Welcome to the Jungle! Plenty of fun and games

Karen O'Grady

Reporter:

Karen O'Grady

Email:

news@midlandtribune.ie

We've all seen or heard about people singing, dancing (even boxing) to raise some much needed funds for clubs, schools and charities all over the county, but the new 'I'm A Celeb.... Get Me Out of Here!' fundraiser is captivating people everywhere as it puts local brave contestants to the pin of their collars like never before!

And, Drumcullen GAA and Camogie Club is proudly presenting this entertaining, squirming, jaw dropping fundraiser in the Tullamore Court Hotel on May 17 that'll make your toes curl while you watch 24 contestants taking on the various bushtucker and many other trials!

Wait until you see what's in store for these contestants that are taking on the challenge of the forthcoming mega-fundraising event. Spiders, snakes, lizards, bugs, you name it ... the 24 contestants will face the challenge.

Have you been teased enough! The club is undertaking the fundraiser to help finance the development of an indoor astro lit area, a walking track, a ball stopper and other amenities to enhance the current facilities at the Drumcullen GAA pitch.

Much like the popular TV series, the 24 pre-registered contestants will become camp mates for the night on May 17 next and will be put to the test in a variety of bushtucker trials. The event is the biggest fundraiser the club has undertaken to date and it will help complete the development work at the club's grounds, which will benefit not only the current and future players and assist finance the camogie club but it will also benefit the wider local community.

Toni Ryan, Chairperson of Drumcullen GAA, spoke to the 'Tribune' about the upcoming fundraiser and how it will benefit the local community. Toni explained for many years the GAA club has been the “social hub” of the community but things have changed and there are “now so many more actitivies going on” for people.

Toni continues what is brilliant about this forthcoming fundraiser is that “it's pulling from people from other locations” and bringing people together from right across the community and further afield.

According to the Chairperson, the development of the facilities at the GAA grounds is about giving “it a community function”. “It's about creating something for the community,” he re-iterates.

Looking at the various developments going ahead, Toni outlines the club is putting in a new walking track because there are lot of people in the locality interesting in walking in a safe and secure environment.

“When it's finished, the lights will be turned on at a certain time, similar to what is done in Coolderry, during the week and what we would like to do as well, is to develop a social element to this project.”

The club is also toying with the idea of doing a cup of tea, afterwards. “So then, rather then just coming down between whatever time, if it's on between 7pm and 9pm for example, people will be bumping into each other and they might use the GAA as a hub.” It's also hoped that it will work both ways and when the GAA go to the local community in the future, they will continue to be so generous with their time and their efforts.

“There are still a lot of people out there, who aren't involved in the club and we want to bring them into our club,” he explains.

A second development, currently being worked on at the club, is the development of an astro lit area, to be used as an indoor hurling area and according to Toni, it will be one of the first of its kind in the county. The roof is currently up and the walls are going up shortly, which will close the space up as part of phase one of the project.

“Once that's done, the space will be closed up and it will a warm up area. The younger kids can do their hurling training indoors while the adolscents can do their strength and conditioning in there. Then, as part of phase two, we hope to put a gym on the end of it and put a social membership on it. So, it could be used by everyone.”

Noting the nearby community hall, Toni says it's a fantastic facility but “sometimes it can be a bit small for some endeavours”. And, it's hoped some of the activities that need a bigger venue could be done in this new enclosed area, located at the pitch.

It's also about bringing more actitivies into the parish, rather then locals having to travel to partake in them. Those involved in the club have looked to other counties such as Wexford, Clare and Limerick to see what community developments they have undertaken. Toni says “these counties seem to have the driving edge of what a facility can be used for and it has also brought the community together”.

“The main aim of these developments is to put our arms around the whole parish and put the GAA right back into the centre of the community again. It's not just about the GAA anymore. It's about having a community hub, in that sense.”

It's hoped that organisations like a men's shed and other social clubs might undertake activities at the centre and that it will “pull in people from surrounding areas as well because the more people you pull in the bigger the community becomes”.

As part of the mega-fundraising effort, there has been a myraid of events held in the parish over the last number of months including a dog show and family fun day that will take place on Sunday, May 5 next in Rath GAA pitch from 1.30pm.

Meanwhile, this fundraising event is not for the faint hearted and on the night, there will be 10 trials and with each trial, a contestant will be knocked out.

The contestants are Mairead Gath (Grant Engineering), Amy Deegan (Banagher Precast Concrete), Martina Buckley (Buckley's Supervalu, Birr), Gary Smith (Tullamore Floors), Yolande Murray (Tubs Sweets), John Leahy (Renua), Pio Spillane (The Fighting Cocks), Teresa King (The Fivealley Inn), Cillian Kiely (Dan & Molly's, Ballyboy), Sean Guinan (J Grennan's & Sons), Shane Guinan (Denis Guinan Haulage), Mary O'Connor (M & M Nursery and Landscapes), Kevin Fleury (Ger Hanrahan Agri Contractors), Hugh Troy (A & S Ferguson Contractors), Mark Ryan (Silken Thomas), Jennifer Guinan (Dooly's Hotel, Birr), Kevin Connolly (Kennedy's Market House Tavern), Nigel Dunne (Lambe's Oil), Ann Marie Guinan (Future Ticketing), Niall O'Leary (Monica Barnwell, Renua candidate), Paul Bergin (Billy Feighery Fruit & Veg farm), Paddy Ryan (Kelly's Bar, Birr) and the Drumcullen 'Stig' (Donal Rigney Hire Depot).

On Friday, May 17 next in the Tullamore Court Hotel. doors open at 7.15pm and the event is kicking off at 8pm. Tickets cost €25 and are available from www.drumcullengaa.com or from any committee member.

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