Sunday 19 August 2018

'It's not a charity event' - Colm Cooper on what percentage of funds from testimonial dinner will go to good causes

Colm Cooper
Colm Cooper Newsdesk Newsdesk

Colm Cooper has revealed that over half of the money raised during his testimonial dinner later this month will go to charity.

The 34-year-old will break new ground for the GAA on October 27 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge when he becomes the first player to hold a testimonial event.

Some pundits, including Sunday Independent columnist Joe Brolly, have raised concerns over how such an event will affect the amateur ethos of the GAA.

The GAA is not supporting the event but have not raised any issues with it taking place.

"I think it's a grey area for the GAA  if I'm being honest. They (the GAA) don't endorse it. There are managers being paid, we all know that, there are players with endorsements, advertising campaigns who are front and centre on TV ads," he told Off The Ball on Newstalk.

"I think this blew up because people were talking about, 'Jeez, he's going to make €200,000 and all this'. I think that got lost a little bit somewhere in between the charity, Dr Crokes and Kerry here.

"So maybe the figures that people are throwing out and what might happen - and we don't know - I know the majority will be going to the two charities and to Kerry and Dr Crokes. Until the night, we won't know what that's going to be."

When asked about what percentage of the money raised will go to charity, he said: "Over 50%" going to charity.

"What that's going to be I don't know, because at the moment we're about 95% full but it's looking like we will have a full house and the response in the last week, 10 days has been really, really good and the thing about this was we were going into the unknown here.

"We didn't know if there was going to be any appetite for this. Being a GAA player, I was lucky enough to go to Brian O'Driscoll's, I was lucky enough to go to Ronan O'Gara's down in Cork. I was saying to myself, wouldn't it be brilliant if we - like, the guys were saying 'would you be interested?' and when I went to these guys I said, 'Look, here's an opportunity that's a celebration of Irish sport of careers, you can make money and give money to people along the way'. I was surprised and I didn't see the big fuss afterwards and maybe I underestimated that."

Read more: 'I suppose I was f**king Mother Teresa in comparison to Paul Galvin' - Colm Cooper on his demeanour

Cooper was also asked if all the monies raised should be going to good causes.

"It's a testimonial event and not a charity event and I wanted to give money to as many people as I could."

"The GAA is so big in this country that we should celebrate our stars. That's the way I feel about it and if we can raise some money for people along the way... why not?"

Two charities will benefit from a proportion of the proceeds: the Kerry Cancer Support Group and Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin as well as Kerry GAA and Cooper's club Dr Crokes.

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