Lurgan Celtic


Lurgan Celtic

Ground: Knockrammer Park (built 2003)
Capacity: 1000 (100 seated)
Admission: £3, £1 Concessions


Getting There

From Belfast City Centre (23 miles)
From the city centre make for the M1 west bound by heading on to the Grosvenor Road. Continue along the M1 for 20 miles before exiting at junction 10 {Lurgan A76}. Take the third exit from roundabout onto Kinnego embankment. After half a mile turn left onto Boconnell lane.

By train to Lurgan (2 Miles)
Lurgan town station is the nearest train stop to Lurgan Celtic FC and is situated on William Street, about 30 minutes walk from the ground. On exiting the station, turn right and walk down William Street, away from the town, for just short of a mile. Turn left into Kiln Road and after 700 yards turn right into Kiln Lane.  After another 200 yards turn right into Boconnell Lane. The ground is about 800 yards down the road and is clearly visible from the road.

Nearest Airport: Belfast International Airport (17 miles)

The Ground

Grandstand

Knockrammer Park’s main stand is a very small affair situated at the halfway line of the ground and with a very close up view of the action. The stand is a corrugated metal affair with three rows of wooden bench seating, which accomodates approximately 90 spectators under cover from the elements. Pre match entertainment is provided by a radio cd player situated in the corner of the stand and both sets of supporters usually mix freely in this compact area. In good weather the fans are more likely to stand on the gravel track which runs the length of this side of the ground but in the type of conditions experienced during this game, the stand becomes a very tightly packed area as fans try and get cover from the heavy rain. This is great if you have managed to get a pitch at the back of the stand as it also shields you from the biting winter wind. The club house is also just a few strides from the stand when in search of a much needed half time cuppa or after match pint.

The Visitor’s Terrace

The opposite side of the ground comprises a grass verge running the length of the pitch with a gravel track in front and another small metal stand just beyond the half way line. This is identical to the main stand except for the lack of seating and is a four tier terrace, which can hold approximately 150 spectators. Segregation is rarely needed at Knockrammer Park but if it were ever called upon, this would be where the visiting fans would go. At this game, with all sides of the ground open to all fans, it was populated during the second half by both sets of supporters who had been unable to get room in the main stand and were desperate for cover from the rain. Shelter is the only luxury fans get here and it’s a long walk on a wet wintery day to the sanctuary of the club house. Lurgan’s more vociferous fans seem to prefer this stand to the main stand.

The Boconnell Lane End
Nothing there in truth except for a gravel track behind the goal and a small grass banking. With no fencing at this end of the ground there is nothing stopping fans watching the game from the comfort of their car parked up on the road. A handful of spectators did do this, daring to venture from their cars when the rain eased to watch from the roadside but most do pay at the gate and enter the ground.

The Ski Centre End
This end of the ground is totally undeveloped and consists only of a gravel track behind the goal, which provides access to the stand on the visitor’s side of the ground. Behing the gravel track is just waste ground occupied only by ball boys who chase wayward efforts on goal that have ended up in the long grass that leads down to the ski centre, which lies next to the ground. One or two did perch themselves on the fence behind the goal towards the end of the game but it looks like an area of the ground that is usually unpopulated.

Programme

Big matches only

Pub/Social Club

There is a small refreshment bar in the clubhouse

Food

Usual burger stand fare is available from the main road outside the ground

Club Shop

None.  Club merchandise may be purchased from club officials

Toilets

Ladies and gents situated inside the clubhouse, reasonably clean, especially the ladies

Disabled Facilities

There is no terracing in the ground and only a gravel track around the pitch so it can be a little awkward for wheelchair users. Like most small clubs though, there are plenty of willing volunteers to help if you get stuck.

Tourist Attractions

The Lough Neagh discovery centre is just over a mile away from the ground and is open at 10 am all year round. It also includes a cafe so you can get a bite to eat before going to the game.

Nearest Hotel

The Silverwood golf hotel and country club is less than a mile from the ground

Name Dropping

Lurgan Celtic’s most famous fan is probably their local boy made good Neil Lennon, who played for the club as a boy before gaining local celebrity by joining Glasgow Celtic

Fan Base

There is a football fan base of around 8,000 people to be had in the Craigavon area, shared between four teams of which Lurgan are ranked third. Were they based in England they could probably regularly attract 1,000 to their Knockrammer Park ground.

Club Issues

The club don’t have any major issues at present apart from the common Irish league problem of money. The development of their new ground as well as trying to regain first division status are currently top of the agenda.

Local Derby

Glenavon are literally on the other side of the town and although the two sides recently met in the Irish cup, they have never yet met in the Irish League. It nearly happened this season when Glenavon were relegated to division one only for Lurgan Celtic to be relegated to division two. With only one division between them, the first ever Lurgan derby is not too far away.

Links

Groundhopper
Stadium: Knockrammer Park, Tullymoyra Road, Silverwood, Lurgan, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland BT66 6NE

History

The town of Lurgan has always been linked in football terms with the exploits of Glenavon but Lurgan Celtic have been around, off and on for just over 100 years and are now bidding to try and tip the balance of power in the Craigavon town.

Lurgan Celtic were originally formed in 1903 with the obvious slant of aiming towards the catholic community of the town, adopting the name and colours of the famous Glasgow Celtic, the hugely popular Scottish club among Irish catholics.

At the time it was a bold move to try and break into the world of soccer. The GAA was in its early stages and was keen to promote Irish sport for the Irish people and football in particular was discouraged.
A change in attitudes gradually took hold in the early seventies and Lurgan Celtic were reborn to try their luck again in the local soccer scene, quickly rising to become one of the strongest clubs in the Craigavon area.

League membership remained elusive during these years, partly due to the presence of Glenavon just down the road at a time when the IFA were trying to reach out to new footballing towns. There was also a suggestion that it was Lurgan’s clearly catholic stance as they pushed for membership of what was considered a protestant league that stood in their way. So strongly was this felt that the club joined forces with Belfast club Donegal Celtic, another club who took their name and kit from the Glasgow club, and threatened the Irish league with legal action to gain league membership.

The restructuring of the league in the early part of the 21st Century spared everyone’s blushes with both clubs gaining admission and all parties concerned able to retain their point of view without having to prove it in court.

It would most likely have been a bitter wrangle and while the clubs would have been able to argue a strong point that historically the league wasn’t keen on clubs with a catholic outlook, the league by contrast would have been able to look at both club’s facilities as a strong arguement against their membership.

That point wasn’t lost on Lurgan and in 2003 they locked the gates on their town centre ground and relocated to the edge of Lurgan to a new ground at Knockrammer Park, which offered better facilities for all.

Lurgan were confident that they would quickly establish themselves as a strong force in Irish league football but their first season in division one was a shocker and the club found themselves being surprisingly relegated to division two.