KERRY Gaelic football stars from the past and present will attend a star-studded dinner in London to help raise 1million to fund the completion of a GAA Centre of Excellence in the kingdom.
The event, taking place the Grange Hotel, St Paul’s on Friday, June 26, will see Marty Morrissey, Dara O’Cinneide, and Weeshie Fogarty co-host the fundraising evening, as Kerry GAA continue their ambitious drive to develop training areas at IT Tralee and in the village of Currans.
The new state of the art facilities will cost in the region of €5.8million to complete, of which €4.7million has already been raised.
At IT Tralee, Kerry GAA are building a Centre of Excellence with their own full size GAA pitch, dressing rooms, players’ lounge, meeting rooms and offices.
Shared facilities with the third level institution are also planned including a high performance gym, sports hall, aerobics rooms, leisure theatre, hydrotherapy pool, massage suites, synthetic pitch and an existing sand based pitch.
The Currans project includes two phases with the first part – which is hoped to be completed by 2016 – featuring two full size floodlit sand-based GAA pitches, dressing rooms, a players meeting room and a maintenance building.
Then between 2016 and 2020 it is anticipated that three further floodlit sand-based pitches, one full size all-weather synthetic pitch, additional dressing rooms, a jogging track, and a players catering facility will be added.
Kerry Association London Chairman John Tuite is delighted by the response in Britain.
“It should be a great night – it is nearly sold out already which is brilliant for us.
“The Centre of Excellence is already under construction and those involved with Kerry GAA are encouraged by the response they have received so far.”
Kerry GAA, current All-Ireland football champions, have also staged events in New York and Boston tapping into the Irish community in the United States.
“There is 1million of a shortfall that needs to be made up in the next few months, but that should be achieved between what is being done in the States and in London,” Tuite said.
Pieta House and Friends of Kerry, a charity for children with disabilities, will also benefit from the London fundraising evening, of which The Irish Post is the official media partner.
Kerry Association London secretary Tara Cronin said: “There has been great interest so far and it should be a great occasion for Kerry people.
“We are expecting a crowd of more than 400 people which will be brilliant. We do have sponsorship packages available too, but it looks like we will have a sell-out crowd, which is brilliant for everybody involved.”
Table prices range from £2,500 to £4,000 for what promises to a lively evening as the proud holders of Sam Maguire embark on this