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Tributes paid to the late Danny O’Donnell

MEMBERS of Termon GAA Club have spoken of their deep shock and sadness at the sudden passing of club chairman Danny O’Donnell.

Mr O’Donnell passed away on Sunday. 

“The news of the death of our chairman Danny O’ has cast a heavy shadow over our community and our GAA Club,” said members.

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“Over the past week since news of his illness first broke we have been taking strength from the huge volume of messages of support and prayer from all corners of our country and indeed from abroad. Such was the impression that Danny made on so many people that he met through his various roles within the GAA with the Wolfe Tones GAA Club in Chicago and over the many years with us in CLG An Tearmainn.”

Born in Cashleenen, Termon in 1952 to parents Annie and Daniel O’Donnell, Danny was one of nine children. He spent his early days in Cashleenan with his parents, his brothers Jimmy, Pat and John and sisters Margaret, Cathleen, Anna, Rose and Mary. He attended Kilmacrennan NS and attended secondary school in Cootehill, Co Cavan, under the mentorship of his brother Father John before returning to Donegal to study Civil Engineering at the Regional College in Letterkenny.

He then emigrated Chicago where he established himself in the construction and property industry and set up home for himself, his wife Mary and daughter Jennifer in the Oaklawn district. Danny’s business acumen saw him create a network of contacts and friends in business and political life in Chicago, developing a strong rapport with many including former Mayor Richard E Daly.

As well as developing a very successful business, Danny established himself as one of the leading GAA figures in Chicago with The Wolfe Tones GAA club where he served as chairman for many years. This led him to being a prominent figure in the GAA scene in North America with involvement at various levels with the North American GAA Board. He was at the forefront of the development of Gaelic Park, Chicago, and helped make it one of the leading GAA grounds in the USA. He was instrumental in leading the way with innovative fundraising projects for the GAA using his skillsets in the property business to bring big fundraisers together for the GAA community.

He was also to the forefront of promoting ladies football in Chicago and in North America.

Following the untimely death of his wife Mary, Danny decided to return to Donegal to pursue his business interests in Donegal and beyond.

While in Chicago Danny always maintained his membership of CLG An Tearmainn and supported every fundraising initiative hosted by the club so it was no surprise that he involved himself with the club on his return.

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“He travelled the length and breadth of Donegal to support our teams, boys and girls, ladies and men, and he travelled the length and breadth of Ireland to support Donegal, ladies and men taking huge pride in seeing so many of our players wearing the green and gold of Donegal. He took tremendous joy following the progression of his own niece Maureen (Mo ) O’ Donnell and nephew Sean O’ Donnell’s footballing careers being ever present with support and words of encouragement,” said members.

“Danny O’ encapsulated all that is good about being a Gael and GAA man. He worked tirelessly to promote our games and our culture and encouraged and practiced volunteerism in the very truest sense of the word. As a result he lived the values of the organisation he loved and helped enrich the lives of our members, families and the community in which we live.

“We wish to offer our sincere sympathy to his daughter Jennifer, son-in-law Manus, grandchildren James, Lauren and Niall, his brothers Jimmy and Pat, his sisters Anna, Margaret, Mary, Kathleen and Rose, his nieces and nephews and the wider GAA family.”

Mr O’Donnell’s remains were this afternoon moved to the residence of his brother Jimmy at Cashleenan, Termon. Wake from 5pm today (Tuesday) and a shuttle bus will be in operation from the Old Termon Bingo Hall.

Removal on Thursday morning for funeral Mass in St Columba’s, Kilmacrenan, at 11am followed by private cremation in Cavan.

SEE FRIDAY’S DONEGAL NEWS FOR FURTHER TRIBUTES

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