I have sat and stood on soccer-field sidelines on several big occasions for the Castleisland club in recent years.
More than once in the course of my hours there have I seen, albeit through a lens, Patrick O’Rourke slip easily into the role of club and team hero.
In more recent years, as his serious playing career winds down, he has taken on the role of super-sub. Always dangerous, often deadly.
Professionalism and Purpose
On Thursday night at the River Island Hotel I was on the sidelines again as the same Patrick O’Rourke took on a new role. The dangerous and the deadly now replaced by professionalism and purpose.
As chairman of Castleisland Athletic Football Club he took on the important role of spokesman and master of ceremonies to explain to the invited members of the public how and why they could and should support the club in its plans for the future.
The club’s current aspirations are to take a giant leap in its now 44 year long history. In the realisation of those plans he stands shoulder to shoulder with Castleisland Community College Principal, Carmel Kelly.
They’re solid allies in a commitment to the realisation of a dream which the community is now buying into as the well advanced plans are being fleshed out.
If slaps on the back, moral support and well meaning words of encouragement could be cashed in they would be opening the pitch this summer.
The reality, however is that there is a cap-in-hand element to be considered. That too is being met head on.
A team of women at the meeting had to leave soon after Patrick and Carmel finished their cúpla focal.
They were having a coaching session elsewhere in the hotel for the club’s up coming and opening fundraiser, the Castleisland Lip Sync Battle.
Wide Community Support
This will be held at the local community centre on Friday, March 31st. and you’ll hear a lot more about it as the time approaches.
You’ll hear more because it’s drawing in the kind of wide community support which the Desmonds GAA Club’s dancing and boxing extravaganzas attracted last summer.
All the invited, top table guests: Pádraig Harnett, Secretary, Kerry Schoolboys / Schoolgirls; Seán O’Keeffe, Kerry District League and Brian O’Sullivan, Castleisland Chamber Alliance fell into supporting cast roles.
They shared the table with Georgie O’Callaghan and the afore mentioned Ms. Kelly and Mr. O’Rourke.
In Safe Hands
For a code in which hands are largely redundant, this game plan is in safe hands. The support of a community, which has never been found wanting for any project yet, will again be forthcoming and vital.
Patrick O’Rourke emphasised how the prevalent self help mentality here will attract matching funds and grants from a variety of sources and he and Ms. Kelly agreed that the summer of 2018 could well see the project up and running.
They dispensed the information at their disposal and sated the curiosity of the public so well that there was ne’er a question to be asked after.
Benefits of Sport
There were graphs on tables and on screen and indisputable arguments on the benefits of sport to the health and well-being of a community.
Stephen McCarthy did a great job with drone footage of the field as it is now. He also eased the 80 plus attendance into a realisation of what it can be with a fly-over of the Kerry District League all-weather turfed facilities at Mounthawk Park in Tralee.
Talking about flying: there are kites being aired already about what the new facility should be called – or, maybe more to the point, called after.
It’s no surprise to anyone that Georgie O’Callaghan’s name is flying far higher that any other. That’s a matter for another day. It’s enough for now that the project is off to a flying start.
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