Back in the 2015 day, CLG Charn Domhnaigh’s Paddy ‘Mooney’ McLaughlin told Gaelscéalaí Inis Eoghain a highly regarded sports journalist had described the then new Pairc UÍ Dhochartaigh as the “ideal centre of excellence in Donegal.”
Paddy recalled: “CLG Charn Domhnaigh moved to Foden in 2006. We have a fantastic 13 acre site with a floodlit pitch; a main pitch that is bigger than Croke Park and is playable all year, due to the extra drainage the club incorporated into its construction; a stand which can accommodate 100 people; and a beautiful clubhouse. Above all Pairc UÍ Dhochartaigh is a safe place, where growing numbers of children are participating in football and hurling.”
Originally a hurling club, originally named Cuchullain's and originally situated in Millbrae, beside Kelly's Service Station, CLG Charn Domhnaigh has recently started planning for next year’s Centenary.
The club was founded by James Reid, a Drumkeen native who taught in Craigtown School in the Parish. Other club stalwarts were, Michael F O'Doherty, who gave his name to the club’s grounds; John Denney, an agricultural adviser from Cavan; J Kirwan of the National Bank: the Reverend D Reid; and Joe Lynch. CLG Charn Domhnaigh is testament to the perseverance and dedication of clubmen such as Tom Farren and Tom McBrearty, down the years.
Building on those solid foundations, Annette Canny, CLG Charn Domhnaigh’s PRO got involved in the club through the involvement of her children and her husband, club stalwart, Kieran Canny.
Annette said: “We are now seeing the benefit of the ‘new’ hall. We were fit train in it all this winter past. The majority of the youngsters finished in December and lot of them were back out in mid-January because the hall was there.
“We were nearly fighting for spaces in it in January because we have four codes in the club. We have: men’s football, ladies’ football, camogie and hurling and we have teams from U6 right up to senior in all of those codes, so you have a lot of people training every evening and you are trying to get the younger ones in at the earlier time, but then you’re conscious there are coaches working too. Trying to manage that calendar was ‘interesting’ in January, everyone was shouting for times and you were trying to slot everybody in and then, just suddenly, the gates were closed.
“At the minute, we have a WhatsApp group, set up by our Health and Wellbeing Officer, Aideen McLaughlin, our Lotto Co-ordinator, Paul McDaid, and Aideen’s husband, Con.
“Together they have developed a group of volunteers. Each day they are in contact with the local SuperValu and G and S’s, for anyone who is cocooning or self-isolating. About 4.30 every afternoon, a shout out goes into this group, ‘We have deliveries in these areas, can anyone help?’ And the volunteers respond, from Malin Head right through to Urris, Culdaff. There are 23 people in the group and in the past five weeks, they have done more than 200 deliveries,” said Annette with evident pride.
CLG Charn Domhnaigh is also partnering with Spraoi agus Spórt and other local sporting groups on the Cineál Project.
Anyone can avail of the Cineál Project by calling 074 937 3303 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cineál Project can take grocery orders, organise delivery from supermarkets or other local businesses, provide arts and crafts ideas or ideas for exercise, print school resources; and, it is also available just to have a chat.
Annette said CLG Charn Domhnaigh’s Cultural Officer, Caroline McLaughlin was also hard at work during the lockdown.
She said: “Caroline is doing a lot of online posting around Irish to encourage us all. She is putting up words and phrases people can use with their children. In the lead up to Easter she also posted lots of activities for the younger members of the club to do, including colouring and again these were based around the Irish language.
“We also did a Scór challenge, another one of Caroline’s ideas. We would have good, strong Scór involvement in CLG Charn Domhnaigh, so Caroline contacted the mothers of the young people who would have been involved in Scór and asked them to video the incredibly talented young people performing and then nominating the next person. You can see on out Facebook page, we had people singing, dancing, anything that was a bit of fun and then they nominated their best friend.
“Caroline has also contacted the different coaches with Irish words and the coaches have asked the girls and boys to do pieces of art around those words. The idea is that, whenever we are back in Foden again, we will be able to decorate the sports’ hall with the art.
“Not to be left out, the U8s are singing their Irish songs and we are planning to compile a video to post up. We are really trying to keep everybody’s morale up,” said Annette.
The CLG Charn Domhnaigh coaches are also passing on the wee drills the county players are doing to the various ages groups.
A delighted Annette said: “Padraig Doherty of the county hurling team has been posting different football and hurling challenges and got the youngsters to video themselves doing them. Padraig runs a business, PDG Gloves, which does gloves and socks, and he sponsored prizes for U10s, U16s and Seniors, with an extra prize for anybody who did both challenges.
“The coaches are also posting wee drills and the youngsters are sending their scores back and videos back in. The wanes love it because they are being videoed and they are wondering what did so and so get. It’s a good natured challenge and is keeping the wanes interested and active,” said Annette.
Joanne McKinney, CLG Charn Domhnaigh’s Chairperson mused on where the club’s ‘future’ would begin. Autumn or spring?
She added: “We had just put new management in place for our senior team and we had great hopes that was going to work out.
“The last few years has been a struggle with player unavailability and different things. We really needed to get our senior team up where they belonged, that is one of the main things we would have liked to have got started this year.
“It’s not going to be a one year thing, it’s a work in progress. We really had hoped March would have been the first step for that but it’s looking like it could be March 2021 at this stage.
“Our underage is flying, especially the boys’ side of it. We have a lot of exceptionally good wee players there and we need to get our senior team back up on the top tier. We have the players to do it, it’s just a matter of making it happen,” said a determined Joanne.
CLG Charn Domhnaigh is currently in Junior and Joanne’s goal within two years to see the club in and around the middle of Intermediate.
Joanne said: “We need to get out of Junior, especially for the core of young people coming up. We have extremely talented fellas and keeping them is crucial.
“Our Senior Ladies had, unfortunately, taken a backwards step but again, with new management coming in last year has been working extremely hard with a group of very young girls who are playing senior football. The coach, Andy Barr, has a great attitude as regards the team and what needs to be done. They had been working over the winter on a light programme and there were new players in there, Denise McElhinney came back from Australia and she was going to play for CLG Charn Domhnaigh. That was a big boost for the team.
“It will be great to get them up a few steps on the table. They were in the top tier and that was very tough because we lost a lot of players. In a couple of years, we lost the bulk of the team and you were looking at very young girls playing against the top level in the county.
“They are slowly building back up again and I would like to think that within two years the girls are going to be back up again. We have the players at CLG Charn Domhnaigh. It is just a question of keeping it together and making it work. Within two years, I would like to see the women and the men back up at least at Intermediate level,” said Joanne, an ambitious and focussed Chairperson.
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