PAST PORTS: A look into the Shamrock Park archives

Shamrock Park
Shamrock Park

Portadown Football Club historian Trevor Clydesdale takes a look into the Shamrock Park archives:

“Many weird and wonderful stories have come to light during my research into the club’s history.

“One such tale from 1965 features a player by the name of Tommy McGivern, a goalkeeper with Seapatrick who played GAA and attracted interest from Ports coach John Fearon.

“Tommy was signed up for Portadown, with his first game in December 1965 a reserve fixture against Linfield Swifts at Midgley Park.

“The goalkeeper grabbed the ball at one point and, forgetting which code he was playing, started running downfield and reached the halfway line before the referee could react!

“Talking of folklore, everyone knows of the famous ‘gypsy curse’ that was said to exist at Shamrock Park. What is not so well know is how the ‘curse’ was said to have come about.

“In the 1939-40 season, Portadown were battling with Belfast Celtic for the league title. The sides had been nip-and-tuck all season before a defeat effectively handed the title prize to Belfast Celtic.

“A number of Ports fans carried a coffin into the next fixture with a sign proclaiming the ‘death’ of Portadown’s title ambitions.

“A gypsy woman, upon seeing the procession approaching with the coffin, was so incensed that she put a curse on the club that they would never win the league.

“It is said that a ritual took place to have the curse removed in the 1980s!

“Perhaps the question I get asked most is where did the name Shamrock Park come from?

“Ports directors decided to name the ground Shamrock Park after spotting a series of yachts named ‘Shamrock’ owned by businessman Sir Thomas Lipton from Scotland.

“Sir Lipton declined an invitation to join the board but sent a generous donation to the club.

“The original Shamrock Park was based around the site of Clounagh Junior High School.”