Donegal’s 1992 All-Ireland winning footballers will mark the 20th anniversary of their magnificent triumph by staging a charity banquet on Saturday, August 18th, in the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town.
Details of the event were announced at a launch in the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar last evening. The three charities who will benefit from the banquet are the Donegal Hospice, Donegal Living Links and the Alzheimer Society Donegal branch.
Speaking at the launch, Tony Boyle, who came up with the idea with former playing colleagues, Donal Reid and Joyce McMullan, said the initial intention was to meet up for a social gathering.
“It’s an opportunity for us to get together after 20 years. Most of the guys have children who weren’t about 20 years ago. We’re planning to have a meet and greet session earlier in the day. Michael O Muircheartaigh will be our host and the Sam Maguire will be there,” he said.
Joyce McMullan said that when they decided to organise a function to mark the 20th anniversary, they thought it would be nice to do something to help the less well off in society.
“All of us here have been affected in some way by sickness or ill health,” he said.
“The work begins from here to make the function a success. We want to get the word out and we want go get the tickets sold.”
Patricia Wilson of Living Links, said that Living Links might not be as well known as the other charities. The group was set up in 2008 and she recently took on the role recently of PRO. The group helps families who are bereaved by suicide.
“Our main aim is to train volunteers to help those who have been bereaved by suicide,” she explained, adding that suicide still isn’t a subject that is talked about a lot.
Donegal Hospice representative, Grace Boyle, said she was delighted to be associated with the event and to be involved with the other charities.
“We are in a position now where we provide up to 20 per cent of the running costs of the Hospice which amounts to around 650,000 euro a year and this is paid off every quarter,” she said.
Alastair McKinney, from the Donegal branch of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, recalled the great atmosphere around the county when Donegal won their only Al-Ireland title in 1992. He spoke of the importance of the supporters to the team back then, and stressed that the support for families who have members with Alzheimer’s was extremely important.
“We provide 75,000 hours of care every year and have to raise 200,000 euro to do that. We are helping about 200 families, but there are 2,000 families who need out support. In 25 years time, that will increase to 5,000 families,” he said.
MC for the launch, Charlie Collins of Highland Radio, said that charities are getting things tight because of the current financial climate.
“The idea of all the players coming together again after 20 years was fantastic. What happened in 1992 will never be forgotten for many reasons. It’s never happened before and it has never happened since. It was a huge occasion,” he commented.
Lending his support to the event, Donegal County Board Chairman, PJ McGowan, thanked and commended Tony, Joyce and Donal for their initiative.
“It’s great that they are marking such an event and at the same helping local charities. I am aware of the work all three charities carry out, particularly Living Links. 1992 was a memorable year and one never to be forgotten. The first win is always something special and looking at some of the lads in the room this evening, they have all stood the test of time very, very well.”
The county chairman assured the organizers of the full support of the board as the clock ticks down to the big weekend in August.
“I’m looking forward to enjoying a fabulous occasion,” he added.
Tickets for the banquet are available from the Abbey Hotel.