The 2014 Irish Open proved a major hit in Cork with more than 100,000 spectators visiting Fota Island Resort, and it also left a lasting legacy in the region with the tournament raising €50,000 for its Official Charity, Mercy Hospital Foundation and its Kids + Teens Appeal.
A variety of fundraising initiatives across the week brought in half of the recently launched Appeal’s six-figure target to assist crucial areas of The Mercy Hospital’s paediatric services.
The week began with 48 of the world’s best golfers donating their Pro-Am appearance fee to the Official Charity to kick start the fundraising campaign to the tune of €12,000 and a strong statement of support from the players themselves to the local cause.
Then during the tournament rounds proper the largest fund-raising initiative of the week, Irish Open Birdie Pledge, saw the Tour Players Foundation (TPF) and Official Supplier, Barry’s Tea, donating funds for each birdie, eagle and albatross made by Mikko Ilonen and his fellow professionals during the four tournament rounds.
With a total of 1453 birdies and 12 eagles plus a €1000 donation from Official Sponsor, BAM Construction the Irish Open Birdie Pledge raised a total of €23,155 for the Kids + Teens Appeal.
An additional €4,983 raised through donations made via sales of the Official Draw Sheet and Programme and a further €4,500 was raised by the charity themselves on the Mercy Hospital Foundation Exhibition Stand and Prize Draw.
Finally, the European Tour and Irish Open added a further donation to ensure that the grand total €50,000 for important areas of The Mercy Hospital’s paediatric services, including redevelopment of the Children’s Leukaemia Unit, POONS Service, a mobile nursing service that administers treatment to children and young people undergoing cancer treatment in the child’s own home and Bereavement counselling, support and education for children effected by the death of a parent or sibling.
As well as the fundraising and exposure the Mercy Hospital Foundation and their Appeal, three children were invited visit to the Irish Open and given a VIP experience and behind the scenes tour of the player areas.
Luke McCabe, Cian Olden and Caoimhe Phelan met a number of players including European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley, Shane Lowry and title contender Gareth Maybin, took a tour of the Players lounge, putting green and driving range and tried golf themselves in the CGI golf activity zone before watching the action.
Micheál Sheridan, CEO, Mercy Hospital Foundation, said: “The Mercy Hospital Foundation is extremely privileged to have been appointed the Official Charity of this year’s Irish Open. We are extremely grateful to the European Tour and its charitable arm the Tour Players Foundation for all their support before, during and after the Championship here in Cork.
“The total of €50,000 surpasses our expectations and we are thrilled to be able to provide critical peadiatric services through our Kids & Teens Appeal with the funds raised through the Irish Open. A heartfelt Mercy thank you to everyone involved.”
David Park, Charity Executive for the European Tour, added: “We are extremely pleased to be able to announce that €50,000 was raised by the tournament for Mercy’s Kids + Teens Appeal. It’s the European Tour’s goal through the Tour Players Foundation to ‘Change Children’s Lives Through Golf’, so to get Mercy to the half way mark of their appeal through their involvement at Fota Island is an achievement that everyone involved could be very proud of. Thank you to everyone from our players to Suppliers & Sponsors to Spectators.
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