Laois sports clubs unite to hold big fundraiser on GAA grounds for teenager

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan

Four sports clubs in Laois are uniting to host a massive fundraiser in a local GAA grounds for a teenage boy.

Portarlington Rugby Club, Mountmellick GAA Club, Mountmellick United FC and The Rock GAA club will lay aside any rivalry to host a family fun day next Sunday May 5.

#TeamofDillon day is for Dillon Payne, from Mountmellick who is undergoing cancer treatment for hodgkin's lymphoma. It will take place in Mountmellick GAA grounds. 

With a Donegal GAA club in the news facing insurance costs after allowing soccer to be played on their grounds for a similar type of fundraiser, the Laois clubs have abandoned plans to play tag rugby and soccer games, concentrating on Gaelic football.

They will hold football leagues in U17 and Over 35s, guaranteed to be packed with friendly banter with teams all playing in their own club jerseys, and a rumour that rivals Mountmellick and The Rock will actually swap jerseys to play. The day will also feature a barbecue, a teenage disco at 8pm that evening for Dillon and his age group and a big raffle. 

Dillon who is a Junior Cert student at Mountmellick Community School, is a talented player in the rugby, soccer and GAA clubs.

Portarlington Rugby Club first decided to hold a fundraiser, and got signs, videos and the tickets made. Their suggestion to open it to the other clubs to join in was quickly accepted. Mountmellick GAA was agreed on as it is the biggest venue and in Dillon's home town.

"Dillon only started playing with us this year but he has made a great impression on everyone, he is a fine young lad, very mannerly and well-liked, and a very talented player," said Paul Mannion from Port rugby club.

"That is why everyone has come out in force for him, there will be volunteers from every club there. We printed the poster with the four crests on it, I think that could be the first time those crests are together," he said.

Mick Ennis is with Mountmellick GAA club.

"It is unusual to come together like this but it is a good idea for such a great cause. Dillon's treatment is going well so far. His grandfather PJ was a great sports player too. This is all about fundraising what we can to help the family. We will have a tuck shop on the day too with all the proceeds going to him. I thank everybody for donating. it should be a good day, we just hope the weather is good," said Mick.

The fun day will run next Sunday May 5 from 4pm to 10pm. Tickets are €10, now on sale from committee members of all the clubs. A GoFundMe will also soon be up and running, in response to many requests by the public to the organisers.