Clubs unite in fundraising effort

At the launch of Strictly Dancing Over The Bridge, a joint venture between St Faithleachs (Roscommon) and Rathcline (Longford) GAA Clubs, are committee members Lorraine Farrell, Helen Kelly, Brenda Reynolds, Denis Smith, Pat Connerton and John Casey. Also in the photo are St Faithleachs Club Chairperson Derek Thompson, Rathcline Club Chairperson Cllr Gerald Farrell and Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Mark Casey. Photo: Declan Gilmore Photography
Two neighbouring GAA clubs have joined forces in a bid to raise much-needed funds.

Two neighbouring GAA clubs have joined forces in a bid to raise much-needed funds.

Rathcline GAA Club in Lanesboro, and St Faithleach’s GAA Club in Ballyleague, are separated only by the River Shannon, and have long enjoyed a friendly relationship, as well as a healthy rivalry!

Now the two teams are combining to host ‘Strictly Dancing Over the Bridge’ - an ambitious fundraising event which will see 15 couples drawn from each club to compete in a dancing competition based on the hit TV show, Strictly Come Dancing.

“We officially launched the competition last Friday evening,” said Helen Kelly, who is the secretary of the organising committee. “It’s the first time the two teams have come together to stage a joint fundraiser like this, the purpose of which is to aid the clubs in the continued development of their grounds, and to strengthen support structures within the clubs. While it’s a fundraiser for the two GAA teams, we hope it will also be a means of bringing the two communities together.”

Helen explained that Lorraine Wynne from the Midlands Dance and Drama Company will train the participants in the lead-up to the main event, which will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone on Saturday, November 29.

“Lorraine will coach the dancers and pair them up for the night,” she continued. “Women representing St Faithleach’s will be paired with men from Rathcline and vice versa.”

Three celebrity judges will be present to offer their opinions, but the audience will also have a say in deciding the eventual winners.

“Each dancer will be sponsored by a local business and voting will start ahead of the event, with €1 equalling one vote,” Helen revealed.

“Votes can also be submitted on the night.”

Helen also told the Leader that the MC for the event will be a well-known GAA personality.

“Michael Duignan, who is a double All-Ireland winner with Offaly and a match commentator and pundit with RTÉ will take charge,” she added.

Helen was also keen to emphasise the support that Strictly Dancing Over the Bridge has received from its main sponsors, Lanesboro/Ballyleague Credit Union, and Munnelly Support Services.

Speaking at the launch last Friday, Henry Kenny, a Newtowncashel man who has been involved with St Faithleach’s GAA Club in Ballyleague for many years, said:

“Over the years both Rathcline and St Faithleach’s have produced players who were well renowned for their tricky footwork, but this new venture will challenge even the trickiest dancers and I’m looking forward to seeing who wins this match.”