AN OFFALY GAA club has been helping out in the community since the coronavirus pandemic began, and now as summer hits Ireland, there's an important annual job to be done.
Members of Daingean GAA club have taken to the bog to foot turf for the elderly and vulnerable in the community-- many of whom would have done the job themselves each summer since they were children but who now have to remain inside to protect themselves from coronavirus.
The club have always been community-minded, and their members have been helping the vulnerable with food deliveries, meals on wheels and prescriptions, but the idea to get their athletic members to do the "back breaking" but essential job of footing turf is arguably their most important act yet.
Daingean launched their campaign-- called the Turf-a-Thon-- at the beginning of May, calling on vulnerable members of the community to let them know if they needed help.
The club wrote on Facebook at the time:
"Daingean GAA would like to offer help any vulnerable members of the community who need their Turf “turned/footed/heaped or drawn” on the Friday/Saturday of the Bank holiday weekend," a spokesperson wrote.
"Turf is still used as a primary source of heat for a lot of households in Daingean, and will be needed during the coming winter.
"During this unprecedented time, we want to help people with a genuine need in any way possible."
The campaign was a major success, with dozens of people offering their assistance, and a week later members of the club tackled their first plot-- while maintaining social distancing protocols-- with a speed and strength which club officials said left them "blown away".
"Turf is a primary source of fuel in the Daingean community and saving the turf is a back breaking job," a spokesperson wrote alongside the video of the incredible Tuf-a-Thon.
"Daingean GAA recognise that a cohort of people in our community would struggle to save their turf and ultimately their heat source during the COVID 19 pandemic.
"We launched our Turf-a-Thon last week and had great engagement from the community with offers of help and suggestions of people to assist. Last night we tackled our first plot while maintaining social distancing protocols.
"We were blown away by the response of the players and the speed at which they swept through the plot.
"Massive thanks to all who came last night and in particular to [videographer] Steven Burns for pulling this piece together. "
To find out more about the Turf-a-Thon and the other community-based campaigns the GAA club has in store, you can visit the Daingeann GAA facebook page here.
Well done to everyone involved!