Excitement is mounting this week as Longfordians everywhere gear themselves up for the annual GAA Race Day at Punchestown.
Longford GAA has been holding the fundraiser at the event for the past 11 years and the initiative has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2003. Over €1m has been raised for the county board in that time, an achievement it has to be said, that is hard to rival.
This year, Longford’s very own RTÉ news journalist Sinead Hussey has been drafted onto the fundraising committee and while she admits there is disappointment over Longford’s relegation to Division 4 of the National Football League, she remains confident that the county can go on to shine in the football stakes in the future.
“One of the most enjoyable factors of Race Day is the fact that so many Longfordians who may be living elsewhere are provided with the opportunity to meet up with each other and catch up,” said Ms Hussey adding that it was also a major fundraising effort by the local county board, and therefore “important to support”. “It is incredible actually how many Longford people support the event with each year; I think up on 1,000 supporters gather in the tent in Punchestown to support the county and that is really great to see.”
Ms Hussey who is originally from Longford town, also said the future of Longford GAA remained bright as she pointed to this year’s success on the field for both the minor and U21 sides.
“Of course it is disappointing that Longford is now in Division 4, but the minors and U21’s are going well and it is important to focus on that,” she added.
“Race day provides all of us with an opportunity to give something back to Longford GAA and it is a fantastic day out for everyone to enjoy.”
Longford GAA Race Day is going into its eleventh year and is now regarded as one of the largest corporate race days in Ireland. It draws over 1,000 people annually and this year’s event will take place at the Punchestown National Hunt Festival on Wednesday, April 30 next. Tickets cost €100. Meanwhile, Longford’s first game of the championship takes place against Offaly on May 18 next at Glennon Brothers’ Pearce Park.