'Ireland’s biggest club lotto jackpot': Draws keeping GAA clubs ticking over during lockdown

O’Donovan Rossa, Brian Dillons, and Glenville are among the GAA clubs across Ireland boasting large lotto jackpots as they bid to maintain a flow of income during lockdown
'Ireland’s biggest club lotto jackpot': Draws keeping GAA clubs ticking over during lockdown

It’s over 12 months now since O’Donovan Rossa’s jackpot was won and now a whopping €30,000 awaits a new winner.

“I was talking to that man who last won it the other day,” says club chairman Pat Fitzgerald, “and he said, ‘I could do with winning it again!’”

Described on the website as “Ireland’s biggest club lotto jackpot”, the Skibbereen club took the decision a couple of years ago to set a €20,000 minimum jackpot.

“It was to get people really involved in it and encourage them to stay involved,” Fitzgerald explains.

The upper limit is set at €30,000. Should there be no winner after five draws, the money is split between those who come closest to picking the three correct numbers between one and 30 and the bonus number between one and 10.

The carrot is a big one but people aren’t flaithulach. When club lotteries were allowed to return last summer after initially being shut down for a few months, the numbers entering it had dropped.

“We suspended ours for three months nearly and when we started it back we found it wasn’t as successful as before,” recalls Fitzgerald. “I think people are more penny wise at the moment.

“It’s successful but the biggest thing is to keep it going. It’s our biggest source of income. Our bingo is totally gone and we have no gate receipts, nothing like that. The leasing of the hall is gone, the astroturf, there is no income from them so we’re totally dependent on the lotto. Every club is probably in the same boat.”

Brian Dillons’ jackpot is currently €18,800 and the interest is naturally high. 

“It’s a good prize and hopefully it won’t be won for a while,” smiles club secretary Donal Lyons. “When the jackpots are big, it’s grand but when you start at €1,000 and are going up €100 every time you don’t have as many people doing it. So you can work it out that it’s not been won for some time.

“We’re a small dual junior club and the lottery has been our mainstay with the club membership. We have our social bar as well but that has been shutdown since March last year so we’re struggling but we’ll get over it.”

When Croke Park ordered a second shutdown in October, club lottos were spared but by that time several of them had moved their operations online. Having only set up their lottery online last month, Lyons admits Brian Dillons were slow to embrace the technology but are already seeing the benefits of it.

“We went online on the night of Valentine’s,” he says. “Up until then, we didn’t have it and I have to say it’s been a success for us and we’re getting good support from our members and the general public in our locality.

“Online lotto, it’s new to a lot of us but it’s so far, so good. I wasn’t too sure at the start but I tried it and I couldn’t fault it. We had to do it because a lot of the shops are closed and we don’t have the pubs so it’s another option now to sell them. We had to try something because our finances are precarious as they are everywhere.”

What’s made from the Glenville lotto is going towards their development in the village, which comprises a floodlit astro pitch, floodlighting of their main pitch and a new clubhouse. 

“We’re seeing our online lotto develop considerably,” reports club chairman Richie Cahill. “We saw it as an opportunity to help fund our plans further.

“All the outlets we would have been depending on to sell our lotto tickets are out of bounds so to continue with the lotto you probably wouldn’t survive if you didn’t have the online option.”

While Glenville employs Smartlotto to host their lotto online, Brian Dillons and O’Donovan Rossa use Maghera company Klubfinder. 

Galway company Clubforce, who report more than an 800% growth in monthly club lottery ticket sales since June last year, provide the platform for the likes of Feenagh-Kilmeedy in Limerick and Kildare’s Kilcock.

Fitzgerald knows it will take time to convince people to participate in it with their phones and laptops instead of the trusty pen and envelope. 

“We thought we would have more of it online but it’s about 25% at the moment,” he explains. 

“We would hope by the end of the year for it to be 50%. People are still doing it when they’re buying their bottle of milk or getting their newspaper but that makes it awkward then because you don’t want to be going around all the shops collecting them right now. Not everybody knows how to do it online. I’d be one of those boys - I’d be slow to change, I’d press the wrong button and be all over the place. But it is going to be a big part of the future.”

Thirty of the biggest club jackpot prizes

O’Donovan Rossa (Cork) €30,000

Shrule-Glencorrib (Mayo) €26,600

Bodyke (Clare) €20,000

Milltown (Galway) €19,000

Brian Dillons (Cork) €18,800

Feenagh-Kilmeedy (Limerick) €18,600

Kilcock (Kildare) €18,300

Lattin-Cullen (Tipperary) €17,900

De La Salle (Waterford) €17,500

Glenville (Cork) €17,200

Inniscarra (Cork) €17,200

Ballina (Tipperary) €16,200

Ballinagh (Cavan) €16,000

Moycarkey-Borris (Tipperary) €15,800

Carndonagh (Donegal) €15,700

Kanturk (Cork) €15,500

Heath (Laois) €15,000

Raheny (Dublin) €15,000

St Mary’s, Rosslare (Wexford) €15,000

Western Gaels (Roscommon) €14,500

Arva (Cavan) €14,400

Kiladangan (Tipperary) €14,400

O’Loughlin Gaels (Kilkenny) €13,600

St Brigids (Roscommon) €13,400

St Maurs (Dublin) €13,400

Ballyhaise (Cavan) €13,300

Tommy Larkins (Galway) €13,300

Balla (Mayo) €13,300

Galtee Rovers (Tipperary) €13,250

St Joseph’s Doora Barefield (Clare) €13,000

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

GAATitleGAALogo

Sat, Nov 27

Courcey Rovers v Castlelyons

PIHC FINAL

Páirc Uí Chaoimh
5pm

Sun, Sept 26

Clyda Rovers
v
Mallow

SAFC Round 2

Glantane
2pm

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.