Donegal have enthralled us all with their style of play that has
brought them all the way to this year's All-Ireland final. Their
fitness levels have abolished the myth that amateur sports people
can only reach a certain level.
On Sunday, September 23rd, the Ulster champions will take on Mayo
in the 2012 showpiece final. No stone has been left unturned in
their preparations for this year's campaign, both on and off the
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness and his players maybe taking all
the plaudits on the field, but there are many people off the field,
whose work ethic, match that of the footballers. One such person
is former county board chairman and Treasurer Danny Harkin, who
since last April has been chairman of the Donegal GAA supporters
group, Club Tir Chonaill.
Danny's task, along with his hard working committee was to raise
funding of €125,000 in order to receive funding of €250,000
from Croke Park for the further development of the county's Centre
of Excellence in Convoy.
In the current economic climate, this may seem like an impossible
task, but not for this group as they set about the task as Jim McGuinness
would when planning for any match, meticulously. The main fundraising
drive was to ask for donations from Donegal people that could be
paid in one lump sum, or in instalments and Danny admitted to hoganstand.com
that the reaction has been incredible.
We have raised over the €125,000 needed in just four
months, which is great. The Donegal people have really got behind
us even in these difficult times. The reaction has been brilliant,
we've even had people ringing us up asking is to come collect the
money, revealed Danny.
We met with Donegal people in Dublin and they have been very
generous towards as have people in the UK and U.S and we would like
to thank them all for their support. There is a feel good factor
in the county at the moment, due to the success of the senior footballers
and hopefully we will be celebrating on All-Ireland final day. An
incentive that we brought in was anyone who made a donation had
the option of buying two tickets for the All-Ireland final and this
has been received with great encouragement.
Danny stated that two pitches are already developed at the Centre
of Excellence, which will be in use over the coming months, while
he admitted that there was still a lot of finance to be raised to
complete the project.
The development will cost in the region of €3 million
and we hope to have it completed in the next two years. We have
two pitches ready for use and our next phase is to put in floodlights
and dressingrooms. There will be five pitches in total when it is
Getting back to the game and Danny predicts a very close contest
and he feels that Mayo will provide a stern test for McGuinness'
charges. Mayo play excellent football and always have done.
I certainly feel that it will be an open game. Donegal have added
an attacking flair to their style of football this year and it has
proven very successful. As Jim McGuinness said, they weren't out
to entertain last year, but certainly this year, everyone has got
behind them, including a lot of neutrals.
It may come as a surprise that Danny has a day job and he is employed
by Letterkenny based DM Waste, which was established 20 years ago.
DM Waste provide services to meet every waste, refuse and recycling
need from home refuse collection to industrial waste disposal.