St James' providing a valuable service for the local community
By Cian O’Connell
In these difficult times GAA clubs throughout the country are eager to find ways to assist local communities.
St James’ on the east side of Galway city are adopting different methods to assist members and general public in their area.
Vice Chairman Dave Henry, who is also St James’ Juvenile Director, stresses the significance of keeping players active and interested. Young players continue to be reminded about the benefits of practising the skills of the game.
“It is an important time,” Henry admits. “A lot of GAA clubs, including ourselves, are posting social media posts everyday to try to keep spirits up.
“We have an online art competition for kids and adults. Everyone that enters gets a prize.
“To keep interest levels up we are doing an awful lot of throwbacks, videos. Yesterday was St Patrick's Day so we compiled an archive from 2014 when we first entered the parade. That generates a buzz and an interest, it keeps people happy.
“We have created a YouTube channel, to try to keep people interested, looking back on games from the past, to keep them ticking over.”
Henry is one of a number of teachers involved in the club, who are ready, willing, and able to supply students with help.
Interest surrounds quizzes which have commenced on St James’ Instagram page. “We did a quiz last night on Instagram,” Henry explains.
“Whoever wins the online quiz gets a free Noggin hat. The Noggin hat is promoting mental health awareness and in this time of need people need to look after their mental health. We will be running online quizzes for the public. Last night online 350 people did the quiz.”
This is St James’ 25th year in existence with a celebration held last month. “We produced a 20 minute DVD about when the club first established right up to today,” Henry adds.
“We had a magazine, we gave out free copies on the night and we've also made it an online resource. The 25 year thing is so important and it was nice we had our juvenile awards in February. From that perspective it was nice to get those two events done before the Covid outbreak.
“There is so much good happening. Kevin Nugent is a local guy from Renmore, he owns Mr Waffle, Delight, and Ground & Co.
“What he has done for the community of Galway on a wider reach is incredible really. We are delighted he is part of our club, he sponsored the Under 15 and Under 16s last year, we appreciate him a lot.”
St James’ are trying to do their bit for some vulnerable people in Renmore and Mervue in conjuction with shop owner Michael McGreal.
“Mike McGreal has been a great sponsor for the men's and ladies' club,” Henry says. “He has provided food for after training sessions in 2019 and 2020 and in the past. He has also sponsored food and tops in the past.
“We felt as a club what could we do for the community and we are working with Mike McGreal regarding home deliveries for people living in our area on the east side of Galway city. He has two shops, one in Lurgan Park and one in Ballybrit. That encompasses our catchment area.”
While there is currently no sport on the agenda Henry has noticed that a strong community spirit exists alongside clubs in all codes. “Castlegar hurling and Mervue United are doing great work,” Henry acknowledges. “We are all learning from one another in this difficult time.”
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