Canon Hayes Committee Members with Laura Dillon (Tipperary Footballer) with the Mary Quinn All-Ireland Ladies Cup at the launch of the Canon Hayes Draw.
Tipperary Ladies Footballer, Laura Dillon, launched the 2018 Canon Hayes Draw at the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre, Tipperary, on Friday evening last.
In glorious sunshine Laura told the assembled gathering how honoured she was to be asked to do the honours at the event. "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". Laura also said that they were delighted to be recipients of the Canon Hayes County Sports Award for 2017 and that the award meant an awful lot to them in promoting ladies football in Tipperary.
In thanking Laura 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 who have now moved up to senior level and would be playing Armagh in a crucial game over the weekend. In wishing the footballers continued success 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 went on to speak about the Centre, the success of the last Draw promotion, how the funds had been spent and the need to continue the work to secure the future of the Centre. "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".
The Chairman went on to address some current issues that were of concern to him and to the management committee. "Since our public meeting in December 2016 we 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 which is a very welcome addition to the impressive facilities".
However the Chairman was very critical of the 'red tape' surrounding an application to the Sports Capital Department which only allowed for a relatively small allocation to the upgrading of the Tennis Courts (which are closed currently) and to the upgrading of the 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 went on to say that he was very disappointed that an application for a separate outdoor development at the Centre under the County Council scheme of grants was unsuccessful (after putting a huge amount of work into the application) and that he endeavoured to raise this and the Sports Capital issue with the T.D.'s and Public Representatives when he invited them all to a meeting at the Centre but that no one had attended with only two apologies received. "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 us to 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".
The first three draws (March, April and May) will take place on Friday May 25th at the Bank of Ireland 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. The first prize in the March Draw is a VW Polo (supplied by Pierse Motors) or €13,000 in cash. Tickets are now on sale from the Centre (062-52022) or from local promoters.
The launch was attended by the Pride of Tipperary, Michelle McLaughlin, who spoke in support of the Centre and also as a user of the facilities. An apology was received from Seamus Healy, T.D., who had visited the Centre prior to the event and offered his full support. Mattie McGrath, T.D., also attended the launch and promised to look into the issues raised by the Centre's Chairman. He also visited the Playground which is situated on the site of the Sports Complex and promised to raise the issue of the condition of the facility with the County Council (who have sole responsibility for the area).