A united approach helped Cork clubs maximise the benefits of the new Rebels' Bounty draw

All the various sections of a typical GAA club, men's hurling and football, camogie, ladies football, juveniles and street leagues, came together to join forces to raise funds
A united approach helped Cork clubs maximise the benefits of the new Rebels' Bounty draw

Marc Sheehan, chairman Cork County board with his wife Caitríona Stokes and son Ruaidhri at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, said clubs pulled together to make Rebels' Bounty a resounding success.

APART from the obvious financial benefits a number of other important issues were raised in the county board’s Rebels’ Bounty draw.

A common theme resonated among those clubs with camogie and ladies football sections apart from hurling and football and juveniles.

Instead of acting like independent republics at times all the various categories pulled together and starting rowing in the one direction with stunning results.

It was highly appropriate, for example, that the first prize of €20k for Januray should go to the Erin’s Own club, who showed the way by selling in excess of 600 tickets at €100 a pop, a remarkable achievement.

There’s a bigger picture here, too, particularly in the development of women’s sports because of recent controversies over fixture clashes and players having to choose one over the other.

Surely, the time has long come for camogie and ladies football to come under the GAA umbrella and avoid a repeat of those lunatic situations.

Board chairman Marc Sheehan said: “We are all one and that has what’s made this draw so successful.

“It’s what makes every club successful as well because there are no barriers in clubs.

“It is very important that we keep that in focus, too, for the future.”

The 155 clubs raised €1.9m for themselves with the board expecting to make between €300-€400k from the €2.8m collected.

There’s a prize fund of €500,000, as well as administration costs with senior clubs set a target of 100 tickets, intermediate 70, junior A 55 and junior B 30.

There are 30 monthly prizes, €20k, €3k, €2k, three of €1k, two of €500, 19 of €250 and three of €150.

“There is optimism among the clubs for the future and as they say there is no road without a turning,” Sheehan added.

“The Rebels’ Bounty draw has been an attraction in itself and possibly a distraction as well.

“It is positive for clubs. We have 28,000 members which speaks for itself in terms of positivity and engagement. That’s very important.

“It shows the strength of the brand, the resilience of Cork people and the interest in our clubs.

“There was a huge following on social media not only in the city and county, but around the country and abroad, too, which is all very positive. There’s a huge Cork diaspora around the world.”

And the chairman urged people to continue to hold tough.

“We are in unprecedented times and the safety of the population is paramount.

“We will navigate our way through it, but we must be patient though that is difficult for everybody, young, old, players and supporters.

“Let’s be positive and be safe. That is all what we can do.”

The draw has also altered the relationship between the county board and clubs as Kevin O’Donovan, CEO/Sec, outlined.

“It has totally changed the perspective of our board in how we deal with clubs,” he said.

“The support group found out issues with clubs that we only half-knew about and in the end they all came up trumps.”

In the current vacuum of no games and no collective training the void was taken up by Rebels’ Bounty.

“Finance takes you into areas of governance, officerships, size and the challenges of getting people involved,” O’Donovan added.

“We have urban versus rural, big versus small, senior versus junior B and everyone knows the tapestry of Cork GAA, but this really brought it home.

“It didn’t mean bigger meant easier selling or smaller meant harder, it just gave us an insight into the beating heart of every club.

“The targets we set were challenging, but we spoke to clubs on a club-by-club basis and strategies were put in place.

“That consultation will be kicked started immediately again to deal with those issues.

“It should have come through some other review, but it’s a needs-must situation.”

O’Donovan praised previous draw co-ordinator Pearse Murphy for his role in raising 20m (punts/euro) in 20 years, reaching 25,000 members at one stage.

“We felt weren’t giving the draw the support we should have been giving, so we decided to upgrade.

“We were starting with 15,000 members and ensured we had proper communication with clubs, something we should have been doing anyway.”

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