Novel Limerick farmers selling stock to boost GAA club finances

Cian Mc Auliffe, Michael Carmody, Willie Nunab, Liam Kelleher, Maeve Kelleher, Aine Kelleher, Ian Kelleher, Edward O’Regan, and Colm Breen with some of the stores they raised to support their local GAA club, Dromin-Athlacca, in Co Limerick. Thirty farmers have raised calves as part of the fundraiser which is expected to generate €16,000 for the club
Cian Mc Auliffe, Michael Carmody, Willie Nunab, Liam Kelleher, Maeve Kelleher, Aine Kelleher, Ian Kelleher, Edward O’Regan, and Colm Breen with some of the stores they raised to support their local GAA club, Dromin-Athlacca, in Co Limerick. Thirty farmers have raised calves as part of the fundraiser which is expected to generate €16,000 for the club

"GAA clubs keep communities alive" - this slogan runs deep in the village of Dromin-Athlacca, Co Limerick, where a group of farmers are going to great lengths to ensure their club has a vibrant future.

Over the last 12 months, 30 farmers from the small parish, situated along the River Morningstar, have been rearing calves to help fund the building of new dressing rooms, meeting rooms and the development of the club grounds.

Organisers say they are hoping to make €16,000 on the sale of these bullocks and heifers.

Colum Breen, chairman of Dromin-Athlacca GAA Club, praised all the farmers for rowing in behind them and said cheques are already flowing in.

"The take-up was phenomenal. Not one farmer refused when we went around knocking on doors. It's a real testament to the generosity in the community, and it has given us a great kick-start in helping to build a ball wall in the field and for plans to develop the clubhouse."

"It started in January 2015 so they are selling them off now to the factory or the butcher or they're selling it as a store and donating the cash," he said.

Mr Breen is very confident that they'll meet their target.

"At the end of the day, the GAA is a great organisation and benefits everyone in the community from the youngest kids right up to the older generations," he said.

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Back in the 1980s, local farmers ran a similarly novel fundraising campaign to build the pitch, so organisers knew locals would be interested.

Ian Kelleher, local farmer and member of the GAA development committee, said the funds will give the intermediate club a much-needed boost.

"It's not going to pay for a lot, but for grants you need an existing scheme in place and you need money to get development and planning going. It's a handy way of bringing in money just to get us started. I lodged four cheques today," he said.

The majority of farmers involved have sons or daughters who play with Dromin-Athlacca, however, the important links between the GAA and rural life is something that resonates with the entire community.

"Farmers are sporting people in general so they usually are involved at some stage in the club. There is a new generation coming through now so it's about making sure the children of the parish have a decent pitch going forward - otherwise in 10 years' time there will be nothing left for them," said Mr Breen.

"GAA clubs are keeping communities alive and for us here in this small little parish, the club is our grassroots, our social parish, it's our church, it's our religion," he said.

Kenyan Immersion Project 2017

Fifty three tractors motored through the streets of Kilkenny recently as part of fundraising efforts to send local students to a poverty-stricken region of Africa.

Next Easter, 13 transition year and fifth-year students from Colaiste Eamann Rís, Callan, hope to travel to Embulbul, Kenya, as part of the school’s Kenyan Immersion Project 2017.

The aim of the project is to give students an eye-opening insight into the daily destitution and hardship endured by local people in their schools, homes and on farms in the area located just on the outskirts of Nairobi.

But first, they must raise €25,000 to fund their 10-day trip due to take place during their midterm break.

With the help of teachers, supporters, local businesses, farmers, fellow students and past pupils, the innovative group already have €23,000 in their Kenya kitty.

Br Damien Brennan said the students are “well on track” thanks to the successful tractor run, cake sales, no uniform days, tea parties and match day collections.

“The whole school and community have really gotten behind us and now we’re on the final stretch.

“We have a clothes collection coming up next month so hopefully that will get us over the line,” he said.

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