The GAA has faced an increasingly difficult challenge between managing and facilitating the priorities of club and county but this week showed that it will always be the sum of its parts with the launch of the 2017 Lá na gClubanna weekend on May 6th and 7th
This initiative allows clubs to take centre stage and affords them the opportunity to celebrate their existence and impact in their community and reconnect with their locality.
The inaugural Lá na gClubanna was held in 2009 as part of the GAA’s national events to mark the 125th Anniversary of the Association. Last year more than 500 Clubs or 20 per cent of the total engaged in the event and a call is being made for even more Clubs to take part in 2017.
Last year saw two clubs – Dromid Pearses (Kerry) and Arklow Geraldines Ballymoney (Wicklow) earn special merit prizes due to the extensive events they organised last year.
The efforts the County Wicklow club went to can be viewed in this video.
There will be a similar competition this year with prizes that include the chance to win an overnight stay and match tickets to an All-Ireland senior semi-final of their choice, as well as the chance for ‘Lá na gClubanna’ events to be captured by professional photography and video.
It harks back to another era and where else in the world woyuld you have the Chairman of the club chatting on camera about Child of Prague statues but that’s the beauty of club and community. It is whatever it is to whoever gets involved.
“The Club is the focal point of Association and Lá na gClubanna is about taking time out to celebrate and acknowledge this fact, to mark the positive impact that is made and the work that our dedicated teams of volunteers do on our behalf,” said GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail.
“It is putting the Club and our Club Members in the spotlight and encourages them to have a festival to mark the role they play in their communities.”
“I am fortunate to travel the length and breadth of the island to see this outstanding work in person and look forward to another celebration of all the good that they do in the promotion of our Games and the leadership and positive impact they make on our cities, towns, villages and parishes.”
Clubs can learn more about ‘Lá na gClubanna’ and how they can organise their own activities by downloading a toolkit here in order to plan their own ‘Lá na gClubanna’ events.
Sport for Business will next week publish a consideration of what an annual fixture list combining club and county might look like in years to come.