CLANN na nGael GAA Club recently officially opened their new clubhouse before a large crowd that included club supporters, club members, and officials from both the Cork GAA and LGFA county and divisional boards.
Over 100 members of the club and local community also attended the official opening ceremony which included representatives from three of the local religious congregations.
Present for the official opening of the new clubhouse were Cork GAA Chairperson, Marc Sheehan and County Board representative, Noel O’Callaghan.
The treasurer of the Cork LGFA Board Marian Crowley attended on behalf of the Cork LGFA Board. The chairperson of the West Cork LGFA, John McCarthy was also present as were Aidan O’Rourke and Don Desmond chairperson and secretary respectively with the Carbery GAA Board.
The official ceremony began with a slideshow that showed various stages of the development work along with photos of the various underage Clann na nGael teams.
The invited officials then engaged in a tour of the three new dressing rooms, meeting room, and gym room. The dignitaries heard how the club was able to fit out the gym thanks in part to donations from Access Credit Union, Skibbereen and Coomatallin Wind Farm Community Fund.
The ceremony continued with a blessing of the building, conducted by Fr. Liam Crowley PP, Rev. Greg Alexander of the Methodist Church, and Sam Jennings from the Church of Ireland, who each led the crowd in a prayer for the new building and community.
Clann na nGael chairperson Sean O’Farrell then spoke on behalf of the progressive Clann na nGael GAA Club. The chairperson said they embarked on the ambitious project to ensure their strong playing numbers at both adult and underage level in both men’s and ladies’ football will be catered for going forward.
Sean thanked everyone who supported the various fundraising efforts and sponsored the project over the past few years. He also praised Croke Park officials who provided a loan for the project.
The chairperson highlighted the efforts of local building contractors Laide & O’Brien who worked in restrictive times over the past two years to bring the project in on time and within budget.
Sean commended the efforts of the fundraising committee to help with the efforts to pay for the new facilities as the club embarked on several fundraising initiatives to raise funds for the project.
The chairperson also reserved special praise for the work undertaken by both Martin Russell and Connie O’Driscoll for having the grounds and building in top condition for the occasion.
Sean mentioned the growing numbers in the club at early primary school level and hoped that more parents can get involved with the club and community. “A life without community can be a very lonely place,” he said.
The chairperson said the club is thrilled with the completed development. “It is a brilliant finish. We are delighted. The official opening day was great. It was completed on time and came in on budget. A local man has also volunteered to take care of it as well which is great,” he said.
The club official said the loan they received from Croke Park for the development is the only outstanding financial debt following the development work. “We have a loan from Croke Park now for the next nine years. That is what we own after completing this development. We got the sports capital grant which was nearly €90,000 and it was a huge help. We had to match this grant ourselves and we got another €100,000 from Croke Park.”
After the ceremonial ribbon was cut, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by Honorary Vice Presidents and lifelong club stalwarts Sean O’Brien and John Keohane.
The chairperson of the County Board Marc Sheehan then spoke, and he commended everyone for their efforts in producing the wonderful new facilities in Drimoleague.
After the formalities concluded club members enjoyed a great day in the company of Scorchers past, present, and future.
The opening also marked the first weekend where the initial stage of the Scorchers Wall was visible on the outside of the new building. This was due to the work of Aidan Murphy of Murphy Memorials, Drimoleague who produced the plaques, and Johnny O’Brien, from Laide & O’Brien, who erected them.
Sean O’Farrell expressed his hope that the Scorchers Wall will provide a ‘legacy’ for supporters both at home and abroad. “The club wall will not only help to fund part of this building project, but it will also provide a legacy for people who supported this club and community in the past and the present.
“Supporters from home and abroad can buy a place to place their name which would be inscribed on the wall forever. There has been a good uptake on the wall. We have nearly 60 plaques. It would make for a nice Christmas present. We also held a fundraising night at the dogs recently which raised nearly €12,000 which all helps,” he added.
The next target for the ambitious club will now turn to development work on their playing pitch said Farrell. “The pitch needs a revamp so there will be a bit of redevelopment going on there over the next few years. Our council field also needs to be developed a bit more. We have a 99-year lease on that.”