Fantasy Cheltenham 2021 is up and running. If you want to buy a ticket and support the club in this really challenging year please click on the link below and enjoy.
Erin’s Own Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1885 and since then has been the main sporting organization in the Castlecomer area. 2020 started like any other year but like everyone else we had no idea what we were about to face when March came around.
On the 13th of March lockdown was initiated and on 27th March 2020 all our GAA lives were turned upside down. Our grounds closed, our movement restricted and close contact stopped. Terms like social distancing, bubbles, cocooning, washing your hands frequently became commonplace.
Throughout this time, club efforts turned to the community and our Covid support team rallied by helping the elderly and cocooned across the parish with food and medicine deliveries, with the lotto, to help setup the link for mass online and also the odd chat or phone call just to perk up the spirits.
We often hear the term “in my day” used across the community, as a reference to something that may have seemed better or simpler from a different time. Well this pandemic, and all its challenges, is something that people of all ages can share as none of our current membership have had previous experience of such a challenge.
Our grounds too needed care, and great support was provided by our maintenance committee to have both of our grounds in pristine condition – but still no sport. Well done to thank Jason Brennan for all the work carried out throughout the year in keeping the pitches looking so well and the volunteers who kept both Ballycomey and the Prince clean and tidy throughout the year. Fundraising cancellations happened across the board and our Kilkenny Outdoor Festival fell victim as did our Lotto and Golf Classic. Balancing the books was no longer a priority.
Teams, Skype and Zoom became the strange cocktail that provided enjoyment across the country with teammates, families and friends partaking in regular quizzes and competitions to pass the time and keep the social contact going.
The weeks passed by and no ball was pucked in our grounds but a chink of light appeared when on June 8th walkways were opened but pitches remained closed. Soon after on June 24th non-contact training re-commenced, soon followed by challenge matches a few days later. It is true to say that sometimes sport can provide a cure that no doctor can prescribe.
We were prepared and ready with all the new protocols in place supported by our team of Covid officers led by Marty Delaney and Andy Korff. What followed over the next couple of months was a blessing, and everyone, on and off the pitch, played their part by registering for each training, or match, to ensure contact tracing was secure. It became the new norm for us and everyone was just happy to be playing again.
Supporter access to matches was limited, which was truly disappointing but in reality, understanding. Technology became a friend of many and local matches were beamed to homes each weekend. The purpose of the on pitch battle fell away by comparison to the battle off.
With that in mind, I would like on the clubs behalf, to thank sincerely the frontline staff, particularly those in healthcare, for what they have had to endure over the past year – so far. The position in which they have had to put themselves, on the front facing line, to ensure that, we, as a public could operate in some form of normality. Working together in a strong community with a shared goal and a common purpose can make the impossible possible.
Deepest condolences to members, family, and friends who have suffered loss. None more so than in this past year, with the challenge of sharing those last few days with a loved one, or the unnatural rules and surroundings throughout the funeral arrangements that have denied so many the opportunity to grieve properly, but ironically in doing so, if it has saved lives, it was a sacrifice that had to be made.
On a brighter note, heartiest congratulations to all who have celebrated success both on and off the pitch, in sport, life, love or education. Even though the ongoing emphasis has been towards the ongoing pandemic, Life really does have to go on, so well done to all who had reason to celebrate. One very bright spark in the middle of all of this was that proud moment seeing 3 Erin’s Own men line out for Kilkenny in Senior Hurling Championship. Well done to the 2 Conor’s and Ciaran as well to James Brennan on his U20 representation and to Shane Coogan on the Minor panel.
Big thanks to all our club officers, members and sponsors who helped out in any small way during this difficult time. Specific callout to our main sponsor Jimmy Comerford and The Avalon House Hotel who have maintained their sponsorship with us despite the obvious challenges in their industry. Something that we as members should be mindful of. Thanks also to the numerous other sponsors who have stepped up to the plate.
I want to thank my fellow officers for their work and dedication throughout this time. It’s was not easy, but we have received fantastic support from all the various committees –Some of the key people over the year. Some people serve across multiple committees so just calling them once here.
Main executive (John, Marie Therese, Margaret, Davy and Deirdre),
Main committee (Catriona, Donal)
Finance (Eamonn, Pat, Tarla, Marty),
Lotto (Helen, Paddy, Ann and all the volunteer sellers),
Development (Michael and Martin, Marty Con, Jason),
Bord na Nog (Ronan, Ken and Phadie),
Cheltenham (Tommy, Colm),
Concert (Billy, Aidan, Mike, John),
Management Selection (Conor and Niall)
and our friends in
Camogie (Joe, Fergal)
Ladies Football (Karen and Linda).
I would also like to extend best wishes to everyone who has stepped forward to volunteer in roles for 2021. Everyone from Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, PRO Bord na NOg Chairman and so on to Senior Manager, right down to U7 manager and all the backroom teams that support them.
It takes a lot of people to keep our club working. If everyone does their bit, and the workload is shared across the volunteers, committees and teams then we will be in a good place. Don’t just wait to be asked – offer your services, no matter how small the task as it all helps. We have found it more and more difficult for people to step forward and offer help. Yes, people will help when asked to do so but it’s a nice touch when a person steps forward and volunteers their time. No job is too small.
Erin’s Own belongs to all of us. We all have a responsibility to our community and to the great members who have passed before us to ensure this club, our club, is handed down to the next generation. When you walk out of the dressing room, or step away from a role for the last time – when you look back, and are able to say yes, I did my bit for our club, then, and only then can we say that all will be fine. You will feel all the better for it as Erin’s Own is our club, one we are very proud of. There are always going to be new challenges, none more so that now but we have a great pool of people to draw from when needed.
For information in relation to GAA child safeguarding procedures go to http://www.gaa.ie/the-gaa/child-welfare-and-protection/
For any information on membership, matches or general enquiries just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be back to you.
Last and by no means least we would like to thank our sponsors for their ongoing support . Our main club sponsor is The Avalon House Hotel, Castlecomer with The Academy Plaza Hotel, Dublin. It is important that we continue to show support for our sponsors.
To Willie Forde, Eurospar and the many other sponsors ongoing thanks and to our members to please continue to support their businesses throughout 2020.