The idea of giving back is a powerful one, especially for those who have made a name and a living doing something they love, in an area where their assistance can be a real boost.
Shane Lowry has set the bar for others now with the confirmation yesterday that he would be assisting Offaly GAA with a contribution of financial support and his time over the coming years.
Having spoken to JP McManus who he knows through golf and a shared passion for Gaelic Games, he will now make a difference for his county that one day might emulate the revival of Limerick where McManus has had a significant impact.
The advice was to focus on youth and that is where the emphasis will be. Carrolls Meats who have been supporters of Offaly for 30 years will continue on the shirt front but the impact of Lowry’s investment will be felt in the development areas of getting coaches on the ground in schools and clubs.
No doubt there will be lessons sought and gained from the success that Dublin GAA and others have had in this area, nurturing growth from the roots rather than the leaves.
Offaly has a rich heritage in the GAA. The county has played in six All Ireland football finals, winning three between 1971 and 1982. That team included Shane’s Dad Brendan who scored three points in the final against Kerry that deprived them of what would have been a historic five in a row.
They have won four All Ireland Hurling titles, in 1981, 1985, 1994 and 1998, and played their last final in 2000.
The County Board, led by Michael Duignan is currently creating a strategic plan to bring back those glory days.
Lowry’s contribution of money and a minimum of two fundraising events, in Ireland and the United States, will be a valuable addition. Putting the weight of his name, his experience of dealing with brands, and his immense popularity into the mix is something that can spark a lot more besides.
“We are all excited by the prospect of working with Shane in the coming years as we strive to improve the fortunes of the county,” said Duignan.
“Shane has inspired us all in Offaly by the way he has progressed to the upper echelons of world golf and we are all extremely proud of his achievements. Shane has pledged his support to help our players of all ages to fulfil their potential. His passion, ambition and honesty of endeavour, while at all times remaining humble and grounded, are leadership attributes that we are looking to enhance in the culture of Offaly GAA.”
“We are on a journey in Offaly GAA and it is fantastic to have Shane on board particularly supporting our coaching and games initiatives, which we hope will benefit all our clubs and players. Offaly GAA are also very thankful that Shane has committed to supporting Offaly GAA financially and we are very grateful for his commitment to offering his time to help our players and support our commercial and fundraising initiatives.”
“The Lowry name has always been synonymous with excellence within Offaly GAA and we once again thank Shane for joining us on the Offaly GAA journey.”
Lowry himself spoke of his enjoyment playing football for Clara growing up. His last game was at Minor level in a relegation playoff against St Vincents in Daingean.
Golf took over then, and you’d have to say that was the right call with the Open Championship sitting on his mantelpiece, and a potential place at the Olympics and the Ryder Cup later this year.
“If I saw Offaly boots climbing the steps in Croke Park to lift an All Ireland again though, I’d be able to die a happy man,” he said on a call from the US yesterday.
That just shows the depth of feeling for the county in one of our great international sports stars.
The GAA, Dublin GAA and two other County Boards are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.
Sport for Business Partners