My Matchday - 460 McGrath Park

Cleator Moor Celtic 0v2 Stockton Town
Monkwearmouth Charity Cup Final
Monday 4th May 2015

It was quite a few years ago when I originally ticked off all but one the Wearside League grounds. The venue that has eluded me all this time is McGrath Park, home of Cleator Moor Celtic, reason being it’s a canny hike and a bugger to get to on public transport. I was determined to finally head across to Cumbria this season and this was the ideal opportunity, as they hosted the Monkwearmouth Charity Cup Final on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday.

I left home at 10.30am and drove across the A69, stopping off for a refreshment stop at The Henry Bessemer in Workington as part of my Neverending JD Wetherspoons Tour. At the ground I met up with two members of the 100FgC; David Stoker(Squad#128) who had driven down from West Lothian and Carlisle based Geoff Jackson(Squad#169)
Cleator Moor is a small town and civil parish in Cumbria and within the boundaries of the historic county of Cumberland. The town's skyline is dominated by Dent Fell on the fringe of the Lake District, which is the first fell encountered by ramblers on the Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route. Historically the town was based around the ironworks industry with several iron ore mines which were served by two railways lines. The ironworks saw an influx of Irish workers which gave the town the nickname Little Ireland. The two World Wars saw a fresh inflow of immigrants from mainland Europe to join the settled Irish community, which has caused occasional conflict between Catholic and Protestant residents of the town.
The Irish immigrants formed the town’s football club Cleator Moor Celtic in 1908. The club first hit the headlines in 1950 when they reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup, where they lost to Tranmere Rovers 5–0, played at Borough Park in Workington. 

The club first joined the Wearside League in 1988–89 and spent seven seasons in the league before resigning and rejoining the set up a decade later. Since they’ve returned they’ve won Sunderland Shipowners Cup twice in 2008 and 2013.
Former England international goalkeeper Scott Carson played for Cleator at the tender age of 15 before going on to play in the Premier League. Another famous former player is Whitehaven born Charlie Woods, who was transferred from Cleator Moor Celtic to Newcastle United in May 1959, scoring on his professional debut at Craven Cottage in a 4-3 defeat to Fulham. Woods also played for Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Watford and Colchester United and following his retirement became a right hand man throughout Bobby Robson’s career as a coach and a scout.
 The Monkwearmouth Charity Cup has been contested for since 1889-90 and the trophy is a beauty, standing proudly on display at the ground’s entrance. Celtic faced Stockton Town, having already won the League title and the Shipowners Cup, they kept up their chances of a winning all four Wearside League competitions this season with a comfortable victory with two first half goals. Stockton broke the deadlock after 20 minutes when well worked corner kick routine saw Kallum Hannah fire in from close range, followed by a cracking swerving 25 yard drive from Max Craggs ten minutes later. Overall the game was evenly contested and Cleator Moor played well especially in the second half, but Stockton showed what a quality side they are and now it's just Easington Colliery standing in their way in the League Cup final, in their pursuit of winning the quadruple. 

After waiting so long I picked the perfect day to finally complete the Wearside League. The bright afternoon showed off the fabulous surrounding views of the fells and considering it was a Bank Holiday the traffic wasn’t too bad either. All this as well as ticking off another ‘Spoons and meeting up with a couple of the 100FgC squad, meant it was a very enjoyable afternoon, so well worth the canny hike!

Matchday Stats and Spon
CMCFC 0 STFC 2(Hannah 20 Craggs 29)
Top Bloke - Kallum Hannah(Stockton Town)
Admission £2
Programme £2
Coffee & flapjack £1.50

Foetoes(Matchday album of 27 pictures from McGrath Park)

1 comment:

Shaun said...

McGrath Park has a small four step standing enclosure on one side,next to the main building which has the changing facilities and the clubhouse bar upstairs. The dugouts are on the far side and there's hard standing on three sides, apart from one goal which meets the neighbouring houses. The ground is finished of with three sets of floodlights on each side.
(Info missing from blog post)