RUSSELL ROVERS GAA Club is in the final stages of its fundraising campaign which was established to raise funds for several development projects at their club facilities and for Pieta House.
The club has held monthly draws since September before it ultimately culminates in the main draw on December 30. Tickets can be bought here.
Funds raised by the club will be put towards the club’s development plans which include a new astroturf facility, playing pitch improvements, and an upgrade to the clubhouse facilities at its Shanagarry base.
Michael Mannion, chairperson of Russell Rovers GAA club said ticket sales have been lower than expected.
“We are struggling. The feedback we are getting is how good a draw it is, but we are about €50,000 from breaking even. The energy crisis has had an effect in terms of disposable income and people are afraid to spend."
“It would make an ideal present for all sports fans,” said the Russell Rovers chairperson.
“We are hoping there will be a big increase in sales over the coming weeks and we will meet our targets. We have a sports capital grant of €120,000 for the astroturf.
“There is a county council grant which we are trying to apply for which would deal with sustainability. We are pursuing a lot of avenues for funding.”
The GAA club has a long-standing relationship with Pieta House, and they have once again joined up with the mental health advocates for this fundraiser said the club official.
“We have teamed up with Pieta House. Pieta is a worthwhile charity that helps people in crisis in communities across the country. We will be giving a donation to them, and we have a minimum figure in mind.
“We picked Pieta House as we have a long connection with them. We have had it on all the adult jerseys for several years. We are no different from any other club where suicide has affected the community.
“It is something the players wanted to put on their jersey about five years ago, so we stayed with them,” he added.
The ambitious GAA club has identified several projects they wish to carry out in the clubhouse and on their pitches with the funds raised said the club chairperson.
“Overall, we are talking about €1m of development. We need to raise as many funds as possible. We have big plans. We have a small astroturf starting shortly. We also want to widen the pitch.
“We want to improve the lighting and the netting in our training pitch. We have a massive development with our clubhouse in terms of meeting rooms and changing rooms.”
Mannion said it is “important” the club continues to upgrade its facilities to ensure the players will benefit and for the betterment of everyone in their community.
“Work on the astroturf was meant to start at the end of October but it was delayed by the weather. The astroturf will help our club players train all year round.
“It will be very beneficial in terms of their development. It will also be there for the whole community to use.
“It is important to upgrade our facilities. We currently have a pitch and a training pitch. Our dressing rooms and our hall are about 45 years old and in need of a revamp,” he added.
Russell Rovers have teamed up with Cloyne to form St Colman’s to field underage teams. This venture is going well said the Russell Rovers club man.
“Rural clubs are finding it hard in terms of numbers. St Colman’s juvenile club is going from strength to strength.
Michael who is in his first year serving as chairperson of his beloved club said he is enjoying his role so far.
“This is my first year. I would have played with the club. I am enjoying the challenge. It is a big undertaking, doing a fundraiser and a development. I will leave my mark, whether it is good or bad.”
The club chairperson admitted hurling is ‘probably’ the priority in the club but stressed they try and compete as best they can in both codes.
“The adult club has a full-time membership of 120. Russell Rovers plays both football and hurling. We are like every club in East Cork. Hurling is probably the priority and football is the poor first cousin. We try and compete as best we can.”