Tyrone Gaels’ 32 county road trop in aid of Simon Community
Eight Tyrone GAA club members received a rapturous welcome in Derrytresk after they completed an epic 32 county tour of Ireland in aid of the Simon Community.
The money raised will go to help homeless people throughout Ireland and those in danger of losing their homes. The group also sought to raise awareness of the work of the community, a charity which works towards helping men and women who, for a variety of reasons have found themselves on the streets or struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Last year, the Simon Community helped nearly 5,000 individuals and families with advice, accommodation and community support.
Titled the ‘32-32-32’ fundraiser the eight members visited a GAA club in each of the 32 counties where West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff took a penalty against the larger than life Carrickmore goalkeeper Plunkett ‘Oz’ McCallan. At each ground photographer Oliver Corr from Clonoe played Tyrone’s anthem ‘The Mountains of Pomeroy’ on the flute which was warmly received by the host club members.
The group requested that every GAA club in Ireland, which total more than 2,500, donate €32 or £32 to the Simon Community. Already the money is coming in from all over Ireland not just from GAA clubs but also other sporting organisations and individuals.
The bus which left Cookstown last Monday travelled to Galway where the group stayed overnight before taking the first penalty the following morning and setting off on the marathon trek. During the five days it chalked up 1,306 miles and Barry McElduff put 22 of the 32 penalties past his Carrickmore adversary.
Along the way the eight Gaels from clubs across Tyrone slept rough as an act of solidarity with those on the streets. However they acknowledged it was but a gesture and could not be compared to the relentless hardship endured by the homeless.
While they received a massive welcome at the clubs and had a fascinating journey through the grassroots of the GAA in Ireland, they also witnessed firsthand the work of the Simon Community in Dublin city. Last Wednesday night the group spoke to young and old, male and female homeless people at College Green in the capital as the Simon Community gave them soup, tea, sandwiches and advice on how to access local services.
Three members of the Tyrone Association in Dublin, secretary Tony McGrath from Sixmilecross, treasurer Brian Furey and committee member Hugh McCann from Creggan met with the 32-32-32 on the street and made a considerable donation to the fundraiser.
Barry McElduff said, “The biggest achievement was to open the door of the Simon Community to the GAA as the GAA is the most community-rooted organisation in Ireland. We are very grateful to all those who welcomed us and helped us on our mission.
“We are not in a position to say what final total was raised and we have written to all county chairmen and secretaries asking them to mention it for the final time at their meetings in August or September.”
Niamh Randall, spokesperson for the Simon Communities said, “I would like to say a big thank you to the 32-32-32 team for the time, effort and energy they put into this campaign. It is initiatives like these that help raise much needed funds for the Simon Communities, ensuring we continue to provide services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society - people who are homeless and those who are at risk.”
Donations can be made to; Simon Communities of Ireland, St Andrews House, 28-30 ExchequerStreet, Dublin 2. Republic of Ireland.
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Weather for Dungannon
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
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Wind direction: North
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