BY CHRIS MCNULTY
A RAMELTON woman may well have created history in world football last month.
With the winter transfer window ready to shut, Swilly Rovers signed two players from neighbours Ramelton Mariners and there was surely something unique in the transfer forms of Marty Boyce and Damien Friel.
Chanel Blaney happened to be the secretary of the ‘requesting’ club, Swilly Rovers, and the consenting club, Ramelton Mariners.
Chanel is in her first year as the Swilly secretary, but has filled the position at the Mariners for around ten years now.
“It balances itself out because being involved with the two clubs means I know what the other has coming up in terms of fundraising and can plan to make sure there isn’t a crossover,” she says modestly about her involvement at the nerve centre of the two clubs.
Her home at An Sruthan in Ramelton is the base. It’s about a decade now since, at the prompting of her husband, William, she got involved with the Mariners.
She says: “When I first got involved with Mariners they were at crisis point and basically whatever committee was elected would have been better that the previous one.
“Ramelton Mariners is just one team, so it’s not too bad a workload from that.”
Chanel’s son Jamie is the goalkeeper with Swilly’s under-16s and daughter Tamara plays on the Under-11 girls’ team.
The red of Swilly has coursed in her veins from a young age. Her father Eddie is a former Swilly treasurer and her cousin Edward is the current chairman at Swilly Park.
She says: “I love watching football and wouldn’t miss a game from either unless I have to. I always watched the games, I’d have been dragged to them from I was no height!
“I still do that now. There’s rarely a clash because Ramelton Mariners play on a Saturday and Swilly Rovers play the Sundays usually – the only time I’ve got a clash is if the children are playing at the same time.”
She joined the Swilly committee last year before taking over as the secretary for this season and she also happens to run the tuck shop at Swilly Park. Currently there are 12 teams at Swilly Rovers and Chanel holds a spreadsheet with each player’s details, including their medical history.
She says: “Swilly were recruiting people to come into the club to help out. My children play for Swilly so I headed along. They were anxious to get people to go along and have a say – so off I went.
“I have a lot to live up to taking over from Ivan Grier, who was there for so long. He’s still involved in the club and his knowledge is invaluable. There are a lot of people like that at Swilly who have a lot of experience and are able to lend a hand. “There’s a good, active committee there that makes the job a lot easier. We have others who we’d like to be active in the club again.”
With a stroke of a pen last month on the transfer papers of Boyce and Friel, she could’ve set a new precedent in the game, but the modest Chanel plays down her involvement with the two clubs.
She says, with all the efficiency of a good secretary: “Ah, I don’t think of the work, it’s grand to be honest.”
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