Cluain Tarbh & Raheny really did #GoTheDistance

25 May 2020

Cluain Tarbh & Raheny really did #GoTheDistance

What started out as a jest on Twitter between the two local GAA clubs snowballed into an amazing display of community solidarity last Saturday in aid of St. Francis Hospice.

Cluain Tarbh and Raheny mobilised their members and the wider community in the hundreds and St. Anne's Park, the seafront and Dollymount Strand were a sea of Red and Maroon geansaí's reminiscent of a Cork-Galway final down the road in Croker. Young and old took part including 11-month-old Cillian O'Keefe who Clontarf GAA believe was the youngest participant as well as 88 years young Catherine O'Neill complete with social distancing hurl! (pictured below)

Plotting a virtual target route around the GAA clubs of the coastline of Ireland and virtually visiting them with Twitter mentions, the number of people who walked, ran, cycled or even swam completely exceeded expectations and the original target. With people still logging their distances this morning both clubs went a staggering 77,500Km which is Malin2Mizen approximately 122 times or 26 times around the original target.

Leading up to the event good luck messages came in from well-known GAA names and broadcasters including Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. There was a crossover into other sports with former Ireland cúl báire and former Clontarf resident Packie Bonner wishing the event well on the day that TG4 showed another WorldCupGold game from Italia 90. Clontarf native Brian O'Driscoll and fellow Ireland and Lions player Jamie Heaslip also sent on messages as well as local legends including Joe Duffy and Mattress Mick.

The event almost broke the Internet with good luck messages and retweets coming in from GAA clubs around Ireland as well as local clubs including Clontarf Cricket and Rugby clubs and Raheny Shamrocks. Even some of the Clontarf Rugby first XV took part in the event.

In fact the interest was so high that #GoTheDistance was the 4th trending term on Twitter in Ireland around lunchtime on Saturday. As the event carried on the volume of donations was so high the donation site was temporarily down.

The Clontarf diaspora was out in force with the first activity seen in Sydney, there was a very warm cycle in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, runs in Brussels, New York and Cardiff, a hill climb in Yorkshire and a 5K in the back garden of a house in London.

The real winners of the event apart from the tremendous community spirit that was apparent are St. Francis Hospice. With COVID-19 impacting many charities they have a €1.8m shortfall in fundraising opportunities. The generosity of people has completely exceeded expectations and over €94,000 has been raised.

Donations will remain open for a number of days at the following link.