Victory over Argideen Rangers last Saturday has ensured that things remain good on the field for Russell Rovers and, off it, the East Cork club are pushing ahead with a clever and unique fundraising initiative.
A 1-19 to 1-12 win against the Timoleague side sent Rovers into the semi-finals of the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier JHC, where they will meet Ballygiblin – another win would see them back in the final, having reached it in 2020 as well (when the competition was known as the Lower Intermediate Hurling Championship).
In tandem with that success for the Ballycotton/Shanagarry outfit is the new fundraiser, which offers the winners exclusive access to 12 of the world’s top sporting events in 2023. This is the first time a prize like this has ever been offered in support of an Irish club and is expected to draw interest from across the globe.
Other events included on the list are the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Cheltenham Festival, the Rugby World Cup final, the Champions League final, Wimbledon finals, FIFA Women’s World Cup, All-Ireland final, the Heineken Champions Cup and the Ryder Cup.
As well as tickets for their chosen event, the winners will also receive flights, transfers and accommodation at their destination.
As part of the launch, a Super September prize has been added for early entries - two hospitality tickets to the England v Wales game at the World Cup in Qatar this winter as well as flights and six nights in a five-star hotel in Dubai with return transfers on matchday.
Funds raised by Russell Rovers will be put towards the construction of new dressing rooms at the club’s ground. A recent draw for Champions League tickets resulted in funding being raised to construct a new astroturf facility.
Club chairperson Michael Mannion said: “GAA clubs have always come up with innovative ways of fundraising, we have scoured the internet to find a similar draw to this, and could not find one.
“The fact that we can offer tickets for some of the most sought-after events in 2023 will be a huge draw not just for sports fans in Cork, but right around the world. We estimate the value of the prize at approximately €100,000, but for the winners, the tickets will be priceless.
“As an incentive, we will also be staging a series of monthly draws offering equally incredible prices. If people enter in September, then they will be automatically entered into a draw for a first-round World Cup match in Qatar, with accommodation and flights also covered.”
Tickets for the draw are available from www.sportspass.ie, with the draw scheduled to take place at 8pm on Friday, December 30 at Sea Church in Ballycotton. The first name drawn will have their choice from the list of 12 major events. The second name drawn will have their choice from the remaining 11, and so on down the list.
Russell Rovers is being supported in the draw by local businessman Pearse Flynn. Pearse has donated the September launch prize and is sourcing the tickets for all the incredible prizes on offer.
“We are very grateful to Pearse Flynn,” said Michael Mannion, “he is a proud club man, who is working hard to help us to source the tickets, and is a key supporter in improving the facilities for the next generation of players in Russell Rovers.”
As well as new dressing rooms, the funds raised from the Sports Pass draw will be used to improve the club gym, community meeting rooms and pitch facilities at Russell Rovers.
As part of the fundraising journey, Russell Rovers is proud to be partnering with Pietà House. A sizeable contribution from the proceeds will be made to this worthy charity, which provides an invaluable service for people throughout Ireland during difficult times in their lives
All information about the draw is available on www.sportspass.ie and the Russell Rovers Facebook page.