IN a bid to keep its members together during this tough time and also to raise some much-needed funds, Richmond Football Club recently held a virtual event which proved to be a great success.
The club, which was based in Waterfall, now plays its youths and schoolboys league games in Killeady while their junior side play at Garrane Darra, decided to hold a ‘duck race’ over Zoom.
The idea was that entrants, at the cost of €10 a duck, would shout at the duck to make it go faster. The hope was that maybe 80 members would enter but almost double that signed up in the end with €200 going to the overall winner and the rest, which included some sponsorship money from the five races, going to the MC of the event and also towards improving the club’s amenities.
“We have been locked down since the end of December and for a good chunk of last year as well so we have not been in contact with our supporters and our members as much as we would’ve liked,” said club secretary Nick Smith.
“Doing something virtual, where we are still not meeting people, you really don’t know how well it’s going to go but you can’t do anything else.
“But as it turned out it was a really good social event and we had a really good turnout. We were really happy with how it went and we were really blown away by the support.
“It was a confidence booster that there is still goodwill and support for our club out there. It was a really good shot in the arm and I think everyone enjoyed it.
“The young kids really enjoyed it. They were shouting and roaring at the ducks so it was just nice, it was just a nice thing to do apart from the fact that we made a few quid for the club as well.
“We had 160 ducks over the five races which was amazing. It was phenomenal actually, it was almost double what we thought we were expecting to get as a ballpark figure.
“The money we have raised will be put straight into improving the pitch and the ground around it as well as equipment.
“We are looking at getting new sets of goals, training equipment, mannequins, cones, and stuff like that, so the money will go towards all that but mainly it will go towards improving the pitch.
“We need to work on the surface, reseeding, and the ground around that area as well. We have no other fundraisers planned yet, nothing concrete anyway but we are certainly, because this went so well, thinking about making this an annual event.
“Any other fundraisers will need to come after Covid really. There are similar types of things we can do like bingo and the last man standing, but our old, traditional fundraisers like our golf classics and other events that we have done are not going to happen for a while.
“But this certainly is a nice one for us, it will keep us going for a while.”
While this event is a bit of fun and ensured the club came together for at least one night, Richmond are hoping they can return to the real stuff out on the pitch in the near future.
And plans are already being put in place for when their underage sides can commence noncontact training in pods of 15 from April 26.
“I can’t wait, and the kids can’t wait as well,” said Smith.
Everyone at the club is just dying to get back out onto the pitch even if it is just the non-contact training, we are all just excited about it.
“Hopefully, we can finish this season as best as we can, if we can, and think about having a full proper season next season.
“We have lost the bones of two seasons. They’ve been decimated but hopefully, that will be the last time it happens and we can push on.
“Our schoolboy section is settled in Kileady for the foreseeable future, our long-term goal is to buy our own pitch and any future fundraisers will go towards that rather than leasing.
“Our juniors are in Garrane Darra and they still enjoy training and playing there but Kileady is very much the home of our schoolboys and youths.
“We have seven teams at the moment that are doing fairly well, we have an excellent academy with a good pipeline of players coming through so we want to make sure we keep progressing.”