The rugby revolution in and around the Twin Towns continues to gather momentum with the news that Sean Gallagher from RTE’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ is to become the honorary president of Finn Valley Rugby Club.
Gallagher, a native of Cavan, is one of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs and is founder and CEO of Ireland’s largest home technology company, Smarthomes. His father Dan originated in Killygordon and Gallagher still has close ties with the Finn Valley Area.
Whilst attending last month’s RBS Six Nations game between Ireland and France, Gallagher was approached by Patsy Gallen, who optimistically asked whether he would be interested in a position at Finn Valley Rugby Club.
Gallen’s son-in-law Paddy McMenamin, a coach at Finn Valley Rugby Club, takes up the story. He said: “Patsy was talking to Sean in Dublin and telling him what we are trying to do with Finn Valley Rugby Club and asked him would he be interested in taking up a role at the club.
“Sean, who has connections in the area and is a frequent visitor, said he would be delighted to help and it’s great to have him on board. Everyone knows him from the Dragons’ Den television programme and from our point of view he will be great help in terms of business guidance and he is well connected.
“He will be officially unveiled as honorary club president and will have his jacket presented in May. Before that, in April, he will be in Ballybofey to launch our ‘Adopt a Plot’ scheme.”
Finn Valley Rugby Club, who were founded in 2009, aim to open a new pitch at the Northern Business Park at Navenny in Ballybofey in August when the new season gets underway. At the minute there might be sheep grazing there, but over the course of the next few months there will be plenty of work conducted on the site.
A development in the region of E5,000 will see a pitch laid and dressing room facilities built. The ‘Adopt a Plot’ scheme is a fund-raising initiative that will enable individuals to purchase a two-year lease on one of the 660 1x10-metre strips on the pitch at a cost of E20 apiece. There will also be a prize draw with the top prize being E1,000.
Finn Valley Rugby Club men’s side are joining the Northern League and are currently developing a youth team. The club also has some 40 children playing at the Finn Valley Centre every Saturday morning at 10am.
New members are always welcome, as is the case for adult training at the same venue on Tuesday and Thursdays at 7.30pm. Women can also get involved as there are three Tag teams in operation, who frequently play in blitzes. A ladies team is in the pipeline.
“We are building up relationships with local schools and there is a recruitment drive for adults for the club,” McMenamin said. “It’s all about trying to build up an interest in rugby in the Twin Towns and things are progressing well at the minute but there’s plenty to do.”
For information on Finn Valley RC call Paddy McMenamin on 087 9702694