MALLOW GAA is like GAA clubs all over the country in a state of lockdown, however, that hasn’t stopped the current as well as some past players taking to the roads of the locality in aid of three worthy charities.
Mallow’s current senior football coach, Keith Moynihan, rallied the troops on both sides of the hurling and football divide in recent weeks to set up a 19km v Covid-19 challenge that saw over 70 players commit to run 19km each – all the while raising funds for Mallow Search and Rescue, The St Vincent De Paul and Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland.
The three charities were chosen by the players themselves.
All those taking on the challenge would do so individually with social distancing guidelines, as well as the rule about staying inside 5k from their own homes adhered to throughout the fundraising efforts.
As is the case with almost every GAA club in the land the healthy rivalry between the hurling and football camps inside Mallow GAA helped yet again to bring out the best from all concerned on the weekend of May 23-24 - both codes at one of Cork’s most impressive sporting clubs came together as one would expect for the greater good.
The event was the brainchild of Moynihan who got buy-in from adult players in the U21, Junior and Senior ranks as well as kids from the club’s (U7 to U12) nursery club (1.9km each), who all did their bit to boost club morale, stay fit and help those that need financial assistance throughout the year.
“We set an original target of €5,000 but it was clear early on that we would surpass that figure quite easily. This was for three great charities that are there for us locally when we need them.
“The idea really behind this event was that the lads who have been training away all season could put some of that training to good use and to do something for the local community.
“We all know that fundraising has become really difficult for local charities with the Covid situation yet there are still a lot of people around locally with greater needs than our own. We spoke about it together and the lads were keen to give back to the community that supports them year in year out both on and off the field.
“The people of Mallow and surrounds support our fundraising efforts each year so it was nice for us this time to be the ones that are giving rather than taking.”
As one might expect from players playing sport at such a high level the challenge for all needed to be stiff enough to get their collective teeth into which resulted in a slight change to the original plan.
“The plan was first that we would come together and do 19 marathons against Covid-19 but we got such large uptake of players wanting to get involved it would have meant that players were only doing short runs so changing it up to ask all involved to do their own individual 19km runs meant that the challenge was big enough for the lads to get their teeth into.”
Fundraising efforts got off to a great start with the original target being hit well before the players set about their tests however from that point on things got even better for the fundraising efforts when Cork senior footballers Mattie Taylor and James Loughrey put up signed intercounty jerseys which helped generate another surge in support.
Between all the participants taking part over the weekend, Mallow GAA club managed to cover 1,425 km raising in excess of €16,000 for the charities - something that Moynihan was clearly delighted about.
“We started on Saturday at 6am and finished the following day at 6pm. Those involved all ran 19km at a time of their choosing between Saturday and Sunday and all helped us reach what was a very pleasing total. The money raised will go a long way to helping our chosen charities during these difficult times.
“We had 75 adult players between hurling and football lining up to help out which is a great endorsement of what the people and the club are all about.”
After all the running was complete and the aching bodies recovered the Carrigoon Complex added to the fundraising efforts by raffling off a year’s membership to the impressive gym at Carrigoon which helped with a final push to get the last of the donations in the door.
Mallow GAA Club remains one of the most important and active sporting organisations in the North Cork area with superb facilities and a huge membership looking to be part of something special in an area spoilt with choice when it comes to options.
Covid-19 remains one of the biggest challenges to sporting clubs up and down the land and while Mallow is no different in that regard, getting involved in large scale good deeds such as the Community Hub delivery service in recent weeks as well as this 19 v 19 fundraising event shows all in the area just what a strong and vibrant club remains in Carrigoon.
Whether Mallow will or will not get back onto a pitch in 2020 only time will tell but for now, the players will continue to stay fit and active and along the way help those that need it most in their time of need.