A place in the esteemed Guinness Book of Records is looming for Padraig Pearses GAA club after 1,500 people turned out to take part in a world record-breaking training session at the club’s pitches in Woodmount on Saturday.
People of all ages competed in the event, which was the largest gaelic football training session in history, overcoming the previous record held by Roche Emmets of Louth, where 1,204 people had taken part.
In the process, more than €20,000 was raised for the Pearses club.
The rain held off until the training session was just over, much to the joy of everyone, not least the oldest participant, 85-year-old Mona Broderick.
The pitch was divided into 30 segments, with 50 people in each section and there was plenty of running and soloing with the ball, all under the watchful eye of trainers and stewards.
Independent assessors from GAA clubs in Galway were on hand to cast their eyes over what was a training session with a difference.
The club’s football board chairman Michael Dolphin said everyone at the club is confident that the record was broken and they will be notified in the next week.
“Each independent assessor completed a questionnaire after the event, outlining the amount of people in each group and how many took part overall. The event was recorded and this will be sent away to the UK and we should hear back within a week,” said Mr Dolphin.
“Based on numbers counted on the day we had over 1,500. We were praying for 1,220, but we surpassed ourselves. It was a real community effort and was very uplifting,” he said.
“A lot of work went into it over 10 weeks but it was worth it.”
The idea behind the project was to “build a bit of spirit in the club and we reached our goal. There were people in the club on Saturday who haven’t been in the club for years,” he added.
While huge numbers from the parish took part, other clubs across Roscommon rowed in behind them, while past players, past club members, and relatives and friends of those involved in the club travelled from all over the country to row in behind the effort.
The club has up to 50 teams, between adult and underage teams, in football, hurling, and camogie, starting from under-6.
The celebrations continued later that night as RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey was Master of Ceremonies. The club’s current senior football manager Shane Curran took part in a panel discussion, along with several of the club’s players.
The main sponsor of the event was Hogarty’s Flooring and DIY.