Milroy’s ‘Irish Yard’ gets its lights

Posted on May 18, 2015 by CJ Siewert

After forming in 2009, the Milroy Irish didn’t have a field to call their own. That all changed in 2012 when a piece of farm land was transformed into the new home field of the team, aptly named the ‘Irish Yard.’

Fast forward to today and the three-year old family built ballpark is lighting up the night sky in rural Milroy, which is located on Dayton Ave. (Redwood CR 59) directly off Hwy. 19.

This Friday, the Irish host their first Friday night game against Gopher League rival Tracy Express. The Irish also hosted Tracy for the ballpark’s dedication on June 2, 2012.

Bob Dolan, manager of the Irish and a main visionary of the Irish Yard, has put countless hours into helping create what the ballpark looks like today.

MUSCO lights that used to light up Mattke Field at Southwest Minnesota State were installed at the Irish Yard last fall. The price tag for the six-pole set was about $80,000.

“We struggle to find donations, but do have a good group of businesses and have had a lot of luck from organizations giving us in-kind donations,” Dolan said. 

Four of the wood poles to hold the lights were secured at no cost from McFarland Cascade and were installed by Highline Construction last fall.

A main source of fundraising dollars comes from working concession stands at Vikings games. Players and members of the Irish organization have worked Vikings games since 2008 and the fundraiser has been a major factor in building the Irish Yard.

Other upgrades to the park this year include a new batting cage and large press box behind home plate. The grandstand has been in place since the park’s opener in 2012, but a “party deck” has been added out in left field.

Since construction began at the Irish Yard, the cost has totaled about $150,000. Dolan estimates half of that is the cost of their own labor.

“We have a good community backing and our players have really worked hard to help,” he said. “It’s truly a Field of Dreams and all the players have taken ownership.

“My three sons, Anthony, Lucas and Dominic have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours working on the field. They have driven me and made this field a reality. I had the idea, but they drove the inspiration to make it happen.”

Having hosted multiple games over the past three years, the atmosphere at the field is unique and as rural as it gets. Besides hosting town team games, the Irish Yard has been selected to host youth tournaments with the help of Marshall’s baseball association. This year’s tournaments include the American Legion Wood Bat Classic June 20-22 as well as the Legion regional tournament.

“Many teams including Fargo, Coon Rapids, Mitchell S.D., Waconia and others mentioned they wanted to play here for this upcoming summer,” Dolan said. “New teams coming to the Irish Yard will be Belle Plaine and Hampton this summer.”

It’s only been six years since the vision of a home field for the Milroy Irish started, and in that amount of time the vision has become reality – one that Dolan and his family are thankful for.  

“Just very blessed from God for making this field a reality,” he said. “Some critics said that we should play on a softball field or just give up. We took the high road and worked that much harder. We love baseball in this area and we wanted to build our Field of Dreams. We are very thankful for the contributors, the players and my direct family. Everyone is welcome at our field. With God all things are possible.”  

The Irish Yard Facebook page

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