The black and amber flags danced in the glorious May sunshine as the Danesfort community welcomed Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, to mark the official opening of the astroturf pitch at Danesfort GAA and camogie club.
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The completion of the astroturf pitch marks the first phase of ambitious plans for the Danesfort sports facility.
Head of Fundraising, Catherine Cunniffe, co-ordinated proceedings and welcomed Minister Chambers, as well as a host of invited guests and a huge gathering of community members, young and old, to witness the historic occasion.
In her address, Catherine highlighted the vast array of sporting and community organisations that contribute to the active and vibrant community that is Danesfort.
She outlined how it is through generous donations and the spirit of community, co-operation and volunteerism that projects like this come to fruition.
Addressing the crowd, Minister Chambers congratulated all involved in the project. He said that he was delighted to see so many children present with hurleys and sliotars.
These children, he said, are ‘the future of sport’ and he further commended the club for welcoming all children through their diversity and inclusion programme.
Minister Chambers congratulated the people of Danesfort for securing a state-of-the-art facility for generations to come and he looks forward to hearing about the next phase of the development.
The Minister was presented with a hurl and sliotar and a framed account of how the black and amber of Danesfort, became the Kilkenny county colours, when local man John F Drennan gifted a set of jerseys to Kilkenny County Board.
Club chairman James Tierney paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of past and present club executive committees, fundraising committees and the development committee and made special mention of thanks to Terry and Kate Clune of the Taxback Group for their generous support of the club and this development.
Jimmy Walsh, chairman of Kilkenny County Board congratulated all involved in the organising, building and funding of the new facility, while Ava Cuddihy and Molly Cunniffe placed the next increment on the fundraising thermometer.
Perhaps the greatest applause of the morning came when Seamus Nugent of Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership detailed how Danesfort GAA and camogie club will be the first sports club in Kilkenny to adopt a diversity and inclusion programme.
Fr Mark Condon was called upon to bless the facility and guests were treated to music from local musicians as the Minister Chamber cut the ribbon on the new astroturf pitch.
Club sponsor Terry Clune thanked all who had volunteered their time for the project and paid tribute in particular to Catherine Cunniffe, Head of Fundraising, for her commitment to the project and for co-ordinating today’s event.
The under-8 camogie team had the honour of playing the very first match on the newly opened pitch.
Their team marched proudly behind the Danesfort flag, accompanied by the Sunday Game theme tune before Minister Chambers threw in the ball to get the game underway.
The day’s celebrations concluded in true Danesfort hospitality with a cup of tea and a chat.
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