By Kevin Herron
Lámh Dhearg are taking to the Balmoral fairways next Friday (June 24th) in a last push to raise funds for their much anticipated second pitch – which is due to open at the beginning of August.
County vice-chair, head of referees and club-member Brendan Toland is part of the drive behind the golf-day and is hoping that businesses can come on board to support the cause next Friday.
“Our golf day at Balmoral on 24 June is part of the ongoing campaign to raise the funds for the second pitch” Toland explained.
“It’s great to see the pitch starting to take good shape, but obviously the finishing touches are still outstanding. That’s why we need to keep up our fundraising efforts, particularly given that we are committed to opening the facilities in August”.
“We have organised a couple of very successful golf days in Dunmurry and Balmoral over the last couple of years. Not every golf club would permit this type of event on a Friday, so the fact that Balmoral is able to accommodate us means that more people are able to join us for this great day out. And of course, Balmoral has a reputation not only as a great golf course but also for its fantastic hospitality so we’re all very much looking forward to it “.
“The majority of our tee times are already booked but we still have a few slots, so we’re just going through a final push to make sure that we have a full house on the day. We also have some sponsorship opportunities that we’re working to tie down so any companies interested in promoting your business to a captive audience on the day should get in touch as soon as possible”.
Clubs are renowned for their rivalry on the pitch, but Toland is delighted that the previous golf-days the club have ran and the up and coming one has participants from other clubs and GAA members from beyond the county.
“The GAA family is renowned for coming together to offer help and support – regardless of club rivalries” he acknowledged.
“I know that we have some people coming Rossa, St John’s and St Teresa’s as well as individual players from many other clubs all across the county and members of the Antrim County Board. We also have a team from Bredagh in County Down. So, while the rivalries will be set aside for the day, I have no doubt that they will be instantly re-ignited when the respective clubs meet again!”
Toland referenced clubs like Dunloy, Loughgeil and Portglenone- who have developed second pitches and believes that Lámh Dhearg owe it to their juvenile players to continue to improve the facilities at Hannahstown.
“I think most clubs will tell you now that one pitch is just not enough” Toland stressed.
“We’re lucky to have the small 4G facility. But when you look around the county and see how clubs like Dunloy, Loughgeil and Portglenone have all developed their second pitches, you just realise how important it is. For us as a club, we are seeing such interest and support across all the codes; our football and hurling mens teams, our ladies football team, camogs and the juveniles. We owe it to them to keep investing in our facilities and making them as good as they can be”.
“The scale of this project has really focused our minds over the last couple of years. We knew from the start that this was going to be a massive undertaking but, in true GAA spirit, we got stuck in. And of course, the last couple of years have been really challenging for everyone so we delighted with the progress so far and thankful to all those that have contributed in any way”.
“So, what we need now is one final push to get this project over the line. We are on the countdown to our August opening date, and this has helped focus minds to make sure that we get the project over the final hurdle”.
On a personal level, I’m really looking forward to playing on the day. It will be great to meet up with old acquaintances, particularly those from other GAA clubs. And hopefully I won’t get as much abuse on the golf course as I do on the football pitch!”.