The sun blazed down on hundreds of people in Ben Wadding Park on Sunday week last as the official opening of the Bohemians Football Club clubhouse took place. Former members mixed with present day members and the parents of the current underage players also basked in the sunshine on what was a glorious day for the famous Waterford club. The dignitaries present included Lola O’Sullivan, the Mayor of the Waterford Metropolitan Area, Senator Maurice Cummins, Minister Paudie Coffey TD, and City Council members John Cummins and Davy Daniels.
Milo Corcoran represented the FAI and the Chairman of the Waterford Junior League Willie O’Callaghan and Martin Flavin, the league secretary were also on hand to enjoy this special occasion.
Brian Murphy, the Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper and a former Bohemians custodian enjoyed chatting to former Bohs players such as Christy Nolan, Tommy Coady, Dick Quinn, John McLoughlin and Tommy Kavanagh.
Miriam Dunne represented her late father Leo Dunne who was one of the gentlemen who formed the club.
The MC for the event was Mark Fitzgerald and he opened proceedings by welcoming the huge attendance and he then introduced Mayor Lola O’Sullivan who spoke superbly about the history of the Bohemians club and she recalled stories of her grandfather Billy O’Sullivan who was for many years a mentor with Waterford F.C.
The official opening and the unveiling of the plaque was performed by the CEO of the FAI John Delaney.
He brought the crowd to their feet with his opening comment. “Ritchie Elliott, the chairman of the club asked me if I had any of the FIFA five million dollars left ? Unfortunately I had to tell him it was all accounted for and it was gone but I will be giving the club 75 tickets for the home game against Germany”. He continued. “Like many people in Ireland I woke up feeling a little bit down following the draw with Scotland but when you come to a place like Ben Wadding Park and see the smiles on people’s faces it lifts you up greatly. This is an absolutely outstanding facility which includes state-of-art dressing rooms, a super meeting room, a social room and much more and it’s all down to the dedication of the club committee and it’s members.
“Bohemians have produced international players at every possible grade and inside it’s wonderful to see the signed framed jerseys of players like Jim Beglin, Eddie Nolan, Brian Murphy, John O’Shea and many more”.
Mark Fitzgerald then informed the sun baked gathering that a lot of fundraising was required to get the new building up and running and he also said that the grants supplied by the FAI helped greatly.
Following a presentation of an international cap won by Tom Arrigan many years ago by John Delaney to members of the Arrigan family the focus of attention turned to the schoolboy players who won numerous league’s and cup’s during season 2014-15 and the trophies sparkled in the sunshine as the young players displayed their winning medals. The remainder of the afternoon saw young and old mingle together as the smell of hamburgers and chips whiffed through the mid June air and many stories of days long gone were exchanged. The Bohemians President Tommy Drohan proved to be an extremely popular gentleman as he held court with his many admirers. Overall this was a real red letter day for the red and blacks !