Milltown Road, Milltown, |
Dublin 6, Ireland
Jesuit Order, |
|Operator||Shamrock Rovers F.C.|
|Closed||12 April 1987|
|Shamrock Rovers F.C.|
Glenmalure Park, often simply known as Milltown, was a football stadium on the Southside of Dublin city in Ireland. Located in the suburb of Milltown, it was home to Shamrock Rovers from 1926 to 1987, when it was sold to property developers by the club's directors. It is now a housing estate called Glenmalure Square.
Ringsend to Milltown
Shamrock Rovers moved from the inner city area of Ringsend in the early 20th century to the then semi-rural suburb of Milltown. In Milltown, Rovers secured a long term lease of land from the Jesuit Order, who were based in the area. The club's ground there was largely built by their supporters, who constructed the main stand and banked the areas on the other three sides. It was officially opened on Sunday the 19th of September 1926, with a friendly game against Belfast Celtic in front of a crowd of 18,000. Bob Fullam had the honour of scoring Rovers first ever goal at the ground.
The glory years
When the Cunningham family took over the club in the 1930s, the stadium was named Glenmalure Park in honour of the Cunningham's ancestral home in the Glenmalure valley in the Wicklow Mountains. The Cunninghams completed the ground by terracing the remainder of the ground and erecting a roof over the terrace opposite the main stand. Glenmalure Park remained almost unaltered from then until its demolition in 1990, apart from the demolition of a small area of terracing beside the main stand and the erection of floodlights in the early 1980s. The capacity of the stadium was about 20,000 (with around 1000 seats) for most of its existence, its record crowd being 28,000 people for a game against Waterford in 1968. However, bigger crowds than this were sometimes seen at the venue before this, but went unreported by the club's owners. However, with modern safety precautions its capacity would probably have been considerably less. The ground's last full house came in 1986, when 18,000 attended a European Cup match against Glasgow Celtic. Temporary stands had to be erected for this game.
Sale and demolition
In 1987, the Kilcoyne family, who owned Shamrock Rovers since 1972 and had recently bought Glenmalure Park from the Jesuits, decided to sell the stadium to property developers. They stated that their aim was to move Rovers to Tolka Park to share with Home Farm F.C.. The last match at Milltown was an FAI Cup semi-final between Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers on Sunday the 12th of April 1987, attended by some 6,000 people. This game saw a pitch invasion and protest by fans objecting to the sale of the ground. Some Shamrock Rovers supporters occupied the pitch at half-time were joined by Sligo fans in solidarity. They had to be persuaded to leave the pitch before the game could restart.
The following season Shamrock Rovers fans formed an organisation called 'Keep Rovers at Milltown' (KRAM) and placed a picket on home games at Tolka Park, effectively bankrupting the club's owners. KRAM collected money to purchase Glenmalure Park but could not match the offer of a property developer to whom the Kilcoynes eventually sold the site. After a lengthy appeals process, Glenmalure Park was demolished in the summer of 1990 and an apartment complex was built there. It is now marked by a permanent memorial erected by Shamrock Rovers supporters on Thursday the 21st of May 1998.
The sale of Glenmalure Park featured in the RTE programme "Twenty Moments That Shook Irish Sport" which was broadcast in August 2007. The feature came in for some criticism on the basis of its factual correctness and bias in favour of the Kilcoynes. The last game at Milltown was featured on RTE's Monday Night Soccer show on April 14, 2008.
Shamrock Rovers were without a home ground for over 20 years after the sale of Glenmalure Park, until the opening of Tallaght Stadium in March 2009.
Four other League of Ireland clubs played home matches at Glenmalure Park – Shelbourne United in the 1923–24 season, Reds United in the 1935–36 season, Shelbourne from 1949–51, and St Patrick's Athletic from 1951-54.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2009.
- "Milltown20 Events Launched". Shamrock Rovers Football Club. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "20 Moments That Shook Irish Sport". RTÉ News.
- RTÉ News https://web.archive.org/web/20081218101715/http://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/mns/features/shamrockroversav.html. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Missing or empty
- The Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1966/0714/Pg003.html#Ar00308:4935C24CF5DC4CD5C44D15DE42E5C247F5DC. Missing or empty
- The Hoops by Paul Doolan and Robert Goggins (ISBN 0-7171-2121-6)
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