Funding Appeal for GAA Pitch Changing Room Facilities 2023

St Raphael’s College has been a part of the Loughrea and East Galway community for 106 years. With a focus on education, sport, and art, the school has proudly prepared the youth of the Loughrea hinterland with excellent education and the ability to discover and nurture each individuals’ skills and talents.

In 2020, the school opened its most significant extension in the history of school. In 2022, this was followed by an extension of a further state-of-the-art 8 classrooms. In 2021, after many years of trying, the school opened its new hurling pitch, filling a tremendous need within the school environs.

Acute Requirement for Changing Rooms

Unfortunately, while the school extensions (which included a new school gymnasium), and the hurling pitch, were fully funded by the Department of Education, the school was not provided with the funds to build changing rooms for GAA Sports. The school has appealed repeatedly to the Dept of Education to have what it considered these essential facilities built to no avail.

Current Solution

Whenever the school has a home game, the school team togs out in the Gymnasium Changing Rooms, if they are available. They are however not of the size required for two full GAA panels with teachers and training staff. Because of this, the storage of the players must be left on racks in the hallway outside of the gymnasium (See Figure 1).

For the away team, what is provided is a former sea container which has built in seats. There are no showers, toilets, or appropriate storing space for the visiting teams and their support. This is an embarrassing reality for not only St Raphael’s School but also for the local regional Loughrea community from which St Raphael’s draws its students. (See Figure 2).

Through the year, and not least because of the very welcome increasing popularity of Camogie and Ladies GAA Football, the situation has come about that where back-to-back matches have been organised, there are no changing facilities available for the second home and visiting teams. In this situation, the changing of playing gear for games must take place in school toilets for St Raphael’s students and in the transport buses with respect to the visiting teams. This situation we believe is wholly unacceptable and needs to be remedied as soon as possible.

Figure 1: Hallway Storage of GAA Gear
Figure 2(a): Changing Facility for Away Teams
Figure 2(b) Changing Facility for Away Teams

Proposed Solution

With the encouragement of a small number St Raphael’s Alumni and school supporters, the Principal of St Raphael’s College, Mr Paul Cafferky and Deputy Principal Sean Parr were encouraged to draft plans for the building of new state of the art changing rooms for the use of St Raphael’s and its visiting guests.

The cost of the facility will be €75,000 and we are hoping that these funds will be raised through a combination of contributions from St Raphael’s Alumni, Friends of St Raphael’s, and through the fund-raising efforts of the St Raphael’s Parent’s Association.

The designs for the facilities have been completed by Cathal Spellman & Co of Loughrea. (See Figure 3). They include two changing rooms with showers & toilets, and also a central gear storage space. A location for the changing room facilities has been identified and once the final planning documents are reviewed and approved, and the School governance gives the go-ahead, formal planning permission will be submitted to Galway County Council. (See Figures 4 and 5). All local County Councillors have been made aware of these plans and are enthusiastically supportive.

Figure, 3: Plans for St Raphael’s Changing Rooms
Figure 4: Proposed location for the new St Raphael’s GAA Sports Changing Rooms
Figure 5: Map of Current St Raphael’s College and proposed location for new Changing Rooms

Funding Requirements.

St Raphael’s College Management have sought responses to the tender to develop the planned facilities and an estimated cost of €200,000 has been identified.

It is hoped that these funds can be raised through Alumni donations.

Any funds given will be honored in a permanent display within the new Dressing Rooms. Businesses and Individuals who contribute will have their names (and logos where appropriate) listed on a “Wall of Honour” The funds can be contributed at various different levels. This method of fundraising for buildings has proved successful in a number of local initiatives.

We are conscious that giving options should be varied and propose the following:

Gold Sponsors: Contributions of €2,500.


Contribution of €2,500 as a once-off payment or a commitment of €500 per annum for 5 years.

Silver Sponsors: Contributions of €1,000.


Contributions of €1,000 as a once-off payment or a commitment of €200 per annum for 5 years.

Bronze Sponsors: Contributions of €500.


Contributions of €500 as a once-off payment or a commitment of €100 per annum for 5 years.

We are open to receiving Major Donations above the amounts suggested above. If interested, please contact or your Class Secretary or Class Representative.

Corporate Donations and Major Gifts

We greatly welcome the support of businesses with local Loughrea and East Galway connections to contribute to our campaign by means of Corporate Donations. We are seeking contributions of €5,000 from 10 businesses for this purpose.

Individuals who are not St Raphael Alumni but Friends of St Raphael’s College are also welcome to contribute.

It may also be in the gift of benefactors to contribute amounts above that outlined below. Should this be the case, we would welcome to engage on any discussion on the same.

Campaign Targets.

Before the end of 2023, we are hoping to raise funds through the following:


  • Gold: €2,500 X 10 = €25,000
    Silver: €1,000 X 25 = €25,000
    Bronze: €500 X 100 – €50,000Alumni Fund Raising = €100,000Corporate & Major Gift DonationsCorporate Donations: €5,000 X 15 = €75,000

    Major Gifts: €5,000 x 5 = €25,000

    Total Fund-Raising Target = €200,000


We sincerely ask you to support the building of new changing rooms for GAA Sports at St Raphael’s College, Loughrea. To compete as equals among the schools of County Galway and elsewhere, our students need modern facilities.

When we invite young people to our school in Loughrea, we should be proud of how we welcome them and make sure that the quality of facility that awaits them speaks well of our school, its staff, its students, and the Loughrea community and its hinterland as a whole.

Should you have any questions with respect to the information above, or this initiative in general, or would like to volunteer your time and assistance, please do get in contact at