Boardsmill GAA’s Walk Together But Apart!

PRESS RELEASE

13th November 2020

For Immediate release

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Boardsmill GAA’s Walk Together – But Apart!

It goes without saying that 2020 will go down as an unprecedented year for everyone. Businesses, sports, schools, and people’s livelihoods across the globe halted for months on end. GAA Clubs were some of the many sporting bodies affected but were lucky enough to get their chance to play a shortened season. The Pandemic also affected fundraising efforts for Clubs and their usual fundraising outlets were not allowed due to safety concerns and restrictions.

Boardsmill GAA, like many other Clubs across the country, struggled to come up with fundraising ideas to keep the Club afloat for another year. However, the three Clubs under the Boardsmill umbrella, Men’s Hurling / Football, Ladies Football and Camogie, banded together and came up with the idea of a 24 hour walkathon aptly named “Boardsmill’s Walk Together” to be run in association with an extremely worthy cause in St. Michael’s National School and Centre for Autism in Trim.

St. Michael’s National School was opened on the 29th of September 1986. In 2001, they were asked to open a Special Class for children with autism spectrum disorder by the Department of Education and Science. The school management, staff and students embraced the idea with enthusiasm. They now have 36 pupils with autism enrolled in their six special classes. This year, they hope to complete work on a playground for these pupils that will cater for their individual needs.  Any money raised for the centre, will go towards completion of this much needed project.

The date for the Walkathon was set for Friday 23rd / Saturday 24th October 2020. However, as the date approached the Country was moved into Level 5 Restrictions and therefore the Club were forced to run the fundraiser virtually- renaming it “Boardsmill’s Walk Together – but Apart!”. Getting 24 leaders together did not appear to be a problem as they had many volunteers to take on the role. Each Team Leader was allocated an hour to walk and had to assemble their own team which would walk during that hour whilst adhering to restrictions.

It all kicked off at 5pm on Friday 23rd with the newly elected County Councillor for the Trim South Meath Area Aisling Dempsey kicking off proceedings walking in her hometown of Trim. All the Team Leaders did a fantastic job in getting family and friends together to do the walk even amid the torrential down pours in the middle of the night! Donations to the cause were being received all hours with many local companies and businesses sponsoring our Leaders. Boardsmill’s GoFundMe, Facebook and Instagram pages were a hive of activity throughout the 24 hours showing images of walkers both young and old taking to the roads and paths around Boardsmill and their hometown’s.

Boardsmill GAA Clubs were still receiving donations and sponsorships for up to a week afterwards such was the interest and traction in the event and they donated €6,800 of the final total to St. Michael’s National School.

TJ Reilly, Boardsmill GAA’s Chairman, along with Caroline Loughran, Hannah Guy, Noeleen Kealey and Bunty Dempsey representing the fundraising Committee and Clubs were in attendance to give the funds at St. Michael’s National School. TJ concluded: “We are delighted that we have run this fundraiser in association with St. Michael’s National School as was suggested by one of our Members, Bunty Dempsey. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that we would be able to walk in here today and hand over a cheque to the value of €6,800. People have been very generous to us and we are thrilled that we can extend that to the school so that you can finalise the development of your playground”.

L-R – Pictured at the presentation of the cheque to St. Michael’s National School is Hannah Guy, Boardsmill Camogie Club Secretary, Bríd Gorry Principal of St. Michaels National School, TJ Reilly Chairperson of Boardsmill GAA, Caroline Loughran Vice Secretary of Boardsmill GAA and Bunty Dempsey representing Boardsmill Ladies Football Club
L-R – Pictured at the presentation of the cheque to St. Michael’s National School is Hannah Guy, Boardsmill Camogie Club Secretary, Bríd Gorry Principal of St. Michaels National School, TJ Reilly Chairperson of Boardsmill GAA, Caroline Loughran Vice Secretary of Boardsmill GAA and Bunty Dempsey representing Boardsmill Ladies Football Club

Commenting on the funds received during the presentation of the cheque, Bríd Gorry Principal of St. Michael’s National School said; “ You have no idea how much this means to us, we have been fundraising for two years to finish our playground and it will make such a difference to the life of the school and the lives of the special class children. When Bunty approached us, we thought if we got €200 / €300 it would be brilliant, we couldn’t believe it when you told us the final figures, we thought you were joking!  This is just amazing. I want to thank the Club from all of us here in St. Michael’s and we are really looking forward to bringing you all back when the playground is completed”.  

L-R – Pictured at the presentation of the cheque to St. Michael’s National School is Bríd Gorry, Principal of St. Michaels National School and TJ Reilly, Chairperson of Boardsmill GAA
L-R – Pictured at the presentation of the cheque to St. Michael’s National School is Bríd Gorry, Principal of St. Michaels National School and TJ Reilly, Chairperson of Boardsmill GAA

This rounds off a very successful and busy year for Boardsmill GAA both on and off the pitch which might be strange to hear given the current circumstances. Not to be idle during lockdown, like many other Club’s and families, Zoom Table Quizzes were the weekly entertainment with members from as far away as Boston competing for bragging rights each week.

In April the Club ran a “300km in a Day” Fundraiser for the Meath Food Bank which was duly surpassed within only a couple of hours and a total of 1,200km were travelled, all virtually throughout the day, raising €3,200 for the Charity on that occasion. Meaning a total of €10,000 was raised by Boardsmill GAA for charities this year, in a year when charities are at most in need.

In keeping with restrictions just after the walkathon, the Club ran a Hallowe’en Scavenger Hunt and Drive Thru Trick-or-Treat for all of its young members with even the older ones dressing up and taking part too. Having to close the registration for it the Thursday beforehand, such was the popularity of the event, the children all thoroughly enjoyed the scavenger hunt and their treats afterward. As one member of the Club said “Boardsmill GAA saves Hallowe’en”!!

On the pitch the camogie girls claimed the U13 Shield against tough opposition, Ratoath, in their final which got played just before the second lockdown. The hurlers have done well getting to their respective finals in Junior and Intermediate Level and we hope these finals will be played in the early part of next year. So a busy year for Boardsmill, here’s hoping next year will be just as busy, both on and off the pitch.

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ENDS

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