Manorcunningham Kurling Club have become winners of the East Donegal Kurling League for the first time.
The East Donegal Kurling League was established in association with Donegal Sports Partnership in 2014 and their first league success comes five years after setting up.
The league currently has seven teams – Manor Kurling Club, Killygordon Wednesday Club, Lifford Friday Club, Raphoe Kurling Club, Letterkenny Active Retirement, Castlefin Over 50s, and Stranorlar Friday Club.
Donegal Sports Partnership Sports Development Officer, Karen Guthrie, who was instrumental in getting the East Donegal Kurling League up and running in 2014, said interest in the sport of kurling is as keen as ever.
“We currently have around 120 members registered in the county,” she commented.
“The East Kurling League was developed originally to promote regular participation for older adults to provide regular weekly activity with a social element. So many of the activities Donegal Sports Partnership host are target-based, hand-eye coordination focused. The majority of the older adults participating in our programmes would never have got the opportunity to try sports growing up – it’s lovely to see them try something new and get a buzz out of being good at it.
“To be part of a competitive league, where they belong to a team, keeps them motivated. Keeping older adults stronger for longer and independent in their own homes, and in their own communities is our ultimate goal. Programmes like the East Donegal Kurling League are fantastic for giving them a focus and something to leave the house for,” the sports development officer added.
Speaking at a Manorcunningham Kurling Club celebratory lunch in the Silver Tassie Hotel in Letterkenny, Ian Rowell, who has been involved with the club since its formation in 2018, said he was delighted at the success.
“The thing I enjoy most about being involved with the Manor Kurling Club is the crack. We practice for two hours every week, and I missed it during Covid. We’re really delighted to have won the league title,” he said.
William Lindsay explained how he became part of the Manor Kurling Club.
“The women’s group had started curling and they were looking for some male members, so that’s how I got involved,” he said.
“There’s always great banter and it passes an afternoon for us. We’re all very enthusiastic. The fact that there’s a Kurling league helps a lot. If you were only practising and playing at the club every week, you might get a bit browned off. But the league gives that competitive element to it all.
“The games are always played in a good, sporting spirit as well. It’s a good sport. Now that we’ve won the title, we’ll have to see if we can defend it now. It’s a big change for us. In the very first season, we finished last by a long way. We’re so lucky to have Virginia McLoone as our captain – she’s a great organiser. She makes sure we have the use of the community centre hall in Manor for regular practice and has also drawn up proper structures for the club. Having good access to the hall is so important,” he added.
Captain of Manorcunningham Kurling Club, Virgina McLoone, recalled how the Manor Kurling Club was established five years ago.
“I’m a member of the women’s group in Manor and we were trying to decide what sport we could start. One of the ladies had a contact with the Lifford club, and we invited their captain to come and give a demo in Manor in July 2018. From that, we decided to set up our own club,” she said.
“We had no funding and no money to buy equipment. So, I got in contact with Karen Guthrie from Donegal Sports Partnership, and I couldn’t sing her praises enough. Karen has been so helpful in every way to us, as has Donegal Sports Partnership.
“We sourced funding through Age & Opportunity for the equipment which we secured. We then began practicing diligently every week. Everyone on the team is so committed and so dedicated – I must say they’re fantastic,” she added.
The East Donegal Kurling League will recommence on Monday, February 13th. The Age & Opportunity Active National Grant Scheme is now open for applications, with a closing date of Friday 24th February 2023. To receive an application, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted: 10:21 am February 7, 2023