DONEGAL CO. FINAL: From Stoneybatter to Glenties, a big step for Naomh Conaill chairman David Kelch

Peter Campbell


Peter Campbell

DONEGAL CO. FINAL:  From Stoneybatter to Glenties, a big step for Naomh Conaill chairman David Kelch

Naomh Conaill chairman David Kelch (right) pictured with Kilcar chairman John Carr and Michael O'Donnell at the press launch

The chairman of Naomh Conaill is a very proud Dub. But he is equally proud to be involved with Naomh Conaill on county final day on Sunday next.
“It is a very proud day for me and for the club in general, to have the reserves and seniors. It is brilliant. It is the first time for us and hopefully we can get over the line in both of them.
“I’m originally from Stoneybatter in inner city Dublin and I moved up to Donegal in 2006 because the wife wanted to move home.
“I got involved in the GAA club in 2008 and took over as secretary for three years.
“I came in this year as chairman and I owe an awful lot to this club for integrating me into the community and I wanted to just give something back.”
When it was put to him that his arrival in Glenties has coincided with a big upsurge in their fortunes, he is very reluctant to take any credit.
“The hard work was put in by those before me. I’m just trying to help out as much as a I can. Actually, a big corner stone of the work was done by the senior manager’s father, Martin Regan snr. He brought up the minor teams that were there and this work has progressed on now with his son (Martin jnr.)”
As for his own background in the GAA, it came from following the Dubs.
“I would have just played in school. In inner city we wouldn’t have had the pitches. Our club would have been Owen Roe, but they’ve since merged with Plunketts, the Brogans’ club, so they have all moved up to the Navan Road.
“I played at school and went to all the Dublin matches and that’s where my love of the GAA came from. I can even remember the day before I moved to Donegal was the 2006 All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo. Dublin were six points up and they managed to throw it away.
When put to him that Dublin don’t do that now, he laughs. “They have learned their lesson,” said David, who paid tribute to the way Jim McGuinness masterminded the 2014 win against Dublin. “You have to hand it to him. He did his homework and he picked Dublin off very well.”
He is very happy with the way Naomh Conaill have progressed at all levels. “We can’t fault the underage structure at the moment. Our captain (Eoin Waide) is the manager of the U-16 team and they won the Southern Regional title on Tuesday night. And, in fact he is helped out by some of the other senior players. He has Aaron Thompson, Eoghan McGettigan and Charlie McGuinness from the Reserves. It is good to get the senior players back on board and give something back.”
Even though the club is spread out into Fintown, he is very happy to be involved. “It’s a job I’m privileged to have. We have a lot of strong personalities working in the club. It is all about developing the club for those that come after us. We are just there to provide the service for the parish of Inniskeel and Naomh Conaill,” said David, who says the club have won their fair share at all levels in recent times, but the big one is the senior championship.
“Winning a senior county title is a massive boost. We have the seniors there and we have the reserves there. There is only one slight problem on the day. Our ladies are out in Ulster at the exact same time.
“They have a very good team and they would have wanted to go to the county final,” said David.