Carrickedmond's calves to cash fundraiser about to bear fruit
By John Harrington
Fund-raising is the biggest challenge faced by every GAA club in the country, especially rural clubs, and it pays to be innovative.
Carrickedmond in Longford are a good example of a club who will soon reap the benefits of some original thinking.
Back in 2018 they hit upon the idea of purchasing 15 calves with the plan of the selling them for beef two years down the line, and now it’s nearly time to make good on their investment.
“We had a meeting last week and we'll have another one in the next week with the owners of the calves because they're now ready now to go,” Carrickedmond GAA club treasurer, Mairéad McDonnell told GAA.ie
“We just have to nail down the date that will be done and when the club will get the money, more importantly!
“A local dairy farmer sourced the calves then each of the 15 club-members who got involved in the scheme paid him for their calf.
“They people who bought the calves were all people heavily involved in the club like players, former players, and even the parish priest took one. The man who sourced the calves is rearing the one for the parish priest.
“The plan was that when the deal was done that if they wanted their initial outlay of €200 or whatever it was for the calf then we would give them back their money for the calf. Most of them have said, no, they were happy to buy a calf for the club, rear him, sell him, and have all the proceeds go to the club.
“I'm not sure how much it will make for the club because I'm not a farmer, we'll just have to wait and see.
“It's something different. It wasn't instant money, but the way we looked at it, it was something that was cooking in the background and we didn't have to worry about it.”
McDonnell is the sort of hard-working club officer who always has something cooking in the background.
This is her second stint as Carrickedmond club treasurer having also served as club secretary for ten years, and in that time she and her fellow club-officers have always been hugely active on the fund-raising front.
The money they will raise from the calves to cash scheme has already been ear-marked for some essential work at the club’s grounds.
“We did huge work draining the pitch a few years ago and we got a loan to do that work,” says McDonnell.
“We've done a lot of fund-raising to pay that off, including a lip-sync funraiser last year which we put huge work into and which raised €30,000.
“The amount we have still to pay off is down to something very manageable now, and we'd also hope the money we get from the calves could go to refurbishing the club's squash court. It needs a new floor and the wall needs plastering again.
“I'd say we're the only squash court in Longford. We had two of them originally but we turned one of them into a gym for the team.
“There's always work to be done and money to be raised before you even put out a team, and we're very rural so there wouldn't be many local businesses we could rely on apart from our excellent sponsors the Rustic Inn.
“There's nothing in Carrickedmond only the pitch and the church. If you didn't have football you'd have nothing.
“We're doing well off the pitch at the moment, but, more importantly, hopefully down the line we'll successful on it too.”