Bonagee United’s grounds at the Dry Arch Complex, on the outskirts of Letterkenny has come along way since it was first purchased for £1,000 (punts).
That was the price paid by the club’s founding fathers for the two and a half acres of land behind the Dry Arch Pub, that is now home to Bonagee United.
That was in 1971 and now 45 years later and with spending of well over a million euro, the Dry Arch Complex is one of the finest club facilities in Ireland.
The installation of floodlights on the main pitch, the resurfacing of the two astroturf pitches and a new invalid and press/media area in the stand are the latest phase of the development at the complex.
The lights were officially switched on by Katie McFadden, wife of the late Paddy McFadden, one of the founding members of the club, at a special ceremony on Friday night.
The lights stand on six 18 metres high stanchions each carrying five lights up to TV standard and were erected at a cost of €112,000.
This brought the total cost of the most recent phase of the development Dry Arch Park to €155,000.
For the development the club received grant aid to the tune of €97,250 made up of €90,000 from the 2015 Sports Capitation Programme and €7,250 from the Letterkenny Municipal locals county councillor’s Development fund.
The latest development brings a total spend at the Dry Arch Complex to €1.25 million.
The total grant aid has been in the region of €430,000. This was made up of the most recent funding and also a grant of €360,000 from the National Lottery, during Dr James McDaid’s term as Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation.
The bulk of the finance for the development at the Dry Arch Complex was raised locally by the club.
And the chairman, Donal Coyle, acknowledged the contribution of the local community on Friday night.
“It was brilliant to receive all the grants and funding down the years,” said Coyle.
“But really we owe a debt of gratitude to the local community who have been brilliant in supporting our fundraising efforts down the years.
“Without the support of the local community we would not have the facility that we now have. They simply have been brilliant and have always supported our annual draw which has been the main source of income.”
The chairman also paid tribute to deceased members Hugh McCay, Hugh McGuinness, Barney Crampsie, Billy Baird, Paddy McFadden and David Fisher for their contributions to the club
The club has a current playing membership of 400 from underage to senior in both boys and girls.
And the club senior team are joint leaders of the Ulster Senior League alongside Cockhill United.
Joe McHugh,TD, Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid, and a former Bonagee United player; Charlie McConalogue, TD; Clr. James Pat McDaid, Mayor of the Letterkenny Municipal District, and Ernie Pollock of the Ulster FA, were among the special guests.
They all addressed the large gathering in the club hall and paid tribute to the club officials past and present on their contribution to the club.
The club are currently running their annual draw. Tickets are priced at €10 per ticket or a book of three tickets for €20. The draw is on November 26th.
The official switching on was followed by a friendly game between a Bonagee Selection against a Finn Harps Selection.