Dollingstown Football Club was formed in 1979 by a group of local lads who met up every day or two for a kick about. They applied to The Mid Ulster Football League and were accepted into the 5th division. With an official team being set up the lads worked hard to get a few people in place to take charge of the club and sponsors to help with the costs. So the following were put into place:
Bruce Kidd was the first Chairman
EPH Car Sales sponsored the first kit (a short sleeved yellow kit)
The first home ground was out in Moira at The Railway Tavern (beside it, not in it)
In the early years Dollingstown played in Division 5 for four seasons then gained promotion to Division 4 and then onto Division 3. During this time the home pitch was in Monbrief in Craigavon and then they moved onto the Gordon Playing Fields in Lurgan, slowly but surely working their way back to their roots in the Dollingstown area.
The first trophy for Dollingstown came in 1992/1993 season where under the Management of Colin McCullough the team won the Magee Cup.
As the club was already growing and playing in Division 3 they decided they needed to bring a vision and a fresh approach in, to enable the club to push on and make it to Intermediate football which was the clubs aim, so the club committee asked Hubert Watson to come onboard as Manager for the 1998/1999 season.
In Hubert’s second full season (1999/2000) at Dollingstown the team won Division 3 and gained promotion to Division 2. They then spent a few seasons in Div 2 before gaining promotion to Division 1.
The 1999/2000 season also saw the start of Dollingstown Reserves, who have gone on to be very successful. This enabled a few of the older members to continue playing and also encouraged young players to come along and play for a few years gaining experience and then move onto the first team when the opportunity was given to them.
With the 2 teams playing well in their respective leagues the next move was the idea of playing Intermediate football. After applying they got accepted into the Mid Ulster Football League Intermediate B in 2003/2004 season.
This was the birth of Planters Park. It all started off with a pitch marked out in a field and everyone had to enter via the farmhouse on the Dromore Road and at one stage the players had to get changed in a barn beside the pitch, oh how things have moved on since then.
Hubert laid the foundations in Intermediate football and in 2006/2007 Gary Duke took over the reins of the first team as Hubert stepped aside to take more of an active role in the development of the club from off the pitch.
After a few seasons in Intermediate B Gary lead the club to Intermediate A and it didn’t stop there. Gary then led the team to be cup finalists in The Premier Cup and The Marshall Cup in the 2007/08 season but unfortunately the dollybirds came runners up in both competitions.
The following season (2008/2009) Dollingstown won the Intermediate A title and they also made up for the previous year’s disappointment in by winning The Marshall Cup under the management of Gary and his now Assistant Manager Mark Savage.
Not to be outdone by the first team Dollingstown Reserves won the Division 2 title also that season under the Management of Brian Gregson.
In the season of 2009/10 Dollingstown won their first Premier Cup. Both teams then competed very well the following season but had no silverware to show but they made amends in the season of 2011/12 when the first team won the Marshall Cup for the second time and the Reserves won the Mid Ulster League Cup, now with Graeme Hynds at the helm of the reserves.
In the background of the club Hubert and the committee were putting the plans together to take the club onto the next level and to bring the club to the Northern Ireland Football League. They knew that there would be a lot of hard work needed to be done on and off the pitch for this dream to come true but they were fully adamant that it could be a success.
Having been continually upgrading Planters Park over the previous years to one of the best surfaces in local football, a onsite grass training pitch, static changing rooms, committee room, match day tuck shop and then in June 2011 when Dollingstown opened the new stand at Planters Park they were really showing the ambition of everyone at the club.
In 2012/2013 Gary and his assistant Karl Wells ensured Dollingstown continued the habit of claiming some silverware by winning the clubs first Double, being crowned Intermediate A Champions and also winning the Marshall Cup for the second year in a row.
After having met all the requirements of the IFA, Dollingstown then entered a NIFL Payoff to take the step up to the Northern Ireland Football League and faced Newington YC from Belfast in a two leg playoff as only one team was able to make the move up. Unfortunately on this occasion Dollingstown lost out on away goals to Newington YC.
The 2013/2014 season was going to be the most successful season to date at Dollingstown, with Gary and Mark aided by Stuart Gallagher adamant that they would take the club to the NIFL on this occasion and with the appointment of young management blood into the reserves in the shape of Simon Brown this was going to be a memorable season.
The first team won the clubs first treble by winning Intermediate for the 2nd year on the trot, winning the Marshall Cup for the third year on the trot and also adding the Premier Cup to this record breaking season, being the first ever Mid Ulster team to hold these 3 trophies at once.
The reserves with their new management team of Simon, Aaron McGlade & Ashley Gregg (who was out with a long term injury) brought in quite a few new young players who mixed very well with the current players and they completed the double by being crowned MUFL Reserve Division 1 Champions and The O’Hara Cup Winners. Again another 1st with the club holding five trophies at the end of the season.
Gary and his team now had the opportunity to put last year’s disappointment behind them by again playing a 2 leg playoff, this time against Brantwood. On this occasion the whole of Dollingstown was delighted with the outcome and would be looking forward to plying their trade in the Northern Ireland Football League. All the hard work had paid off and now the aim for the coming few seasons is for Dollingstown to stabilise themselves in the NIFL, starting off in Championship 2.
2014/15 was our 1st season in the Northern Ireland Football League and we finished a very crediable 7th in Championship 2. Our safety was secured at Christmas time with an excellent 1st half of the season and we just failed in a challenge for a top 4 finish.
The Reserves also had an excellent 1st season at a higher level where they finished 2nd in the MUFL Reserve Championship, which went down to the last day and they kept up the tradition of silverware with a win on penalties over Armagh City Reserves in The Wilmor Johnston Memorial Cup Final.
The 2015/16 was our 2nd season in Championship 2 and it was always going to be difficult once the news came out that 5 (FIVE) teams would be relegated due to a reshuffling as part of UEFA guidlines. After a strong start to the season the dollybirds had a disappointing run of results and were relegated on goal difference back to the MUFL Intermediate A.
After the disappointment of the NIFL Play-Off loss to Portstewart the previous season the dollybirds doubled their efforts to ensure we gave ourselves the best chance to return to senior football and in the 2017/18 season they buried the demons of the previous season and gained their place back in the NIFL. Dollingstown won a very tight and Improved MUFL Intermediate A with both Banbridge Rangers and Crewe United preforming well throughout the season but that little bit of extra experience stood Dollingstown in good stead as they cemented a double winning season by adding the Marshall Cup trophy to the cabinet at Planters Park and with Glebe Rangers pulling out of the NIFL Play-Off, the dollybirds were back in senior football.