Anyone who has visited the Coleraine Showgrounds recently has been impressed with the improvements that have been made to it.
In addition to the pitch, the old pitch now has splendid new changing rooms and tunnels – with many more to come.
The work has garnered much praise, with much going, and rightly so, with Stanley McCart, the retired builder who carried out most of the renovations himself.
Ironically, the 77-year-old doesn’t consider himself a football fan, he is more of an angler, later, but found himself working at Coleraine FC through family ties.
Club manager Richard McFetridge is a son-in-law, so when officials looked for someone with construction experience, Stanley’s name came up.
And since then he has been working hard.
âI had my own business – SMC Construction – but I’ve been retired for eight or nine years now,â says Stanley.
âI was still doing a few odd jobs here and there and working at Loughan when Colin McKendry approached me saying he had a job for me.
âI didn’t know, but I said yes and I’ve been working on it for a few months now,â he adds.
The results are very impressive – underfloor heating and built-in speakers in the house’s locker room, for example – especially since Stanley did much of the work himself.
But as everyone knows, the man from Garvagh can attest to, when he engages in something, he does it 100%.
Take his long-standing love affair with angling: Beginning, as he recalls “at no age”, he has represented Ireland 29 times, traveling the world and winning countless titles in the process. road.
âI was born by a river near Finvoy outside of Ballymoney and that’s how I started, I was probably no older than seven or eight,â recalls Stanley.
âThere was an old gentleman, Bertie Cuddy, a great angler, and he took me to Ballymoney Burn to show me how to fish for trout. It started me dry fly fishing and I couldn’t get enough of it.
âBertie taught me all the tricks of the trade, how to fly, and then I started fishing for salmon on the Agivey at Aghadowey.
And he never looked back.
He first represented his country in 1982 at Lough Corrib and became captain of Ireland in 1986.
His first international came to Chew Valley in England where he finished âTop Rodâ, an unforgettable experience for the man from Garvagh.
He went on to win the Ulster Championship four times, the Interprovincial Championships three times and won four gold medals with his country in local nations.
In between, he still found time to indulge his passion for big game fishing in Canada where he caught the biggest fish of his career – a 55-pound salmon.
âIt was a good time,â continues Stanley.
âFor me, that’s the raison d’Ãªtre of sport – friendships, travel, memories. I do it for the sport, the catch and release, and not for the fish themselves.
âFishing has given me a great life. I was 76 when I was last international in Scotland just before Covid when we won the gold medal and have always loved competing.
âIt was always about trying to find the right combination of flies to beat your opponents; for me that is one of the great aspects of angling.
For now, the work in progress at the Coleraine Showgrounds will occupy it until the beginning of March when the fishing season resumes.
âCome on March 1, I’ll be away,â he laughs.
âThe job here is 99% done anyway.
“I’m not a football fan, although my son Adam has played here at one point, but I can safely say that there is no other team in the country that will have the same facilities. than these boys when this is all over. “