Cavan GAA building ambitiously for a brighter future
By John Harrington
Cavan ex-pats living all over the USA will descend on Rory Dolan’s Restaurant & Bar in Yonkers, New York, on Saturday for the launch of the Cavan GAA Polo Grounds Centre of Excellence.
Cavan manager Mickey Graham along with other special guests will take part in a live Q&A session to discuss Cavan GAA’s plans for the Centre of Excellence and their ongoing fundraising initiatives.
It’s a fitting location for the launch considering the county’s long history of emigration to the city, and the fact that the new Centre of Excellence which will be built adjacent to Kingspan Breffni takes its name from the New York venue that famously hosted 1947 All-Ireland Final win over Kerry.
“It's great to recognise our link with New York and the historic All-Ireland Final of 1947,” said Cavan GAA Chairman, Gerry Brady.
“I know people should be saying we should be forgetting about the past, but this is linking the past in terms of the success of winning the only All-Ireland ever played outside the country and the future which is our Centre of Excellence which will allow future generations of young Cavan men and women to be up-skilled.
“We have a very active committee in New York and an active committee in Philadelphia as well who are supporting our fundraising venture for the Centre of Excellence.
“And now we are looking to Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco as well. There will be attending the function from all of those cities as well as Philadelphia and, of course, New York.
“It's important for us to fundraise in the States as much as possible, but we're also conscious of the fact that there are GAA units in all of those cities as well who are fundraising and trying to run their clubs and county teams as well.
“We don't want to impinge on them too much, and we have a very good relationship with the units in all of those cities as well. Thankfully we have been received very well and we look forward to developing those links further.”
The Cavan GAA Polo Grounds Centre of Excellence will be built on a 23-acre plot of land located at the rear of Kingspan Breffni and will include two floodlit grass pitches with the option for a third eventually, a stand for one of the pitches, and a state of the art gymnasium and training centre.
Brady believes the Centre of Excellence can have a transformative effect on Cavan GAA.
“It will be of huge benefit,” he said. “Because at the moment we are depending on the clubs in the county for our training facilities. Especially in the winter months when we don't use the main pitch in Kingspan Breffni for training.
“At the moment we only have a three-quarter size pitch at the back of the main pitch and your 3g facility as well so we are starved for grass pitches for training.
“The demand is just enormous between Ladies Football, Camogie, Hurling and then the men's football. And then there are our academy squads as well so it's critical that we get this development in place.
“It will be great for our Academy squads to be coming and training on one pitch and then our seniors to be togging out and going out on a pitch beside them. That they'd have the guys they look up to training right beside them.”
Cavan GAA have set their sights high and hope to fundraise the sum of €1Million, mainly by selling raffle tickets for a house in Dublin worth €375,000.
A similar fundraising initiative by Roscommon GAA netted them a profit of €943,400, and Brady believes that Cavan GAA supporters will show a similar enthusiasm to support such a vital project for Gaelic Games in the county.
“Absolutely. Cavan people are fanatical about their club football and, especially, their county football. When we get to any type of a final, whether it's a League Final or a the Ulster Final this year, people came out in their droves to support the county.
“We'd be hoping that they will support this draw in the same manner they support their county team and their club teams. The response to date has been very good and we're coming into the last three months of the drawn now.
“Looking the history of Roscommon's fundraiser, it was from now on that the real momentum takes place.
“So we'd be appealing to everyone to get behind it and support it and to get the word out far and wide, home and abroad, to their friends and relations via social media or any other form of contact about the draw and the development in particular.
“This is our chance for everybody that's involved in the development of Cavan GAA and for the supporters who buy tickets to leave a legacy behind them that will be there for generations to come.
“That's the key message, that the youth of our county will have a home and somewhere we can all be extremely proud of.”
Go HERE for further details on Cavan GAA's fundraising draw.
Calling all Cavan supporters!— Official Cavan GAA (@CavanCoBoardGaa) March 21, 2019
Help us build the Cavan GAA Polo Grounds Centre of Excellence and you could win the life-changing prize of a €375,000 house in Dublin.
Go to https://t.co/pcSpaghFUS to learn more. pic.twitter.com/qx20RrL5cK