Three days after opening day, Bob Dolan looked out at Irish Field and smiled.
The dream of building a baseball field for the Milroy Irish had come to fruition. While there may have been a bit of the luck of the Irish in play as the field was erected, Dolan would be the first to tell you it was persistence, hard work and a lot of blessings which led to the call to “play ball” at the rural Milroy field.
“It feels good to know the hours and hours of work have paid off,”?said Dolan. “Now just getting the chance to get out and mow the grass and put down the chalk lines is just surreal.”
The idea of building a brand new baseball field started in 2009 soon after the Milroy Irish team was formed. Without a home of its own, the team had been playing on a field in Marshall, but Dolan knew that was not a long-term solution.
“A lot of people told us we were crazy for doing this,” said Dolan this past Saturday afternoon when the field officially opened and the first games were played. “This was actually a bean field. To build this field in a year and a half is amazing.”
Dolan admitted there were a lot of sleepless nights leading up to opening day as some of the finishing touches were made.
“We’re still not completely done. There is some work left to do,”?said Dolan Tuesday.
Dolan said there have been so many people to thank who have supported the team and the construction of the field – from those who spent time working on Irish Yard itself to those who helped raise funds. Dolan also expressed his thanks to those who believed in the idea and were willing to donate funding. A $10,000 Twins Community Fund grant was a big help, said Dolan, as were donations from Avera Marshall for the concessions stand, First Independent Bank in Lucan who provided the loan for the construction and US Bank which also made a major donation. Dolan also expressed his thanks to the Jim and Kathy Zwaschka family who sold the land to the Milroy Irish.
“There are just so many people who helped make this possible,”?he said. “A big thank you to all of you.”
One of the unique features of Irish Yard was the installation of stadium seating. There are approximately 70 seats which came from Camden Yard when changes were made to that field.
Dolan and his wife Peggy made a trip to Indiana to pick up those seats. A $50 season pass gets you one of those seats, a hot dog and a pop at every home game, and Dolan said there are plenty of seats left.
Page 2 of 2 - When the celebrating was over the team was able to get down to business, they did just that. On the inaugural day of play at Irish Yard, the Irish played a doubleheader with games against Tracy and Minneota. To make the day even better they won both games, 7-0 and 5-0.