Anne Maher, Breeda Christie, John Joe O'Donoghue, Benny Merrigan, John McCahill, Laura Dillon, Martin Quinn, Jennifer Coleman and Joe Quinn at the launch of the Canon Hayes Draw in Tipperary town.
Tipperary ladies footballer Laura Dillon launched the 2018 Canon Hayes Draw at the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre in Tipperary town recently.
In glorious sunshine, Dillon told the assembled gathering how honoured she was to be asked to launch the draw. "I am delighted to be here with the Mary Quinn All-Ireland Intermediate Cup at this magnificent facility and to offer my support to the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre in their fundraising efforts. I am hugely impressed with the facilities that I see here this evening and I would like to congratulate Martin Quinn and his team for their great work in providing this great facility for the communities of Tipperary and beyond,” Dillon said.
Dillon said that Tipperary ladies football were delighted to be recipients of the Canon Hayes County Sports Award for 2017, with the award helping them promote ladies football in the county.
In thanking Dillon for her attendance, Canon Hayes chairman Martin Quinn wished her a speedy recovery from a recent injury and extended best wishes to the Tipperary team this season.
Martin paid an emotional tribute to former ladies footballer Rachel Kenneally who passed away recently. "Rachel epitomised all that was good in sport. She was a wonderful sportsperson and a fantastic player who gave great service to club and county. We were delighted to have her as one of our past sports scholarship recipients and her contribution to sport and to life will not be forgotten. Her loss is immense and our thoughts and prayers are with her parents, sisters, extended family members, colleagues and friends as they try to cope with the loss of a wonderful person and a great role model,” Martin said.
Martin went on to speak about the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre, the success of the last draw promotion, how the funds had been spent and the need to continue supporting the work of the centre to secure its future. "Make no mistake about it but this new promotion is vital to the ongoing needs of the centre. The centre is 31 years open this coming September and if we want it to continue into the future then the success of this promotion is crucial,” he emphasised.
Martin highlighted that since a public meeting about the centre in December 2016, they have run a very successful draw which has addressed some major maintenance issues such as roof repairs, replacement of windows and grids, and general upkeep. It has also provided for the development of a new strength and conditioning suite.
However, the chairman went on to address current issues that were of concern to him and the management committee. He criticised the Sports Capital Programme for “only allowing for a relatively small allocation to the upgrading of the tennis courts and gymnasium, with the application being scored zero under level of disadvantaged. We are appealing this at the highest level as the centre is in a very disadvantaged area and scores -22.74 (very disadvantaged) in the Pobal index".
Martin also expressed his disappointment that an application for a separate outdoor development at the centre under the County Council grants scheme was unsuccessful.
“I endeavoured to raise these issues with TDs and public representatives when I invited them all to a meeting at the centre but no one attended and I only received two apologies. It seems that every door is being shut to us and it is very frustrating as we are working very hard to keep the centre going and we need everyone's support. We want to increase footfall and attract new members and it is crucial that our facilities are in top condition in order to do that.
“We also had plans and proposals for a joint membership scheme between the centre and the swimming pool, but again this proposal was flatly turned down by the council. It is all very disheartening but we can't allow ourselves become too despondent. I know that the community will rally behind us as they have done in the past and I sincerely ask for your support for this promotion which Laura has launched this evening,” he added.
The launch was also attended by the Pride of Tipperary Michelle McLaughlin and Mattie McGrath TD, who spoke in support of the centre.
The March, April and May draws take place on Friday 25th May at the Tipperary Enterprise Town event at the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre. It is hoped that TV personality Daithí O'Shea will be on hand to assist with the draw. First prize is a Volkswagen Polo or €13,000 in cash. Tickets are now on sale from the centre on 062-52022 and from local promoters.
Laura Dillon with the Volkswagen Polo that is up for grabs on Friday 25th May.
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