00:00 Saturday 08 August 2009  Written by John Bohane

Historic day for Kilmacabea

Jimmy O'Gorman, chairman of the Munster Council officially opened the refurbished playing field and new clubhouse at John William Goulding Park, Leap, in glorious sunshine last Saturday afternoon.

The unveiling of the pristine new surrounds is the culmination of four years' trojan work from the local community in Leap and Glandore as well as members of the GAA Club who have strived so hard to ensure this modern development meets the needs of a growing population and will continue to serve the people of the parish for years to come. The extensive works carried out include a complete overhaul of the playing surface, this involved drainage, lengthening and widening of the pitch, goalposts and ball nets and the erection of a state-of-the-art modern clubhouse which boasts four spacious dressing rooms, a referee's room, a kitchen and bar facilities. Work has also been carried out on fencing, landscaping, drainage, embankment and tarmacadam finish with the work being carried out to perfection.

This development also ensures the club is ideally placed with regards to meeting the expected challenge of hosting big games in the locality in the future as it has ample parking space and perfect viewing quarters. The official unveiling was the highlight of a bumper programme of events held over the August bank holiday weekend for Kilmacabea GAA Club and charts a new and exciting chapter ahead for this illustrious club who can trace their origins back to 1886.

John Keohane presided over events acting as MC for this most auspicious of occasions. John welcomed the assembled large crowd which included an impressive array of invited dignitaries present; county board executive members, representatives of the West Cork Board, politicians and local clergy.

Pat Burke, chairman of Kilmacabea GAA Club was first on the podium heaping praise on everybody who contributed to making this day possible. Pat remarked how these new and improved facilities are "a monument to the work of all those volunteers who have so generously given of their time to fundraising activities, the development work and the preparation for the weekend of celebrations". Pat paid tribute to the enormous generosity of the local community whilst outlining his wish to "ensure this facility becomes the focal point for all the youth of the parish and that it will help in the promotion of our Gaelic games and associated cultural activities." Pat finished his impassioned speech with a fervent hope that this new development will inspire the Kilmacabea players to further glory and challenged them to decorate the clubhouse with trophies in the near future.

delight

County Board chairman Jerry O'Sullivan emphasised his delight at being present in such a picturesque and beautiful location and praised "the huge voluntary effort visibly evident in the club". He concluded his speech by wishing the club all the very best in the future. County Board secretary Frank Murphy expressed his pride in the "fantastic achievements of Kilmacabea GAA Club in providing such a fantastic development for their community". The secretary praised the club officers for their foresight and vision in ensuring this development became a reality and for fostering a unique community spirit which is principally the main ethos of the GAA and is so vital in modern society today. He re-affirmed his belief that the local GAA club is the fulcrum in every parish in the country and acts as the very fabric and heartbeat of every community.

Seamus Coakley, chairman of the West Cork Board complimented the pristine nature of the pitch and the suitability of their venue with regards to hosting matches in the future. The various politicians Christy O'Sullivan TD, Jim O'Keeffe TD, Paddy Sheehan TD, Senator Denis O'Donovan were next to speak again re-emphasizing their delight at being invited to such a momentous occasion for the club with each elected representative echoing previous speakers' words as they touched on the great community spirit so prevalent in the hinterland of Leap and Glandore.

Local clergy men, Reverend Deane and Fr. Pat O'Sullivan blessed the new surrounds whilst paying homage to the many people who supported the club and adorned the famed green and yellow jersey down through the years but have since passed to their eternal reward. Fr. Michael Crowley a keen supporter of the club expressed his joy at seeing three stalwart supporters present in Tim O'Leary, Jim O'Brien and Humphrey O'Leary who contributed enormously to the fortunes of Kilmacabea GAA down through the years before sprinkling holy water on the refurbished playing field and new clubhouse.

passionate

Keynote speaker Jimmy O'Gorman was next to speak. In a passionate and wide ranging speech, he congratulated Kilmacabea GAA Club, "a club with a proud history", on the excellent facilities that they have provided for players, referees, patrons and the community who will all benefit from the hard work that has gone into providing these new facilities. He praised all the members of the club and the local community so instrumental in enuring the development was a succes "Everybody associated with the club can be justifiably proud of what has been achieved. You can look back with pride on your achievements today and I congratulate your club officers past and present who have been the driving force behind the development".

He highlighted the similarities which exist between his own club in Waterford and Kilmacabea GAA Club "small progressive clubs based in rural locations but both rich in talent and teamwork with promising futures ahead for both clubs". He re-inforced his firm view that the GAA will and should always remain amateur, citing the recent case of the inability of the Australian compromise rules team to travel to Ireland later this year due to financial issues a worrying case of professionalism spiralling out of control and that volunteerism is the key to ensuring the continued success of the GAA.

He asserted his firm belief that the founding members of the GAA who met to form Cumann Luthchleas Gael in Hayes' Hotel, Thurles, in 1884 would be very proud of the continued progress of the Association today. Mr. O'Gorman elaborated how the GAA is an institution firmly established in the hearts of every community throughout the 32 counties of Ireland helping to build relations in communities whilst preserving our unique heritage and culture at all times.

Mr. O'Gorman however proceeded to sound a major health warning with regard to two major challenges facing people in Irish society today; drugs and alcohol but stated his belief that these challenges can be overcome and that the GAA will play a prominent role in overcoming these obstacles. He maintained his belief that this battle will be won as long as facilties are continually being upgraded in order to provide future generations with the best of facilties to to keep them off the streets. "This community can be justifiably proud of what has been put in place here in Leap today, facilities that will be of great benefit to the youth of the area for many a long day and it will allow the club to carry on the great work that they are doing for the youth in the parish".

Jimmy concluded his speech by lavishing praise on all involved in the various committes in the GAA Club and wishing Kilmacabea all the very best for the future as they continue to go from strength to strength with his firm belief that they will continue to provide players for divisional and county teams whilst competing strongly for success at local and county level.

Jimmy duly performed the opening ceremony before the large crowd decamped to devour the beautifully food prepared by the hard working ladies committee who epitomise perfectly what Kilmacabea GAA Club are all about for their 'unwavering commitment, dedication and service" for the betterment of all involved in the local community.

This ambitious project has ensured the club is on a solid platform for the future. The refurbished playing field and new clubhouse are a ringing endorsement of a hard working and forward thinking Kilmacabea GAA committee with the finished end product a fitting testament to their foresight and vision.

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