Would you buy a sod, or rather, a virtual sod?

“They’re selling the field above,” bemoaned a Mooncoin legend. Must go and investigate!

“They’re selling the field above,” bemoaned a Mooncoin legend. Must go and investigate!

There were plenty of prospective speculators, young and old, carpeted around the Mooncoin GAA grounds with their poke (money) in their hands, as John Wayne might say.

Had famed Mooncoin, with the greatest adult membership in the county, lost their reasoning? Had they changed their tablets? Had they cast their heritage, their traditions, their garrisoned disposition to the scattering winds?

We located Lucy Quinn, chairperson of the Mooncoin Social Committee, whose contribution to the needs of the club has been stellar, and so very valuable.

“Why are ye selling the place Lucy, considering the hard work it needed to get it to its present status?”

No lump of a sod

“We are selling nothing fundamentally,” she fired back, “but we are launching a rather unique fund-raiser to generate badly-needed funding for our club. Basically, we are asking people to purchase a virtual sod in our hurling pitches. It will cost €20, but there is no chance of anyone leaving this complex with a lump of a sod in a bag, or in their hand.”

Lucy was quick to point out the origins of the idea came from a visit upcountry to a pitch re-opening.

“We were debating how next we could generate funding,” she added when she took up the story. “Mooncoin is not alone in the dreadful elephant syndrome in the room. We are all running against the tide in that regard. We decided we would run with the ‘Buy A Sod’ idea, and our IT whiz kids, Fergal O’Hanlon, Davy McGrath, John Grant and Noel Phelan created our website.

“They have created a link through our own club site (www.mooncoingaa.ie) which can be accessed worldwide. The link is the ‘Sponsor a Sod Campaign’. That is immensely important for the success or otherwise of the campaign, because we have so many of our own away in foreign climes, unfortunately.”

So what do people get for their note?

“Obviously it is a fund-raiser,” Lucy smiled. “Obviously sponsors will need to get accreditation for their contribution. So we decided that every sponsor will be given an attractively designed A4 size colourful Certificate of Purchase. His name will also appear on a Roll of Appreciation wall chart that will be erected on an appropriate wall in our complex.”

Have you many sods to sell?

Difficult to turn down

With a smile, she told us: “We have two pitches, a large headland, a walk about, a stand and when all that is virtually off-loaded, we might even buy another field.”

“This is unique to this end of the country as far as I am aware,” suggested club chairman, Paddy Crowley. “Like most other clubs, we are always hunting financial support wherever we can get it. When the ideas are suggested, Lucy and her committee analyse, discuss and then bring the final logistics of the thing to the club for ratification.

“I would have to say that once that committee get a good idea, and this is a very good one, they are difficult to turn down. They are a tremendous asset to our club, and the work they do, often labour intensive, and often difficult, is of enormous benefit to our club. What was particularly attractive about this idea was the fact that they organised it so that it was a very simple matter for the Mooncoin diaspora to get involved, support and identify with what is happening in their own place even though they are half a World away.”

PRO Davy McGrath, the club IT guru with Messrs O’Hanlon, Grant and Phelan is thrilled with the pre-launch response to the sod campaign.

“We have a huge crowd of all ages interested, and many of them have already supported the appeal,” he explained. “Funding is of tantamount importance to us as it is to every other club. The generosity of the Mooncoin community knows no limits. We have a huge, fully paid membership.

“We have big numbers for our Silver Circle that runs for 20 weeks either side of Christmas. We are big supporters of the Piltown draw. We also support the County Board. In total admiration for our supporters here in our parish, I would have to say that every one of them go more than the full nine yards when necessary.”

Seems to me that this is more than a novel idea. It looks like a real winner.