GAA girls raise €3,000 for club by staying off social media
TEENAGE GAA players who quit social networks for a month to highlight cyber-bullying have been praised after raising more than €3,000 for their club.
The under-14 and under-16 squads at Ardara GAA club in Donegal closed down their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
After being given access this week after their four weeks offline, the girls declared it a huge success.
Una McLaughlin, captain of the U-16s, said three dozen girls took part in the fundraiser.
"I missed Facebook for the first few days, but after that I just got used to not being on," said the 15-year-old pupil at Glenties Comprehensive.
"Some girls missed it for the entire month, but for me it was a habit and easily forgotten."
The club went to extraordinary lengths to make sure the girls stuck to their promise.
"We all went into a room with several computers and our passwords were changed by senior members of the club," said Una.
"The new passwords were kept under lock and key for the month, so there was little chance of sneaking back on.
"After the deaths of young people in recent months after being bullied online, it was a chance to raise awareness.
"The GAA isn't just about winning matches, it's about our community and living in a good environment."
Team manager Thomas Boyle said he was "as proud as punch" of the girls.
"They were brilliant throughout," he said. "They were apprehensive at the start but they got on with it and proved there's more to life than social media.
"The internet can be absol-utely fabulous but, as we know, it can also be a danger.
"The girls have raised awareness among our community about cyber-bullying and that can only be a good thing."