The Lake County Movathon fundraising initiative officially ended on April 5 but the Go FundMe page established to receive donations is still active to facilitate those who wish to make late contributions.
The initiative was an unbelievable financial success, the €100,000 target was reached and contributions have now passed the €140,000 mark. As is normal with month-long ventures, the Movathon began slowly but the momentum of the final two weeks sealed the success, the magnificent contribution of €20,000 by the MooreCorporation providing huge impetus.
Success has many measurements and the venture succeeded on many levels. The intention was also to encourage physical exercise in the ‘wicked month’ of March and this challenge was faced with enthusiasm as clubs and individuals engaged in a variety of cyclathons, rowathons, skiathons, sliotar striking, dawn-to-dusk walking relays and some individual journeys that can only be described as epic.
It was essential that the initiative succeeded as the Westmeath GAA community was on trial with this challenge. If our playing and development ambitions are to be realised serious amounts of finance will be needed and as was outlined at the recent county committee meeting, in the region of €1.3 million is required to upgrade TEG Cusack Park. On this occasion the Westmeath GAA community was not found wanting.
As a PR exercise the Movathon also succeeded admirably and those in charge of the social media campaign Donie Malone, Tom Browne and Mark Casserly are to be complimented on their efforts, the traditional local newspaper media being also generous in their coverage of the event.
The positivity created by the campaign for the world of the Westmeath GAA will leave a lasting impact. The County Executive has often been the subject of criticism for not being proactive in generating funds, on this occasion the members and especially the sub-committee responsible for the planning and managing the Movathon are to be commended for putting necks on the line.
This committee was made up of Frank Mescall, Pat Doherty, Karen Hegarty, Tom Hunt, Aoife Boyle, Des Maguire, Aisling Claffey, Donie Malone, Alan Leech, Mark Casserly, Tom Browne, Noeleen McCarthy and Caroline Carton.
The Movathon was a tremendous success as a mould breaking initiative. The unique collaborative fundraising event with the Westmeath GAA, Westmeath Ladies Gaelic Football and Westmeath Camogie combining their efforts to raise the finance essential to allow their respective teams compete at the highest level was truly historic.
Overall, the Movathon was a great success on many levels and in particular for the great engagement from all the interested parties of the Westmeath GAA community at home and abroad.
The support for Frank Mescall in his first major undertaking since he became County Chairman points towards a very positive future for Westmeath GAA.
Return to Play
With senior inter-county teams returning to collective training on April 19, it signals the start of the preparation for return to competitive action.
In brief, this means that Westmeath senior hurling team will return on the weekend of 8-9 May when the Allianz National Hurling League resumes. The league divisions remain unchanged from those previously announced and Westmeath in Division 1A will have outings against Waterford, Limerick, Galway, Cork and Tipperary to which to look forward.
In football Westmeath feature in Division 2 North with Meath, Down and Mayo. The geographic breakdown was a bit unkind to Westmeath as Meath and Mayo were the two teams relegated from Division 1. The Allianz National Football League begins a week later on 15/16 May weekend and concludes with a possible final on the weekend of 19/20 June.
The revised calendar guarantees each county a minimum of five matches in each code. The hurling League relegation play-off is scheduled to be played as curtain raiser to the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Semi Final in August, a date that may have implications for the club season should Westmeath be involved.
The McDonagh Cup will be played on a round robin system with the six competing counties divided into two groups of three and the top two in each group contesting the final, there is also a relegation play-off in this competition. The winners of the McDonagh Cup will be promoted to the 2022 Leinster Championships but will not compete in the 2021 All-Ireland series. The final of the McDonagh Cup will be played as a curtain raiser to the 2021 Leinster hurling final scheduled for Saturday, July 17.
The proposed calendar proposes that club competitions with county players can take place as county teams exit the championships (in football, teams start exiting from the end of June, in hurling from July 10 ).
From 1 August, all counties except All Ireland semi-finalists in football and hurling, and the teams in the Division 1 hurling relegation play off, will be free to stage club competitions with county players.
The resumption of club competitions is of course subject to restrictions permitting same to resume.