Tuesday 17 September 2019

A viral letter and community spirit helping Magheracloone after sinkhole setback

Harry Clarke

Croke Park won’t be the only venue for an eagerly anticipated replay next weekend.

Saturday week, September 14, will also see Magheracloone host Ratoath in a repeat of last year's epic Under-7 challenge match (Under-8s this year).

The origin of last year's game came about after the collapse of a mine left Magheracloone's pitch and community centre inaccessible thanks to a sinkhole last September.

Seven-year-old Victor Clarke from Ratoath embodied the voluntary spirit of the GAA by writing a letter to Magheracloone with the aim to help raise funds for the club. The letter subsequently went viral resulting in the game being arranged which coincided with a Go-Fund me account helping the club get back on their feet.

Two local farmers came together and are renting a field each to the club which will be the location of this weekend's encounter. This facility is also used for adult training with adult matches taking place in Annaghminnon, a neighbouring parish in County Louth.

Magheracloone GAA has been closed since a sinkhole opened up near the grounds in Co Monaghan.

The grounds of the GAA pitches were damaged as a result, and one young boy came up with a fundraising idea to help them rebuild.

The letter last year read: "Dear Ratoath GAA Club, I play for the Ratoath Under 7s.

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"Did you hear about Magheracloone GAA pitch?

"Can Ratoath Under 7s play their Under 7s in a charity match? I think it would help get money for their new club.

"Ratoath are going to be Meath VS Magheracloone will be Monaghan. Let me know."

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