St Brendan’s GAA centenary celebrations put on hold as it survives in isolation

ST BRENDAN’S GAA club in Grangegorman will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year – but the period of celebrations certainly has not gone as expected.

The club, which trains and plays on the TU Dublin campus, has more than 150 active players and 300 non-playing members.

But the challenges of the current crisis affect a high proportion of them.

“Many of our members work in healthcare or have children who are being home-schooled,” says Eugene Cunningham, chairman and manager of the ladies team in St Brendan’s. “This means that there is less time to give to different efforts.

“We have suffered financially,” Cunningham adds. “We can’t run fundraisers and membership payments have not been pushed for.”

The GAA nationally has warned that “clubs of course should be mindful of the possible changed financial circumstances of members”.

Although celebrations are postponed, St. Brendan’s has been active on Twitter during the pandemic. Its “Tune Up Your Skills” competition allowed kids to send in videos of them practicing their skills to their favourite song – with the top prize being a Nintendo Switch.

“We encourage kids to play the sports,” says Cian Breathnach, men’s manager. “We do demo videos for them to follow along to at home – we are trying to be as proactive as possible.”

Cunningham adds: “We are making use of training sessions through Instagram and using Microsoft Teams and Zoom for meetings of our underage teams and adult teams.”

When will all this start to change? “Depending on the advice of the GAA and LGFA we probably won’t be able to any kind of training in a group till probably July,” Cunningham says. “We would never put any of our members at risk.”

Breathnach adds: “This is the first time in history that the sport has never been played in so long – I hope that this will make people appreciate it more.”

St Brendan’s GAA website: