West Cork club’s off-field effort paying dividends as Kilmeen/Kilbree await Rebels Bounty draw

Ambitious plans include a new floodlit training pitch as well as a walkway to cater for the whole community in Rossmore just outside Clonakilty
West Cork club’s off-field effort paying dividends as Kilmeen/Kilbree await Rebels Bounty draw

The Kilmeen/Kilbree U10 panel back at training before another lockdown closed everything once more.

A small rural club in west Cork is further proof that hard work pays off as the countdown begins in earnest to Rebels Bounty.

It’s expected around 25,000 tickets will be sold by the 5pm deadline on Thursday, when the draws for January, February and March will be made, providing 90 cash prizes in total.

And the Kilmeen-Kilbree club in Rossmore, just outside Clonakilty, appear to be on course for hitting their 350 target at a €100 a purchase.

As a junior club, they had to reach the county board’s minimum figure of 55 to hand over €5,500 to Pairc Ui Chaoimh, but they’ll bank just shy of around €30,000 themselves.

Draw co-ordinator Michael Burke outlined the club’s approach.

“We customised our brochure to explain what was happening,” he said.

“We indicated what our plans are for the next few years in terms of development just to show the money wasn’t only going on hurleys and sliotars and the like.

“The club has plans to progress here. We’re one of the Green clubs and we highlighted that, as well, in the hope that it might encourage somebody to support us, too.

“At the moment we’re in the middle of working on the drainage of our pitch in what you’d call phase 1, I suppose.

“We’re also planning a training area and to develop that we’ll need to fence it and provide floodlights in addition to creating a walkway around the area as an extra facility in the community.”

There are nine people on a committee designed to generate as many ticket sales as possible in a parish of around 1,200 people.

In the past we had about 40 in the old county board draw and initially we were targeting in the region of 250-270-300.

“We had an annual lottery ticket and did our business in the local pubs, shops and places like that, but clearly 2020 was a bad year in terms of Covid.

“We encouraged our players and our under-age players’ families to come on board.

“We’ve a target of 350 and while we’ve not got there yet, we’d be hoping we will by the time of the draw. To be fair, a lot of past players have bought in.

“Covid has probably taken some of the work out of it because there’s no more knocking on doors due to the restrictions.

“I’d say about two-thirds of our tickets have been bought online. It was getting more and more challenging with our lottery, trying to coax people to go out selling on a Sunday night.

“Our PRO is very proactive on social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, sending out club texts for reminders to people and that tickets are on sale at the local co-op.”

The Kilmeen/Kilbree U8 panel are keeping their fingers crossed for a return to training in the coming weeks.
The Kilmeen/Kilbree U8 panel are keeping their fingers crossed for a return to training in the coming weeks.

Apart from hurling and football in the area, there’s a thriving camogie club as well and they’re all rowing in the one direction.

“They got behind us big time and we’re all one club in this, avoiding any duplication of effort and things like that.

“We field adult camogie teams and at minor level. I’m not sure how further down we go though there is certainly underage training and matches, too.

“We are a small rural club and there are times when we struggle with numbers at underage level.

“We had a very good crop of premier minor footballers five or six years ago, but numbers are slack behind them.”

There is a long GAA history in the parish with Kilmeen representing in football and Kilbree in hurling.

“There would have been a strong band of hurlers back in the day and that’s why it’s called Kilbree because that’s a townland in Rossmore.

“It’s the one club with basically the same players. We’re junior A in both and we had a bit of success in the Carbery division in hurling in the last three or four years, winning a couple of titles.

“We’re competitive in football, too, without having any silverware to show for it in recent times, but we’re hopeful that will change,” Burke concluded.

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