CASTLEHAVEN GAA Club officially opened their new stand at their state-of-the-art grounds in Moneyvolihane recently.
Former President of the GAA Sean Kelly MEP officially unveiled the new stand which attracted a huge crowd to their impressive playing facilities which are widely considered amongst the best in Cork and Munster.
Club chairman Christy Collins was delighted with the official opening.
“It was a great day. It was a great success. There was a huge crowd present. It was a great day out for the whole family. There was a great sense of pride in the community. It was a very proud day for the club,” revealed the diligent club administrator.
A plethora of dignitaries from the Munster Board, County Board and South West Board were joined by church officials and elected officials as the official stand was officially opened to the public. Sean Kelly and Frank Murphy, in particular, delivered great orations praising the true qualities of the famed Cork GAA Club revealed Christy.
“Frank praised the can do and positive attitude of the Castlehaven club. He praised the club for seizing the initiative and building this new stand which is a testament to the voluntary ethic in the club and the ambition of the club.
"Frank revealed his deep admiration for all the success the club have enjoyed on the pitch down through the years, in winning five senior county titles and five U21 county football championships. He was thrilled with the finished product which will serve Castlehaven GAA Club long into the future.
"Sean Kelly, in particular, was very impressed with the spelling of our club nickname the Haven all across the new stand. He remarked that if you look at the new stand from a distance and added the letter 'e', you could have Heaven, a fitting description for the new facilities.”
The stand at Moneyvolihane was looking resplendent and was packed to capacity for the official opening. Christy praised the voluntary ethos of the greater Castlehaven community who all helped ensure the stand was built to perfection.
“An awful amount of work went into the stand. There was great work carried out behind the scenes by lots of people who all chipped in and worked tirelessly in making it happen. The finished product is testament to the great work of the club. There was a massive amount of work done on a voluntary basis by club committee members, club supporters, players and coaches.
"There is a great spirit in the club and that manifested itself in the building of the stand. We received very generous financial donations also which was a huge help.
"Everybody rowed in together and the final product is a great reflection on the hard work carried out by club members. It is great for people to sit in comfort and watch training sessions, underage games, ladies games and adult games while mixing and chatting with their neighbours and friends.”
Christy was also lavish in his praise for the great support they received from the respective GAA Boards during the development work on their new stand.
“The County Board were very helpful. Pearse Murphy, Diarmuid O’Donovan and Richard Murphy were a great help. The Carbery Divisional Board were also very supportive and we received a low interest loan from Croke Park which was hugely beneficial.”
The opening of the new stand coincided with a challenge game played between Castlehaven and Dublin outfit Erin’s Isle in a repeat of their famous All-Ireland semi-final clash of 1998 which Erin’s Isle won in dramatic circumstances.
Castlehaven were managed by former Premier League manager Harry Redknapp for the occasion, while former Italy and Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli was in charge of their Dublin opponents. The visit of Harry and Gianluca to West Cork for the auspicious occasion proved a huge success revealed Christy.
“Harry was a great character, very down to earth. He engaged with everyone. The whole venture worked out great.
"The whole novelty factor of the two teams playing each other once again added hugely to the occasion and atmosphere. The players and supporters were thrilled to meet Harry and Vialli. Harry loved his stay here in West Cork. He brought along his wife and they loved the area. They were lovely people.”
Castlehaven gained revenge on Erin’s Isle as they emerged triumphant following a competitive outing. Erin’s Isle brought a huge contingent of players, both adult and underage, and supporters to West Cork for the weekend. Christy was delighted with their contribution to the weekend.
“It was a good work out. Erin’s Isle were great craic, their supporters were a credit to their club. The two U15 teams also played each other and that was a great game.
"It was great to meet characters like Johnny Barr and Charlie Redmond. That is wht the GAA is all about, making friends. We might travel up to Dublin to play Erin’s Isle down the line.”
Castlehaven GAA Club are thriving both on and off the pitch at present. They boast three pristine playing pitches, state-of-the-art gym facilities, spacious dressing rooms and a stand which is the envy of many.
They also possess huge numbers playing for their adult, underage and ladies teams.
Christy is delighted the club is in rude health. “The club is in a good place. We have very talented players, a strong committee and a lot of great coaches. The future is very bright.”