Some 20 farmers and the local community in Kilkerrin-Clonberne in Co. Galway have pitched in to help out a local club to get floodlights and upgraded dressing room facilities.
The parish in east Galway has two community pitches, one in Kilkerrin for soccer and schools to use while the other in Clonberne has pitches and floodlights.
Stevie Lee, one of four members on the organising committee, told Agriland that the Kilkerrin pitch is in need of an upgrade and last year the Kilkerrin Community Development Council applied for the sports capital grant where it received €116,000.
The total cost of the construction of the floodlights and upgrading of the dressing rooms and existing buildings is €182,000, he said.
“Kilkerrin Community Development Council donated €20,000, Kilkerrin United soccer club donated €20,000, a tractor run raised €5,500 and a sports day brought in €1,000.
That left roughly €20,000 to be raised so we asked ourselves what we should do.
“20 years ago there was a calf rearing scheme to build the Kilkerrin Community Centre, where 40 calves were bought, distributed around the parish, kept for three years by each farmer and sold,” he said.
Taking inspiration from this, the organising committee enlisted the help of local farmers from Kilkerrin parish.
“20 cattle from Kilkerrin, heifers, bullocks, weanlings and calves, were bought by 20 farmers last year and we evaluated them in spring 2015.
“We set a sale date for the animals to be sold in Mountbellew mart. So on October 23, the mart manager there, Marian Higgins, who was very accommodating, gave us a slot to sell the animals.
We made €4,000 on the 10 animals and then we had an auction which included 1t of meal vouchers and 10 straws. That made another €2,000.
As to the other 10 animals, Lee said that they will be sold in the other farmers’ time.
“Back in the spring we put a cost on how much it would cost to keep each animal on grass from spring to autumn, which was €180. So then we thought ‘what about the rest of the community?'”
Lee and the other committee members Matin Boyle, Joseph Mullin and Gerard McMahon looked at the local area and sent a representative to every house explaining the what they were doing.
“We asked them would they consider donating and left it up to them to come to the committee. We were overwhelmed with the response, overall including the cattle sale we have €18,000 raised.
“The only expenses we have are stamps, receipts and peoples time. We’re going to keep it running into next year, we’ve no cut off date,” he said.
Construction begins on the floodlights in Kilkerrin on Monday, November 2, 2015.