Westmeath football manager Jack Cooney and his son Brían who completed a skiathon in support of the Movathon fundraiser.

Westmeath 'Movathon' gathers momentum with just one week left

There is just one week to go in the ‘Movathon Lake County Challenge’ - the fundraiser in aid of Westmeath football, hurling and camogie teams.

The fundraising challenge began at the start of March and continues until Easter Monday, April 5.

The 'Movathon' has been gathering momentum over the past couple of weeks after a somewhat slow start.

Half of the money raised will be allocated on an equal basis to support Westmeath football (both male and female), hurling and camogie teams. The remainder will be used to carry out refurbishment work at TEG Cusack Park.

It's the first time the three strands of the Westmeath Gaelic games community have united to raise essential funds in a time where the normal sources of revenue are no longer available.

As part of the challenge, Westmeath supporters and their families are asked to walk, run, cycle or swim a distance of their choice, and to donate to the dedicated GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/f/Westmeath-GAA-the-movathon-lake-county-challenge). People are expected to carry out their activities without moving outside the 5km limit permitted under the Covid-19 restrictions.

Westmeath GAA chairman Frank Mescall pleaded for more support for the ‘Movathon' at the recent county committee meeting.

“I’d be lying if I said I was completely happy with how it’s doing,” he said, when assessing how it was going at that stage.

“I’d wish it was doing a little bit better, so again I’m appealing for your support. Please row in behind it – it is not enough to put it up on your Facebook page and hope that the money is going to walk in. That won’t happen. A certain amount will but not enough,” he said, urging clubs to promote it in other ways including WhatsApp groups and other forms of media.

Mr Mescall said people can donate “in the traditional manner” by cash or cheque if not familiar with making donations via GoFundMe pages, adding that “everything is very welcome”.

“We’ve had a good response from all over the county. But Irish people are notorious for leaving everything to the last week or the last few days. So if we can continue to build it up, I have no doubt that it will be massive in the last week,” he added.

Mr Mescall set a target for each affiliated club to raise €2,000 for the ambitious project. The response to this target has been overwhelmingly positive and several clubs have already made plans for special Easter weekend events.

Westmeath senior football manager Jack Cooney and his son Brían set a high standard by completing a novel and physically demanding 42km skiathon last Saturday week.

Meanwhile, Westmeath GAA vice-chairman Donie Malone has set himself an ambitious ‘Walk 4, Every 4 for 48’ target for Easter weekend.

Donie plans to walk 4km every four hours for 48 hours starting on Good Friday morning at 6am and will finish at 6am on Easter Sunday. He will use different locations within 5km of his home for the challenging adventure. The Caulry man has several sponsors lined up to support his dedication and won't refuse any additional offers of support!

A number of clubs are planning to organise 'Dawn to Dusk' challenges on their club walking tracks for Easter weekend, which looks like it will be an extravaganza of exercise and fundraising in Westmeath.

The committee responsible for managing this project has reacted to the enthusiastic support for the 'Movathon' by making available some very attractive prizes for those who participate and donate. Each €5 donation will receive one ticket for the draw.

Jack Cooney has offered a very special prize. Jack and his management team will conduct a full day coaching training session for any club anywhere in Ireland for the winner. The individual drawn in the ‘Lucky Dip’ will nominate the club of his or her choice.

Other prizes include the following:

*Three months membership (for two) in Wolfhound Fitness donated by Joe and Katie Nangle;

*A pair of All-Ireland hurling final tickets;

*A pair of All-Ireland football final tickets;

*A pair of All-Ireland ladies’ football final tickets;

*A pair of All-Ireland camogie final tickets;

*A signed Westmeath camogie jersey;

*A signed Westmeath ladies’ football jersey;

*A signed Westmeath hurling jersey;

*A signed Westmeath football jersey;

*Annual passes for Westmeath club championship games (tickets and passes are for 2021 if attendances are permitted - if not, they will be for 2022).

The GoFundMe page set up specifically to support this venture can also be found here - https://gofund.me/814e69c2 - or by going to the official Westmeath GAA Facebook page.

Those taking part are requested to send in pictures to lakecountychallenge@gmail.com and to use the hashtag #lakecountychallenge and #westmeathgaaofficial when posting on their own social media platforms.