The community of Ratheniska came out in force on December 23 to celebrate the opening of the new walking track in the GAA grounds in the village.
The fully lit walking track is the last in a number of capital developments undertaken by the Club over the past decade, all stemming from their 2014-2019 Club Strategic Plan.
A ball wall, equipment shed and clubhouse extension have all been successfully navigated by the upwardly mobile and ambitions club.
This illuminated walking track is the feather in the cap according to club chairperson Kevin Fingleton.
He said: “The work has been ongoing at our Grounds here in Ratheniska since the club bought this land back in the mid 90’s.
“It’s wonderful to be able drive on the development again in recent years to keep apace of the growing needs of the club as we go from strength to strength on and off the playing fields.
“The walking track is a special addition to the community however, as it is targeted to those members of the club who most likely won’t be pulling on jerseys and playing inside the white lines but have washed their fair share of jerseys and dirty GAA gear over the years.
“It’s great to be able to provide them with a safe place to exercise and socialise, especially in the dark Winter months.”
Vice Chairperson John Kelly headed up a lot of the capital development in recent years and was to the forefront in this development also.
He said: “We’re very lucky with the supporters we have in our community here, and this would not have been possible without them, but we must also pay special thanks to the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media who operate the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP).
“This has been a great help to us over the years and we have to pay tribute to our local representatives Charlie Flanagan, Sean Fleming, and Brian Stanley for their continued support”.
Indeed, Mr Flanagan TD, was in attendance on the night to pay tribute to the local Club and their dedication to their community, along with Councillors Padraig Fleming and PJ Kelly.
The official ribbon cutting was performed by two stalwarts of the Community and Club, Mrs Peggy Drennan and Mrs Betty Ramsbottom, a very popular choice according to Fingleton.
Kevin said: “Peggy and Betty are synonymous with Ratheniska and are two of the very people we were thinking of when we set about developing this amenity.
“Betty and Peggy are to be seen walking the roads of Ratheniska on an almost daily basis, and to be able to provide them and many others with a safe place to exercise and meet up with neighbours and friends has been our absolute pleasure.
“Between this and our recent involvements in the GAA Green Club and Healthy Club programmes, it’s further evidence of our commitment to be leaders in our community and drivers for change and innovation.”
The Walking Track has been operational for a few weeks now, thanks to the expertise of Brian Kelly Building Services and Mark Carroll Electrical who did incredible work in bringing the project together.
Once the ribbon cutting was complete it was back into the newly redeveloped clubhouse where club members had laid on a feast of mulled wine, hot chocolate, and festive treats for young and old.