Club Donegal to be launched in London
Donegal GAA officials are to take to the skies in the coming weeks in a major fund-raising drive to fund the development of the county's new Centre of Excellence in Convoy.
Both county board chairman P.J. McGowan and Ulster Council representative Mick McGrath along with other leading officials are heading to London at the end of the month to launch the county's fund-raising initiative Club Donegal in the English capital.
"It is something we have talked about for some time and are finally getting down to doing," said Mick McGrath, who lived and had a business in London for a number of years and is co-ordinating the launch.
"There is a large Donegal population in and around London and there is a strong bond between these people and home and all things Donegal. They always follow what is happening back home with great interest and in particular and how the county and their own clubs teams are doing.
"I know from my contacts and from my trips to London that many of these people are willing and eager to support the GAA at home. And that is why we are launching Club Donegal in London. It will give those with a strong affinity and interest in Donegal an opportunity to make a contribution to the development of the Centre of Excellence. All the money collected will go towards the development of the Centre of Excellence.
"We are expecting a big crowd on the night I know from talking to people over there in recent weeks that there is a fair level of interest in the launch and quite a few people already have expressed an interest in getting involved in and joining Club Donegal."
"The Centre of Excellence is a very important project and is one of the biggest ever undertaken by the county and when it is completed we will have one of the best facilities in the country where all our county teams can train. But it is a costly project with a projected cost of the in region of €2.5 million euro when completed. We have already, between purchase and the early stages of development, spent in excess of €1.3 million euro and we are calling on Donegal people at home and abroad to support the project in whatever way they can."
The London launch is the first of a number of overseas initiatives geared at Donegal people abroad. Similar initiatives are also planned for other big Donegal centres of population like New York, Boston and Glasgow and a number of other cities in the U.K.
Donegal people living abroad who want to join the fund-raising initiative can do so on line by contacting the county secretary Aodh Mairtin O'Fearraigh on secretary.donegalgaa.ie or by contacting any of the board's officers.
The London launch is in the Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood, on Friday night week, January 28th, at 8.30pm and all Donegal folk living in London and the surrounding areas are invited to the launch.
The Centre of Excellence (county teams' training facility) will be made up of two full-sized sandbased floodlit pitches and dressing-rooms/clubrooms. It is also planned to move the county GAA office to the site and a 3G playing pitch is also planned for the site at some stage down the road.
The site, which is on the main road on the outskirts of Convoy, was purchased at the end of 2009 with the board taking possesion of the site in April of last year. The first phase of the development began in July last and a considerable amount of work has been done and it is hoped to have the two pitches sown out by May of this year with the pitches ready for use some time in 2012.