1980s & 1990s

1980s & 1990s

The start of the eighties saw the Club take another Intermediate title defeating Keady in 1981, followed by Division 2 titles in 1984 and 1988. However, perhaps their greatest victory was reserved for the end of the eighties when they received the congratulations of all true Gaels by ensuring that Gaelic games would be played in the "Freecrow" area of Lurgan, as long as there are Gaels prepared to fight for what is right.

The Club's founders would have been justifiably proud, when, almost fifty years after its birth, St Peter's Club began playing their home matches in "Freecrow". The Club's long struggle with Craigavon Council to obtain the St Peter's Park ground is well known, not only in the Lurgan area but also throughout the GAA world. The Irish Post London, gave considerable coverageto the Club's long battle for the ground, and this extract from the paper in 1988, summarises the outcome of the case brought by the Club against the Council: "seventeen past and present Unionist members of Craigavon Borough Council have been surcharged for a total of £225,719.05, arising out of wilful misconduct in their handling of a planning application by a GAA club in Lurgan Co Armagh.

The money, which includes damages and accrued interest, was awarded to St Peter's GAA Social and Recreation Club, Lurgan, in a High Court action during the summer. The High Court was severely critical of the Council's behaviour in the matter over the preceding two years…". At the time of the opening of the new ground, Padraig Nuinesann, then Secretary of the Armagh County Board stated: "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate St Peter's Club on officially opening their new playing field. They must indeed feel very proud on having accomplished something that at one particular time seemed as if it was going to be impossible.

They had to fight a very hard battle to win, and when they did win, the council appealed their case and St Peter's had to do it all over again, but with the men of determination and grit, that knew what they wanted, there was no stopping them. It is men of this calibre that the GAA is built on. Ta suil agam go mbeidh na blianta ata romhainn comh torthuil feis an cead ata imithe". With the Club now proudly installed in its new headquarters, the senior team sought success both in the Gene Larkin and Sean Quinn Cups, as well as the League and Championship. It also sought fresh challenges and organised the Tom McCusker Memorial tournament, named after one of its dear clubmen. This was a seven-a-side competition modelled on the Dublin Kilmacud sevens.

It was to prove a tremendous success, drawing Clubs from different parts of the province, and serving as the springboard to St Peter's taking part in the All-Ireland Kilmacud sevens, where they played with distinction against county champions from all over Ireland.

St Peters team 1990

Back Row: M Leonard, S Dummigan, P Lavery, J Moore, G Creaney, N Robinson. Middle Row: J McStravick, L O'Connor, P McCaughey, C Keegan, B McGeown, M Carbery, L Moore (capt), D Toman, D McGurran, G Clarke, G Doran. Front Row: D Greene, T Rodgers, E Derby, R McConville, F Doran, E McQuillan, C McGleenan, P McAlinden, D Lavery.

Off the field St Peter's GAC has also taken part in the Scor and Scor na Og with considerable success at County, Provincial and National levels, particularly in the Ballad Group and Solo Singing categories. This was no more evident in 1997 when the Club's very own Sinead White (nee McKenna) won the All Ireland Scor for solo singing. Daire McGeown, grandson of Joe and Shelia McGeown who are commemorated each year through the award of the trophy named in their honour, has also won provincial and national titles. During the late 1980s and early 1990s the focus switched to building for the future. Under the watchful guidance of the late Kevin Bradley and others, the Club's emerging crop of under-age players began to develop. This assumed futher impetus with the appointment of Packie McCaughley as the Club's first Youth Co-ordinator. In his AGM address at the end of his first year in charge in 1993, Packie spoke of renewed vigour and enthusiasm within the Club in terms of under-age football.

He went on to map out his framework for the future - "total commitment, supported by a range of dedicated managers, coaches and volunteers all trained to the required GAA coaching standard, each understanding their roles and responsibilities, and supplemented by the involvement of parents, supporters and Club committees - all working to a common goal: a vibrant under-age football academy which would serve to feed the Club's senior teams of the future". The foundation that was laid in the 1990s is already beginning to produce a steady stream of quality senior Gaelic footballers.

St peters B Team 1982

1982 St Peters B Team Champions

Back Row - G Doran, P Creaney, R Wilson, M Henry, F Moore, P Carbery, B Creaney, S Moore, T Scullion, J Doyle.

Front Row - G McAnerney, N Robinson, P Lavery, B McVeigh, C Carbery, J McKerr, M Leonard, D Dummigan.

With Cup - A Carbery