THE timing couldn't have been better for Glenville GAA club.
The culmination of three years of hard work, the football club's new floodlight 3G all-weather pitch in the village opened as GAA clubs were allowed to return to training ahead of the new, Covid-delayed, season from June 7.
The 70m x 30m training facility will cater to the ever-expanding playing population in the Glenville and Watergrasshill parish and was built by Hourihan Sports Development, from Waterfall, Cork, in conjunction with local contractors Peter Mac Dermott Electrical and Liam O’Donovan.
The Glenville and Watergrasshill clubs have made strides underage in recent seasons, producing players in both codes for Cork panels, while their adult teams are in the intermediate grades. The Watergrasshill Ladies Football and Camogie clubs are also thriving across all ages.
The cost of the project is approximately €270k and was funded through a combination of loans from Clann Credo, grants from the Tomar Trust and Cork County Council and local fundraising. There was huge support within the community to get the project completed, and it will now benefit all: Glenville club, Glenville National School, Watergrasshill hurling club and Watergrasshill ladies football and camogie clubs.
They are also running, literally, a novel fundraiser led by PRO John O'Connor to take you from the club to Croke Park.
The 252km virtual Glenville to Croke Park Challenge can be completed by walking, running or cycling the distance from Glenville to Jones Road from here until the end of this year's inter-county championship, the All-Ireland football final on August 29.
Entrants can track their progress via the MyRunResults website, with a leaderboard for those with a competitive streak.
You can sign up by logging on here.
O'Connor was inspired by one of the ultimate Rebel Legends: Sonia.
“I went back running in February to try to get fit. Sonia O’Sullivan put up a 10km virtual race so I entered that and I saw there were other places doing different kinds of things like 5km or 10km, but there was no GAA club doing anything, especially over the summer.
“I felt that to coincide with the national football league starting last weekend and the All-Ireland final in August, it would be a good idea to do a virtual run from Glenville to Croke Park. It averages out at about 10 or 15 kilometres a week but people could easily walk it."
The uptake so far has been very encouraging.
“There were over 70 people signed up early, which is a great start, and there's interest building all the time. We’ve had people from all over, some with no connection to the club, which is what I was hoping for, to be honest.
“The design of the medal is the map of Ireland in the hope of hitting the American or Australian markets – you can do it anywhere so we want to try to push it in as many places as we can.
"One of the people doing it is John Murphy, chairman of the European GAA board – he’s from Glenville originally but he posted a picture from Brussels.
“You add as you go along.
“After 12 and a half kilometres, you get a virtual Cork badge, then the next milestone is Tipperary, after that it’s Kilkenny, Laois, Kildare and Dublin.”
The main aim is participation and fun. There's no intention to verify everyone's times!
“There’s no prize for winning it, we have some prizes but they’re going to be spot prizes.
“They can put in whatever time they want, but they’re only fooling themselves. You can put up proof of it if you want, the time on your watch or whatever, but it’s a challenge rather than a race.”