LEGENDARY DONEGAL soccer figure Fr Michael Sweeney performed the official sod turning at the Donegal League’s redevelopment work at The Diamond Park, Ballyare this afternoon.
Fr Sweeney, one of the founder members of the League in 1971 and an honorary President of the Donegal League, was instrumental in the purchase of the land at Ballyare in 1983.
The former Fanad United manager was joined by Pauline Strain, wife of the late former Donegal League official Hugh Strain, for the ceremony this afternoon.
Former Donegal League Chairman Joe Duffy and former Donegal League secretary Dessie Kelly were also in attendance with members of the current executive.
The redevelopment work is being carried out by William Coyle from Pitch Dimensions and the €78,000 cost is being funded solely by the League’s own finances.
The new pitch will be ready in time for the start of the 2017/18 season.
“It seems like a long time ago that I bought this pitch,” Fr Sweeney said.[adrotate group=”70″]
“The deal was done at the mart in Falcarragh! I came looking for a ground from the owner, Ronan Sweeney, and he said there was no way he was going to part with it.
“It was a fortnight later when I met him at the mart and we did a deal to purchase this field, six acres, for £9,000.”
Fr Sweeney paid tribute to Richie Kelly, whose work brought the first prefabs to the venue in the early years before the existing clubhouse and dressing rooms were added.[adrotate group=”46″]
The Donegal League Vice Chairman, Nigel Ferry, has been spearheading the development and he spoke of the foresight of his predecessors, like Fr Sweeney, who gave the League a home at The Diamond Park and thanked the groundsman at The Diamond Park, Eunan Doherty.
“Hopefully this is the start of a new era for the League,” said the League Chairman John Joe McCafferty. “A lot of men have done an awful lot of work over the years and we’re just carrying on that work.”
Dessie Kelly added: “June 6th 2016 is a special day for the Donegal League. It is the start of another chapter here. Ballyare is a place that has always been close to my heart and I’m delighted to be here for this occasion and wish the people involved in the League many more years of memories here.”[adrotate group=”43″] Tags: