By Kevin Herron
Lámh Dhearg are taking to the fairways on Friday as the club is running its third golf classic at Balmoral Golf Club.
The funds from the classic will go towards the second pitch development at Hannahstown- a long project which is making great strides over recent months.
The Covid pandemic has saw potential funding avenues closed and more pressure on the club to raise the shortfall through the Pitch Patron’s Scheme and other fundraising initiatives.
The club continues to grow from strength to strength but with one pitch and over 30-teams across the age ranges and codes – one of the biggest outgoings is hiring facilities for the teams that aren’t able to accommodated at the Hannahstown when the schedule intensifies.
Paddy Cunningham snr paid tribute to the hard work behind the scenes to raise the money for the project and believes the second pitch will only advance the facilities at Hannahstown.
“Between Covid and with the lack of funds from government and lack of funds coming from the GAA it certainly has been a long process but thankfully we’ve got the right people in the club” he reflects.
“We’ve great members and they’ve come forward with donations- some quite sizable- plus we have the club ballot committee and the golf committee that is up and running the event next Friday. It’s all hands on to get what we badly need- the second pitch”
“We’re probably one of the biggest clubs in Antrim-, the number of teams we have now with the involvement of ladies and girls’ camogie, Hurling and football and all levels. I can’t remember the exact number of teams but it’s massive and it’s a massive expense. It’s the biggest part of any GAA club- the actual playing side of it and the expense involved in it”.
“When I was treasurer of the club for four or five years I asked one particular day to our senior footballers – what do you think it costs to run the playing side of our club? and not a player was anywhere near where the budget was. It’s not about the expense of the club, it’s about the volunteers and about how much money that we can raise because we’ll always have to deal with the expenses of running the club. From a playing point of the view, the new pitch is going to give us a massive advance on our playing facilities”.
Friday’s event is the third such golf event organised by the club’s golf committee with the last one taking place in 2019 at Balmoral- which drew a fantastic response.
On Friday evening participants will then gather at Lámh Dhearg for an evening of entertainment with the golf classic awards, the club Pitch Development fundraising draw taking place and Seamus McPeake entertaining on the evening – it’s promises to be a fantastic night in store.
Cunningham is delighted with the response and is looking forward to meeting up on Friday- in the first face to face club event for more than 18-months.
“We had a golf classic in 2019 and the previous year- I think this is our third golf classic. I know there is a society in the club that runs different aspects and as a golf committee- this is our third fundraiser and the response has been very, very good” Cunningham explains.
“We are more than delighted with the response we’ve got. The members have been great in their return and support and hopefully we will get raise a good sum to make the event worthwhile”. There are a still few spaces left for four balls and if keen please contact Paddy Og Cunningham 07884090822
“We were going to have two separate evenings on the Friday and the Saturday and a few of us got together and said we should really merge the two events on the one night. The committee of the ballot fundraiser agreed with that, and it has worked out very well. it should be a super night and great craic and a bit of entertainment with big Seamy [McPeake] with a bite to eat and a few drinks afterwards – so it should be a bit of craic and with the presentation of the various winners of the golf day”.
“From a golfing aspect we have tried to get as many people as possible – current members and past members involved and they’ve duly responded so it should be really, really good. All of the club events are always very well supported and I’m sure it will be the same this time”.
Cunningham is very much looking forward to seeing the new pitch open and grandson Padraig ply his trade and insists that children following in the footsteps of their parents is what the GAA is all about.
“It’s what the GAA is all about- it’s the future and we don’t become complacent in our attitudes to our current playing staff etc” maintains Cunningham.
“We have to plan for the future and if you don’t plan for the future then you are going to stay still and there won’t be development. We definitely have to plan for the future from fundamentals up and the young Padraig Cunningham’s of this world to follow in his dad’s footsteps and many other senior footballers, hurlers and camogs and we want their children to follow in the footsteps of their mums and dads. That’s what it’s all about”.