One local Gaoth Dobhair based garda has inspired his colleagues and locals to get fit while simultaneously raising vital funds for local charities.
The initiative will see a sevens mixed soccer competition for males who are over the age of forty and females who are aged over thirty from Cloughaneely, Gaoth Dobhair and the Rosses play a number of friendly games with gardaí while raising money for local charities.
Garda Rónán Steede came up with the initiative when he was stationed in Letterfrack, Connemara. Gda. Steede was training the GMIT team when he was approached by locals who wished to use the new astro-turf pitch in the village.
“People thought that they had to be part of a team to play but that wasn’t the case,” Gda. Steede said.
People derived great enjoyment from the sport and under the competent direction of Gda. Steede six teams were established and each year they successfully raised thousands of euro for local beneficiaries.
The concept is one that is hoped to reap similar dividend in the area where Gda. Steede is presently stationed.
On Friday night, registration took place at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in Gaoth Dobhair. A steady stream of locals signed their name on the dotted line, eager to be given the opportunity of getting their football boots on and enjoying a few friendly games with local gardaí in a positive sporting spirit.
The idea had to be initially run by both Sergeant John Joe McClafferty and Superintendent David Kelly. Both men viewed the concept favourably.
Sergeant John Joe McClafferty said: “It’s a good way for local people and the gardaí to get to know eachother in a friendly and sporting atmosphere. I relayed the initiative to the superintendent and he got on board.”
Superintendent David Kelly said that the sporting initiative was one that would benefit the local community by raising funds for local causes.
Superintendent Kelly said: “It will increase interaction between gardaí and the local community and it is positive that the initiative will raise funds for local charities.”
John Coll of Gweedore Celtic said that when Gda. Steede approached him with the idea he was delighted to come on board. Mr. Coll said that following his meeting with Gda. Steede many local organisations said that they were happy to take part.
“We agreed to run the first year on the Screabán on the Derrybeg Industrial estate in Gaoth Dobhair,” Mr. Coll said.
Over fifty people had registered their intention to play on Friday night and this number could grow when people attend the initial matches.
Pól McGee of Gweedore United said that the idea was one that could greatly benefit the community. He said that all the clubs were lending their support to the initiative and that the series of sporting events would benefit the community and the individuals themselves.
Gda. Steede is hoping that all cups will be sourced at local level.
Games will take place on Sunday evening for six weeks with the competition starting on Sunday January 31st.
Pictured: Seated: Pól McGee, (Gweedore United), Superintendent David Kelly and Shaun Gallagher (CLG Ghaoth Dobhair). Back: Brian Coyle (Gweedore Celtic), Garda Rónán Steede, Johnny Coll (Gweedore Celtic), Fiona McEntee (Gweedore Celtic) and Sergeant John Joe McClafferty.