KILDRESS GAA and the wider community have raised a staggering £474,000 from ticket sales in a club draw, with more money still to come in.
Club officials believe it sets, “by a bit of a distance”, a record for a local GAA Club-related draw anywhere.
The money will go towards a new £1.2million state of the art building hub at their GAA ground at Gortacladdy. Over 80 per-cent of the cost has been raised by Kildress GAA club. The new facility, which will accommodate male and female GAA teams from children through to senior level, will also be used by a host of local community groups.
Ticket were sold by knocking doors, through social media and stretched as far away as America, Canada, Australia and the Middle East as well as every county in Ireland. Those involved in the initiative included men and women from teenagers to people in their 80s.
Since last September, it was all hands on board in a concerted effort overseen by co-ordinators Mark Conway, Matt Tracey, Mattie Devlin and Frankie Corey with the sellers in teams of eight. There was even a phone app used that enabled those without cash to pay at their doors.
There were 16 cash prizes with the first prize of £10,000 in Saturday night’s draw going to Tiernan McGrath of Gortnagarn, Omagh. There was also a £1,000 prize raffled between clubs that supported the draw, which went to Burren GAC of Co Down.
A clearly delighted Chairman Sean McCrory explained, “It has been a fantastic effort and we are very grateful to all the GAA clubs and individuals who supported the draw. We had about 60 ticket sellers went out last September and more joined in over the months with 100 sellers involved. People just all pulled together and bought into it and it gained momentum. The ticket sellers went into towns and villages and townlands and knocked on every door. We also had sellers in Clones on Ulster final day that got a great response. The players in the club, male and female, were fantastic and we had great teams of sellers.”
It is expected that the current dressingrooms at the club will be demolished next month and building the new ‘Hub’ will commence. It will facilitate a wide rage of groups including Mark Heagney Boxing Club, the local school of Irish Dancing and Cloughfin Pipe Band as well as GAA activities. It is hoped the building will be completed within ten months. The club currently boasts two football fields, one of which has a covered stand and floodlights.
Mr McCrory added, “We have a vibrant hardworking committee at the club and the support has been overwhelming. We are over the moon.”