Clubs doing their bit to combat the isolation of COVID-19

Aodh Ruadh to honour club legends

THE Aodh Ruadh club in Donegal will this weekend honour two of their club legends, Billy Finn and John Larkin.

In previous years the pair have been remembered through the Billy Finn-John Larkin U-14 Hurling tournament, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, they will be honoured in another way this weekend.

From 9am on Friday until 9am on Monday, hurlers, young and old, club members, friends and family will be asked to compete in the first-ever Billy Finn-John Larkin 1000km Challenge.

Those who want to take part will be asked to run, walk or even crawl to help the organisers hit the target distance.

The money raised will help the Irish Wheelchair Association Donegal Branch, Liquid Therapy, Donegal Alzheimer’s Society and the Patients Comfort Fund Sheil Hospital.

John Rooney, the main orgnaiser of the event, said that they were still determined to remember the pair who passed away in 2017 despite the current situation.

They were tireless workers for hurling in Aodh Ruadh and great workers for the Ballyshannon community,” he said. “They were former reps on the Ulster Hurling Board too.

Unfortunately this year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we can’t have the tournament but we are honouring their memory in another way.”

If you would like to support the event, visit

Owen Roes smash

sunrise to sunset target

LAST Saturday, north Tyrone club Owen Roes completed a hugely successful sunrise to sunset challenge.

The task, which was all done in conjunction with social distancing guidelines, meant that the adult footballers of the club started doing laps of Moorlough at sunrise on Saturday morning, continuing in 5km turns until sunset. In total 46 runners took place racking up around 230km during the day.

Galvin Early, one of the event coordinators, said that he was delighted with how it went.

We are totally blown away by the community response to our event,” he said.

The idea was borne out of the fact that our seniors were training away on their own with no football on the horizon while many of their family members were getting up to work every day in the medical and caring professions. The boys wanted to help and that’s how the idea started.

We launched the event about two weeks or so before the actual run date, and it just kind of took off. Our senior footballer, Cathal McShane, who was involved in the organising of the run as well, put some of his Tyrone gear up as a prize for anyone who made a donation and subsequent donations came in from Ronan McNamee, James Gallagher and Peak Gym in Strabane.

However it was a funny, self-depreciating video by another of our senior footballers, namely ‘Big Bad Baz’ McDaid, that really gave traction to the our appeal on social media.

Our target was £2000, and it took a life of its own after Cathal and Barry’s videos. By Thursday morning we went to £8500.”

Owen Roes used social media platforms to give their event a real live feel with regular updates being posted throughout the week from Owen Roes fans and supporters from around the globe. Messages also arrived from members who were on the frontline via the caring and medical sector.

From Friday onward we were getting inundated with phone calls and messages from people who are not tech savvy. Older people and those who were isolated really wanted to help and were arranging for cash donations via relatives that could then go into the total,” Early continued.

The whole process was to help charities but one thing we didn’t envisage was how much the community, and ourselves I suppose, got a buzz from the event.”

Amazingly, when the last runner came home donations had surpassed £20,000 – ten times the original target.

The raised funds will go to five organisations – Strabane Foodbank, Covid wards in Altnagelvin, AWARE NI, Dennet Interchange meals on wheels and speech and language therapy in Altnagelvin.

Saval’s Damien scaling Everest – one step at a time

SAVAL member Damien Hillen is taking on the Everest challenge in order to raise funds during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The club’s u-14 girls coach underwent major heart surgery 12 months ago, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking on the challenge to secure donations for Chest, Heart & Stroke and for the development of a new community walkway.

Everest, the highest peak on earth, sits 8,848 metres in the clouds and Damien is planning to reach that height by climbing up and back down the five steps in the garden – a total of 104,094 steps.

Damien aims to have the task completed by May 31, although he will have to schedule it alongside the marathon he is walking every week in his garden during lockdown!

Saval are asking as many people as possible to get involved in the ‘Saval Everest Challenge’ by joining Damien on his climb.

It will involve walking 104,094 steps on stairs or steps or hills, or walking 80km in all, during May.

The community walkway will be situated in Saval and the Down club are aiming to get a minimum of 100 people or families involved and have asked everyone to pledge £50 (or more if they wish) to take up the challenge,

To donate you can contact Jimmy McAloon on 07928671816 or visit

Ederney ladies still finding a way to train together

THE Ederney ladies in county Fermanagh have released a video of their social-distancing compliant training.

From Boa Island to Lack, from Drumskinny to Enniskillen, from the bog to the sewing machine, to Armagh and back again to St Joseph’s Park – the O’Neill’s ball was flung around between the different players.

Check out the club’s Facebook page to watch the clip.

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