Naomh Peadar, An Lorgain
When Canon Joseph O’Hagan (RIP) was appointed to St Peter’s Church Lurgan at the start of the 1940s, his arrival coincided with the birth of St Peter’s GAA Club, and Father Joe as he was affectionately known, participated as Club President until his departure 13 years later. Under his stewardship, the Club’s senior team built up a tremendous reputation, climaxing in their Senior Football Championship victory over Killeavy in 1951. The following year, the Club won the Davitt Cup and in 1955, in the Towns Cup (the modern day Club championship competition), they defeated Dungannon Clarkes in the final having defeated Clann Eireann earlier in the day in the Davitt Cup final. This crowned a memorable week in which the Minor team also retained the Murray and McEvoy Cup. The Club enjoyed further success in 1959 winning the coveted Cafolla Cup and again in 1961 when they collected Canon and Dunne Trophy but had to wait until 1967 for further silverware in the form of the Junior Championship & Division 3 of the All County league.
1968 saw the Club prove themselves against First Division opponents by winning tournaments in Aghagallon and Derrymacash. In the same year, they earned promotion to Division 1 by taking the Division 2 title while also overcoming Mullaghabawn in the Intermediate Final. The next twelve years were mixed. During this time, they won Division 2 on two occasions – 1971 and 1976, as well as taking the Minor Championship in 1972 against Cullaville.
The start of the 1980s 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 80s and the construction of St Peter’s Park following a High Court struggle with the then Craigavon Borough Council.
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 establishing the Tom McCusker Memorial tournament, named after one of its famous Club-men. This was a seven-a-side competition modeled on the Dublin Kilmacud sevens and was to prove a tremendous success, drawing Clubs from different parts of the North and serving as the springboard for the Club to take part in the annual All-Ireland Kilmacud sevens, played on the Saturday immediately before the All Ireland Football finals.
Off the field St Peter’s Club has taken part in the Scór and Scór 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 than in 1997 when the Club’s very own Sinead McKenna won the All Ireland Scór for solo singing. During the late 1980s and early 1990s efforts were made to develop & strengthen the Club’s fledgling underage academy initially under the watchful guidance of the late Kevin Bradley (RIP). Over the years the academy
has produced a steady stream of quality senior footballers for the Club and County. Steps were also taken to develop ladies football and its senior team currently competes in Division 2 of the All County league and junior championship. The Club also has a vibrant youth club while also over the years facilitating a range of other sports & pastimes, including camogie, athletics, boxing, snooker and golf together with its current outreach programme with members visiting various places, including – Croke Park, Áras an Uachtaráin, Glasnevin Cemetery, Crumlin Road Gaol etc.
During the five years between 2009 – 2014, the Club improved its complex, including – opening a 10,000 square foot community sports hall, with changing, shower and toilet facilities; medical, referee meeting & store rooms; refurbished, its bar, social, toilet and kitchen facilities; and added a new state-of-the-art 3-G pitch complete with floodlighting, perimeter fencing, amenity lighting and a pathway to facilitate community walking. More recently the Club launched its “building for the future” initiative, which is a challenging investment programme aimed at further enhancing the Club’s premises.
The current Senior Team represents a blend of youth and experience. While the roll of honour has not been added to in recent years, the fighting spirit and talent that were in abundance half a century ago, is starting to awaken. The under-age academy along with ladies football continue to prosper with qualified managers, coaches and backroom personnel in attendance and supported by the Club’s Underage Football Development Officer. Off the field, the Club’s executive committee under the chairmanship of Martin Lavery and with input from the Club’s football & social committees and other sub-committees is charged with leading the Club through the early part of new Millennium.