Republic of Ireland and Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given was the guest of honour as Drumoghill FC officially opened their newly developed playing surface at the Moss on Sunday.
Given was the star attraction on a memorable day for the Donegal League club, who are this year celebrating their 90th year in existence. Kieran O’Donnell and honorary president Seamus Neely, men who have devoted their lives to their local club in a variety of roles, were in tears by the end of the opening, which also saw a friendly match between Drumoghill and Finn Harps.
“Thanks very much to the big crowd for coming along,” O’Donnell said.
“To all the politicans that gave us their support down through the years, thank you very much, and the county manager.
“On behalf of the club, it takes a lot of help, and we have a good community here and a good committee to run a club and hopefully it will go from strength to strength.
Gary Neely was the master of ceremonies in front of a healthy crowd, while his father Seamus gave a brief history of the club, who first joined the Donegal League in 1975.
The plans for the redevelopment were discussed initially in 2006 and with O’Donnell giving plenty of hours to research the project, by 2012 Drumoghill secured finding from the National Sports Council to get their project underway. They secured €41,000 from the department and then a further €16,000 from the local authority, Donegal County Council.
Fr Martin Cunningham gave a blessing to get proceedings underway, while Ciaran Brogan, the new mayor of Donegal, Donegal north-east TD Charlie McConalogue and Gerry McMonagle, chairman of the Letterkenny Municipal District Council passed on their well-wishes. Local soccer official Dessie Kelly and Jimmy Haughey of the Donegal League also spoke.
In the match that followed, Harps triumphed by three goals to one.
Ollie Horgan’s experimental team went ahead on 37 minutes when Nathan Boyle was on target. Drumoghill levelled with an own goal after Terence Shiels’ corner.
Harps re-took the lead on 72 minutes when Gary McGuigan fired home from just inside the box and made it 3-1 on 84 minutes when second half sub Garbhan Friel capitalised on some poor defending to score.