GAA clubs across the country are hoping they can resume their weekly lottos next month after suspending them last weekend.
As part of the organisation’s decision to ensure the safety of members during the coronavirus crisis, clubs called a halt to their fundraising activities last weekend. While the hope is that they can resume later this month, it is likely a forlorn one.
“The club lotto is probably sustaining most clubs,” said former Cork chairman Ger Lane, now chair of his club Bride Rovers. “It’s their day-to-day funding really, paying for sliotars, footballs, equipment, and all the other things that go with running a club.
“We have suspended the lotto, for how long we don’t know, but it’s going to be a huge loss because it was the main fundraiser for the club. We have other initiatives, but generally speaking, our lotto is the big one, the jackpot is €20,000 at the moment and it was being subscribed to substantially.
“It’s a big pot of money and people were joining the lotto for that, but in the grand scheme of things we had no choice but to cancel. We would have a percentage of it online (via Clubforce) and a lot of it in our shops and public houses. We’ve one guy who was selling 200 tickets a week in his workplace and he’s laid off at the moment.”
Although clubs currently aren’t incurring all of the costs associated with training and opening clubhouses and dressing rooms, the suspension of fundraising is certain to have an impact.
Timoleague’s Ardigeen Rangers held their last draw last Sunday before it, too, was called off. T
hose who bought yearly tickets will receive credit in 2021 for so long as the lotto is delayed.
“There are people a lot worse off at the moment, but it’s a disaster for clubs,” says Rangers chairperson Angela O’Donovan.
“People are probably worrying more about paying for a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread when they’re in the shop now than buying a ticket for the local lotto, and that’s only right.
“On the flipside, we don’t have many expenses at the moment but the fundraising has stopped for our young lads too who would have usually organised an event around Easter time, and they’ve had to call that off too.
We have our race night in November, one of our main fundraisers. There’s a great community spirit here and great support for the club.”
The GAA is currently assessing the issue of membership fees and whether the annual deadline of March 31 may also be put back.
Also, affiliation fees paid to Croke Park by units are being assessed, as well as player insurance considering the fact that no games are currently played.
Both Bride Rovers and Ardigeen Rangers are heavily involved in community drives to assist those in need during the crisis.
Ardigeen have set up a local link on WhatsApp for people who might need groceries delivered or prescriptions picked up, as well as the general running of errands.