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No stones unrolled as the Moss gets a makeover

Work is ongoing at the Moss. PHOTOS: DECLAN DOHERTY

Work is ongoing at the Moss. PHOTOS: DECLAN DOHERTY

BY LIAM PORTER

SITUATED on the main Letterkenny to Lifford Road, Drumoghill’s ground at the Moss is possibly one of the best-known pitches in Donegal.

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When the diggers rolled in over the summer and the field was torn up it was sure to attract the attention of hundreds of motorists passing by on one of the county’s busiest thoroughfares.

But, what exactly has been happening at the Moss?

According to club secretary Kevin Neely, the club had decided a while back to level and drain their pitch in an effort to allow scope for greater club development and the establishment of an underage structure at the club.

“The idea was to improve the pitch in terms of drainage and the playing surface so when the work is finished it will be moved slightly away from where it was. That did mean moving up into what was known as ‘the ferns’ where there was a lot of rock.”

Having extracted the rock, work has pressed on at pace over the past few months and the finished result will now see a slight boundary established around the main pitch.

In addition, the work will provide for the development of a 2nd pitch (adjacent to the main pitch), slightly smaller than the main pitch and ideal for training and schoolboy matches.

Work on the development has been ongoing all summer but work off the pitch has also been moving to raise the funds required for such a massive task.

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drumoghill210813dd06“We were lucky enough to be granted €41,000 from the National Lottery Grants last December but the work required will need a further €50,000 and we have been busy trying to gather that,” the club secretary added.

An event a month is how they are hoping the money will eventually all be raised, but Kevin says the community has been fantastic in their response to their efforts so far.

Club stalwart Kieran O’Donnell has again spearheaded much of the campaign and his part in ensuring the development has progressed as it has is hugely appreciated by all at the club.

“He has been instrumental in everything from organising the monthly events to sourcing materials and he has even done a lot of the labour himself. In simple terms, this wouldn’t have happened without him,” Kevin explained.

The example Kieran has set has also helped get the entire community behind the project.

“We see this development very much as a community development and I think the people of the local community have also realised that and have got behind us. One aspect of the finished field for instance will be the boundary around the pitch that will be available for locals to walk on, it’s not a running track but a boundary where they can walk in safety off the roads.”

In addition the development will allow Drumoghill FC achieve some of its own ambitions for the community, particularly in terms of developing a youth set-up at the club.

drumoghill210813dd03“As it stood there were times that our pitch could barely take one game a weekend never mind more than one so we never were really able to develop an underage structure or think about say having a girls team or a ladies team. However we are confident that when the work is done our grounds will be able to accommodate underage games and we will be able to provide football for the young people in our community.”

It is that ambition, plus the sight of work in progress that has excited and animated the community in Drumoghill and their fund raising efforts to date have been going extremely well.

“Since April we have had one event a month ranging from a scrap metal collection to an auction and they have been superbly supported. People say they are excited by the fact that they see the work going on and they know that it will benefit the community so they are only too happy to help.”

Next week the club will host a 5k on Tuesday (August 27th) and they are hopeful that the Donegal Grand Prix event will be another success.

“We held a 5k last year and it was great so we’re hoping that this one will draw an even bigger crowd and we have a sponsored walk coming up later in the year too. Our committee is meeting now every week because we want to keep the momentum going,” Kevin added.

Of course while the work is ongoing the club still has a team in the Donegal League and following their 2-2 draw away to Raphoe last weekend in the Brian McCormick Cup, they have a home game this weekend, obviously not at The Moss.

“We have been fortunate enough that Kildrum Tigers have leased us their ground for the year so we will be playing our games for the 2013/14 season in St Johnston but we’ll be hoping to get back to Drumoghill as soon as we can,” the club secretary explained.

Indeed, he added that the plan right now is to have the team back playing at The Moss for the start of next season.

“Most of the work has been done now and the field will soon be ready for grass seed. The hope is that by this time next year we won’t be far away at all from playing on it.”

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