THE Offaly GAA Supporters Club has been doing great work behind the scenes for many years and a large chunk of the funds raised goes towards games promotion inschools.
Banagher College and Gallen CS, Ferbane are two schools that have benefited immensely from the support and results in recent months have proved that.
Banagher College reached the All-Ireland VS senior hurling semi-final only to be pipped in extra time by eventual winners, St Brigid’s, Loughrea.
While Gallen Community School, Ferbane have also reaped the rewards and only last Saturday beat Tyrone school, Holy Trinity,Cookstown to qualify for the All-Ireland final this Saturday in Croke Park. Both schools brought the Leinster VS Senior ‘A’ football and hurling titles back to Offaly this year.
The Ferbane school have piloted a scheme where they have a coach (Adrian Gaffey) coming into the school. Gaffey is also on the sideline during matches and is able to coach players on the basis of what he sees during the matches, unlike most other school coaches who just come in and train the players.
This scheme has been viable thanks to funding from local clubs around the Ferbane area as well as help from the Supporters Club.
John Leahy (Offaly GAA Coaching & Games Promotion Officer) is extremely grateful to both schools in allowing them send in coaches and he also stated that they will look to help any school in the county that shows an interest.
Former county players as well as current county players who are out of work are also being approached to become involved with coaching in the schools as efforts continue to be made to look after the future of Offaly GAA.
Meanwhile, following on from the hugely successful ‘Faithful Quest’ lunch in 2010, the Supporter’s Club’s main fund-raising drive will follow a similar format this year.
On Friday, May 27 will the Supporters Club will host a luncheon in the Tullamore Court Hotel with special guests including Kerry Legend Daragh O’Sé and the prolific former Tipperary player and manager Nicky English. MC will be Michael Duignan.
It is also hoped that many of Offaly’s 1961 senior football side that were denied Sam Maguire Cup glory by Down will be present. It is the 50th anniversary of that feat, while the victorious Offaly All-Ireland winning minor hurling team of 1986 are also using the occasion as a reunion with a large majority of the panel already committed to attending.
More details to follow in the coming weeks.