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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project

Volunteering: More Quotes

gaa oral history project

'Without question, the heroes of the organisation are the men and women who give their time and energy to the running of underage teams and the provision of the facilities which make the games attractive to young people. Within this group, I would particularly salute the former acclaimed county players who adapt readily from being demi-gods to the chores of running an under-fourteen team! I have great respect for some of the recent and not-so-recent presidents and some of the current county managers. I consider it would be invidious to identify individuals currently involved, but the role and vision of such as Alf Murray, whom I knew slightly, represents the best in the leadership of the organisation.'
—Michael McKeown, 65, Antrim
© GAA Oral History Project

'Volunteers are the main hub of people who run clubs who give time, effort, sweat and tears in some cases, to enable the bigger audience within communities to be a part of any club. If clubs start to pay people, it will break the bond that grows through clubs among its members, as people know that everybody is pulling the same direction to ensure that the club is the main winner, not individuals trying to benefit for themselves.'
—David P. McKittrick, 41, Dublin
© GAA Oral History Project

'Without the voluntary people there would be no organisation, no clubs, no organised games. Volunteers are the people that do the real work on the ground and at national and provincial levels. Policies can be set down all right, but if you don’t have the people to implement them and carry them out at county and club level, it is largely a waste of time and resources. You need the people at ground level to open the gates, open the dressing rooms, have jerseys ready, have footballs, hurleys and everything else ready for training sessions, meetings that have to be organised. They have to clean up dressing rooms after games [to make them] ready for the next session. And the many, many things that have to be done. I mean, the role of the voluntary person is invaluable; you can’t put a value on it.'
—Lorcan O’Rourke, 63, Kildare
© GAA Oral History Project

‘There’s so many lifers there … we have a man in the club, and he goes down and opens the gate every morning at 8am, he closes it every night at 10pm or thereabouts. When training is on … he’s down there, and if training is on at 7, he has the balls and the equipment out at 7, he has ice baths filled for the players after training, he takes care of tokens for the lights, he does so much work it’s unbelievable … this man works 7 days and 7 nights a week in the club.’
—Bobby Goff, 52, Wexford
© GAA Oral History Project

‘Unfortunately, sometimes when some of the volunteers should step aside, they don’t. Some of them believe they’re indispensable … there are times when people should move on and let the new ideas come in … Nothing is better than experience, but as you get older, there’s a time to move on and mature and let the new ones come in, but be available for advice.’
—Honora Kavanagh Martin, 64, Kilkenny
© GAA Oral History Project

'[There was a] gale force wind, and at half-time the manager, Tony Dempsey, said to me, "Go down behind the goal and fire back the balls," and we were playing with the wind in the second half. Well, I nearly died of the cold.'
—Paddy Wickham, 70, Wexford
© GAA Oral History Project

'I admire the “club man”. Unseen, unheard, he will go anywhere for a match, play under any name, in any position. He could be an ex-senior playing in a junior match. He could be a fifteen-year-old playing his first adult match and recounting the story for 10 years after. He could be a minor C playing AFL12. He is probably a guy who has touched senior, but will never let you down, limited talent, but full of heart, every match is an All-Ireland Final.
   'Most of all, he cares. He goes to the senior matches, pays in (€15 into Parnell now!). He does the car park in the All-Ireland Sevens. He’ll put up nets for an important match. He’ll sell tickets for anything that is needed. And all just to be able to buy a pint with his mates in his club.'
—Robert Moloney, 45, Dublin
© GAA Oral History Project

'Were it not for volunteers, the association would fold. It costs many of them to be involved, from time to petrol to loss of work opportunities …. Many are glad to do so for love of club and parish, to help their own progress within the realm of Gaelic Games, to be popular in the community, to play some role.'
—Tommy O'Connor, 48, Kerry
© GAA Oral History Project

'The GAA would not exist without volunteers. They are the bedrock of the association. One has only to visit any club on a summer's morning and see the huge number of youngsters being trained. The example of volunteering is handed on from generation to generation and totally absorbs the life of volunteers. When Clare won their first All-Ireland for aeons in 1995, my husband met Sparrow (Gerard O'Loughlin), a team member immediately after the match, and he (Sparrow) said, "I will need a dozen sliotars for training (the U-21s) next Saturday night".'
—Kay Vaughan, 68, Limerick
© GAA Oral History Project

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