A night of celebration and footballing memories

Fr. Michael Sweeney honoured at appreciation event

Diarmaid Doherty

Reporter:

Diarmaid Doherty

A night of celebration and footballing memories

Fr. Michael Sweeney pictured at Friday night's event with Paul Anthony McFadden and Denis McBride.

It was a night of nostalgia, footballing memories and some wonderful stories as Fr. Michael Sweeney was rightfully honoured for his contribution to the game in Donegal on Friday night.

Over 200 guests attended the Night of Appreciation in Letterkenny’s Silver Tassie Hotel where Fr. Mick, who has played such an important part in the lives of so many, was guest of honour.

Much has already been made of the role Fr. Mick played in the success enjoyed by teams representing PCC Falcarragh and Fanad United down through the years.

But he has been more than just a football manager. He has been a mentor and friend, a guiding light and a man whose footballing ideals were way ahead of their time.

He was an administrator too - and played a key role in the establishment of organised football in the county as a founding member of the Donegal League back in 1971.

Friday night’s event heard how many years later, he purchased a field at a mart - the site would become the home of the Donegal League’s headquarters at Ballyare.

Players from some of the great PCC Falcarragh and Fanad United sides from over the years gathered for the celebration - among them Charlie McGeever who travelled up from Tipperary and goalkeeper, Martin Coyle, now based in London. Martin was part of the 1982 All Ireland winning team from PCC Falcarragh and just to underline the popularity of Fr. Mick, every member of that squad were in attendance on Friday night, 34 years on from their memorable win.

A number of presentations were made to Fr. Mick and among the many guests who said a few words were his good friend and colleague, Fr. Sean Gallagher, former Finn Harps captains Jim Sheridan and Eddie McGinley (who was also part of some of the great Fanad United sides), Charlie McGeever, sports broadcaster Richie Kelly and Fanad United chairman, Martin McConigley. Presentations were also made by Nigel Ferry on behalf of the Donegal League and Johnny McClafferty, chairman of the Ulster Senior League.