many different activities.
As we all know, running and developing a club requires financial support from the local community. Arravale Rovers are fortunate to have loyal support from local businesses and supporters near and far. The club have held very successful fundraisers over the years in Fossett’s Big Top in Seán Treacy Park and it is hoped to hold another big fundraiser in early 2023.
The club holds a weekly Share The Spoils draw.
Arravale Rovers Share the Spoils envelopes are available in lots of Tipp pubs & shops. Or entry is available online:
1 entry €2
3 entries €5
6 entries €10
CLUB STALWART – RICHARD LOHAN
Richard Lohan first played with Arravale Rovers as a juvenile in 1979 and is still playing in 2022. Richie, as he is better known, comes from a family with long GAA connections and, along with his brothers John, Willie, Tony and Brendan, has lined out with distinction for the black and amber in both hurling and football. Richard’s uncle Gus played for Galway and later for Clare, and his cousins Brian and Frank Lohan were well known outstanding players for the Banner County.
Richie has won county medals in both hurling and football and while he has suffered some injuries, which have been career ending for others, Richie’s competitive streak would make sure he persevered in recovery to get back to playing. His competitive nature on the field saw him win a treasured County Intermediate Hurling medal in 1997 along with many fellow Arravale players, who had battled over many years together without reward, but he was not finished there and in 2016 won a County Junior Football medal and in 2020 won a County Junior Hurling medal.
Richie’s competitive nature on the field is equally balanced by his calmness and his good nature off the field. As a coach Richie has had a huge influence on the promotion of Gaelic Games in and around Tipperary Town. The name “Richie” is infamous in the primary schools of Tipperary Town and his ability to connect with kids has paid dividends in the thriving juvenile section of Arravale Rovers. Many of our current senior players’ first memory of GAA is being coached by Richie in school.
Richie continues to couple playing and coaching within Arravale Rovers today and his contribution is beyond value. The love of coaching has also passed to the next generation of Lohan’s and Richie, along with his wife Bernie, deserve huge credit for the efforts and time that Sinead, John Paul and Aine are also putting into Arravale GAA club. Long may the Lohan name continue to be associated with Arravale Rovers.By Jonathan Cullen Wed 2nd Nov