GAA club do­ing a com­mu­nity ser­vice

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport - Diar­muid Shee­han

GAA clubs up and down the coun­try fundraise to pro­vide the best fa­cil­i­ties pos­si­ble for their lo­cal mem­bers, both young and old.

All over Cork, the im­prove­ment in fa­cil­i­ties has in the main trans­formed lo­cal GAA clubs into qual­ity lo­ca­tions that pro­vide for play­ers of all ages on and off the pitch, how­ever, these im­prove­ments come at a big fi­nan­cial cost.

A club like Gre­nagh GAA Club, in the Muskerry di­vi­sion, is your quin­tes­sen­tial vil­lage GAA club that not only pro­vides an out­let for lo­cals but fills the role of the heart of the vil­lage.

Gre­nagh GAA club de­liv­ers on many fronts and is able to field teams in both codes from kids to adults and now thanks to some se­ri­ous plan­ning and in­vest­ments have fa­cil­i­ties that are com­pa­ra­ble to the best around.

The Gre­nagh GAA Club was founded back in 1934 and has been a tes­ta­ment to the lo­cals of the Muskerry area ever since.

The club took some time to get the hang of com­pet­ing with more es­tab­lished clubs at the time but man­aged to reach their first fi­nal 1951 - that was the year the mi­nor hurlers reached the Cork County Fi­nal only to be de­feated by Mi­dle­ton.

It would be an­other seven years be­fore the club took home their first di­vi­sional ju­nior hurl­ing crown how­ever that side would go on to suf­fer an­other County fi­nal de­feat that year.

Again, there was di­vi­sional suc­cess in 1966 but like the pre­vi­ous ad­ven­ture, there was heart­break at the County fi­nal stage.

The early 70s proved to be hugely im­por­tant for the club with the be­gin­ning of the Sports Com­plex de­vel­op­ment.

This project was com­pleted with­out hav­ing to go down the route of tak­ing out any loans — an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment for any com­mu­nity back then, or in­deed to­day.

An­other bar­ren pe­riod fol­lowed on the pitch with sil­ver­ware hard to come by as em­i­gra­tion reaped havoc on play­ing num­bers in the area, how­ever, a big ef­fort was made in the late 1980’s at un­der­age and schools level to keep the GAA com­pet­i­tive in the area which ul­ti­mately led to some of the most his­toric days in the club’s his­tory.

The early 90s is when it all started to come good at the mid-Cork club as 14 tro­phies made their way to Gre­nagh over the next 25 years or so.

The 10 hurl­ing crowns along with four foot­ball honours showed just how suc­cess­ful the re­gen­er­a­tion pro­gramme of the 80’s had be­come as tal­ented play­ers lined up to rep­re­sent club and county.

What made it all the more im­pres­sive is that foot­ball, as well as hurl­ing, was pro­duc­ing the goods as Gre­nagh GAA Club be­came one of the few suc­cess­ful dual clubs.

In the early 2000s the club had a dream to own their own play­ing pitch which got closer to be­com­ing a re­al­ity when they pur­chased land from to build a pitch, dress­ing rooms and the play­ground.

The money for this pur­chase was raised through smart sav­ings from the club lotto funds and sports cap­i­tal grants.

To de­velop the land from agri­cul­tural to the present playable pitch the club reached out to club mem­bers for loans and not sur­pris­ingly the sup­port re­ceived blew ev­ery­one away which meant that the club was able to de­velop a pitch which is now one of the finest in Cork.

In 2017, there was an op­por­tu­nity to buy a piece of land next to the club pitch which en­ables the club to move their dress­ing rooms to a more suit­able lo­ca­tion with build­ing works be­gin­ning early in 2019, sub­ject to plan­ning.

The cap­i­tal cost of the dress­ing rooms will be in the re­gion of €240K, how­ever, the club has a plan to raise the funds with €94K se­cured from a sports cap­i­tal grant and €30K from club sav­ings raised through the weekly lotto.

The rest of the cash (€116K) will need to be raised lo­cally so af­ter years of pro­vid­ing for the com­mu­nity the club is back in the fundrais­ing busi­ness and that kicks off this week­end with a ma­jor fundrais­ing project “A night at the Dogs in Cur­ra­heen Park on Novem­ber 24).

Gre­nagh GAA club is hop­ing to raise €30K through tick­ets to the event, race spon­sor­ship and the pur­chase of 66 dogs as well as ad­ver­tis­ing space.

On the pitch, the club hs had a host of hugely tal­ented play­ers com­ing through with and play­ing for the di­vi­sion (Muskerry) and then the county how­ever the long list of names that put on the red of Cork is much more im­pres­sive than one might have first thought.

Most no­table among these play­ers were the likes of Phil Dug­gan, De­nis Mur­phy, Jerome Twomey, Con Moyni­han, Paul Cole­man, Ai­dan Dor­gan, John Rus­sell, Tom Kenny, Tadgh Walsh and Sean Bourke — how­ever there is a much longer list of hugely tal­ented play­ers that have given their tal­ents to the Gre­nagh cause over the years.

Gre­nagh GAA club is one of those clubs that the GAA prides it­self on hav­ing in­side its sta­ble.

The pas­sion, the com­mit­ment, the vol­un­teerism and the his­tory that is seen in a place like Gre­nagh go a long way to mak­ing the GAA what it is to­day and what Gre­nagh GAA is to­day.

The night at the dogs this Satur­day night will hope­fully go a long way to pro­vid­ing ad­e­quate fund­ing for the club’s am­bi­tious plans.

So, if you’re won­der­ing what to do this week­end and you’re look­ing for a good night out why not make your way to Cur­ra­heen Park and sup­port this worth­while ven­ture.

The Gre­nagh team, who were U21 Mid Cork Cham­pi­ons and County semi fi­nal­ists 2017.

The New Pitch at Gre­nagh GAA Club.

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