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Centre of Excellence: Harkin urges support; sign up here NOW

The lay-out of the proposed Centre of Excellence in Convoy.

BY CHRIS MCNULTY

DANNY Harkin has urged clubs in Donegal to stand square behind the drive to raise €100,000 for the Centre of Excellence project, a sum which is needed by the end of this month to enable a drawdown of a €250,000 grant from Croke Park.

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Donegal must provide the matching funding to get the go-ahead from GAA headquarters for the €250,000 and the target of €100,000 must be reached by May’s end.

The drive to find 200 people to contribute €500 each to the project is being led by former county chairman Danny Harkin. The promotional video was shown to Tuesday’s meeting and Development Officer Michael McMenamin gave a breakdown of the work already done and what was needed financially to continue the development, which is situated just outside Convoy.

“Great progress has been made in Convoy and it is very impressive. Great credit goes to everyone who was involved in getting it to where it is. Now, we need to take it to the next level. It is not a case of whether we can or we can’t – it is a case of us having to, plain and simple,” said Harkin in a rallying call to county committee in Ballybofey.

“We have a very good and commited finance committee in place. The one big problem is the time limit. There is €100,000 to be raised by the end of May.  The money from Croke Park is on the table, but we need to keep up our side of the bargain which will take us to the next phase of the development.

“We should move heaven and earth to take up what is a very generous offer that is still on the table.

“When it is broken down it doesn’t seem as bad. We have 40 clubs in the county and all we are asking for is four or five people to come up with €500 each. With the help of the finance committee I am sure that we can achieve the €100,000. This would be a massive development.

“We acknwledge that it is a serious commitment, but we have tried to be as reasonable as possible. People are under a lot of pressure, but our function isn’t to put pressure on people or to embarrass anyone.

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“This is for the generations to come, to build on the foundations that we have and the legacy we have received from so many people who have gone before us.”

Judge Sean McBride, a native of Inishowen, is also involved in the drive and he has a meeting organised to try and source Donegal people in the Cavan/Monaghan area next Thursday night.

County Treasurer Grace Boyle echoed Mr Harkin’s calls.

“At the minute, the site is no use to us, but we need to get this finished and ready for use,” she said. “At the minute, we are paying fees to train our minors, our seniors and our hurlers every week. We need something proper in place her.”

Killybegs delegate Ed Byrne, who had spoken of his concerns about the development initially, also urged clubs and delegates to row in behind the drive. He said: “I didn’t realise how much we were paying to train teams until recently. I encourage people to support this and urge people to try and find at least one person to donate €500. It really is worth doing – and that’s from someone who was probably the most critical of it in the first place.”

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