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Calves to cash: One GAA club's innovative fundraising scheme

By Colm O’Connor

The ingenuity of GAA clubs knows no bounds when it comes to fundraising and Carrickedmond, a rural club in Longford, is continuing that tradition of innovation with an idea that merges farming with football.

Their idea is simple: farmers buy calves, farmers raise calves, farmers sell calves after two years - with the money going to the GAA club who compete in the Longford senior football championship.

Cub secretary Mairéad McDonnell explained: “We are a small rural club and like every other club in Ireland we are always looking at different ways to raise funds.

“Some of the lads on the executive are farmers and the idea came from our chairman Barry O’Farrell and one of our treasurers, Kevin Farrell.

“They approached farmers in the parish to get it up and running and it took off from there.

“So the farmers buy the calves and will raise them for the next two years - with no expense to the club. They’ll sell them after the two years and the monies will come back to the club.”

Prices for two year-olds could be in the region of €1200.

McDonnell admitted that the interest caught them by surprise.

“We have 15 calves purchased this year and a waiting list already in place for next spring.

[quote]The local parish priest bought a calf as well - and one of the lads are raising that for him.[/quote]

She added: “We are also very fortunate that J Grennan and Sons (a family owned Agri-trading business) have sponsored the milk replacer to rear these calves and we cannot thank them enough for that assistance and goodwill.”

McDonnell said the monies will go towards the repayments on a field redevelopment project. “We did a massive drainage job on our pitch two years ago so the monies raised from this will go primarily towards the repayments on that work.

“Like every club we are trying various things from the lotto to a race night on the June Bank Holiday weekend. We were looking for something different and this is what we came up.

“So far so good, we wouldn’t see any money for two years but it is good to know that it will be there for us.”