O’Donnell Park Letterkenny was selected as a regional host venue for 8 of the participating teams in the Group stage matches of the under-14 All-Ireland Feile na nGael hurling festival 2014 which took place at Ulster venues over the recent mid-summer weekend.
Over 168 hurling teams from clubs throughout Ireland including entries from clubs overseas participated in an event that is recognised as one of the great spectacles of the GAA summer calendar.
The St. Eunan’s hurling Féile organising committee with its attention to detail excelled both on and off the field to ensure a superb experience for the 8 participating teams and their supporters at the regional qualifying stage matches for both the Cup and Shield competitions at the sun-splashed Letterkenny venue.
Participating teams at the Letterkenny venue included Donegal representatives St. Eunan’s and Buncrana, Clough Ballacolla , Laois; Tommy Larkin’s, Galway; Derry representatives, Na Magha and Banagher; St.Earnan’s, Westmeath and Dublin club Castleknock.
Blessed with ideal weather conditions the event was a resounding success with the spirit of Féile fun and participation in evidence throughout at the O’Donnell Park event played over Friday evening and all day Saturday.
A positive buzz and a genuine grassroots community spirit was present throughout the excellently organised event.
The quality of the on-field hurling skills from all the participating teams was matched in equal measure with the quality of the off-field catering arrangements where the St. Eunan’s hurling Feile organising committee left no stone unturned in providing a variety of foods and refreshments for the visiting teams and supporters.
Great credit and thanks is due to the generous Letterkenny businesses who sponsored the variety of foods on offer which was augmented by the contributions from the host club’s families and friends.
The St. Eunan’s club volunteers who served up the foods from the tented stalls deserve rich accolades; being in attendance on the Friday evening and all-day Saturday.
The previous Sunday morning’s cake sale and coffee morning fundraiser set the buzz and tone which was to characterise the host club’s first-class event.
Thanks is also due to the families who hosted the hurlers from Laois club Clough Ballacolla.
The excellent playing surfaces of the O Donnell Park and adjoining training grounds provided a firm sod for the high-octane displays of hurling skills and competitive spirit from these whole-hearted under-14 grade players.
Superb goals and points of the short and long range variety were on a display and none better than the score of the day from St.Eunan’s player Shane O Donnell in a match versus Inishowen’s Buncrana.
Shane won possession some fifty metres from the opposing goal and balancing the sliothar on his hurl, sprinted some 30 metres before unleashing a wonder strike to the roof of the net.
Buncrana ran out very narrow winners in this superb group game with due credit to both sides for a titanic encounter.
Abundant hurling skills, teamwork and sportsmanship was in evidence from all 8 teams and following the quarter- final stages the qualifying teams who went forward to the finals hosted in Armagh and Owenbeg Derry were as follows: Shield: Clough Ballacolla, Laois and Westmeath’s, St.Earnan’s. Cup qualifiers were Na Magha, Derry and Castleknock, Dublin .
Following the Letterkenny stage; the St. Eunan’s Hurling Féile Committee, hosted an evening of entertainment and a meal for their visiting club Clough Ballacolla, Laois at the Arena 7 complex.
Players and supporters from both teams enjoyed a sociable gathering where the two club managements expressed their thanks for the manner in which, the event was organised.
Team mentors Fergal Finn and Gordon Randles expressed their pride in both the performances of the players and the level of support from their families in hosting a very enjoyable and successful hurling event.
Pauric Daly, St. Eunan’s Minor Board chairman commended the teamwork from everyone involved in ensuring a very successful Féile na nÓg 2014 hurling weekend in O’Donnell Park.
He thanked the local businesses, families and friends of the club who supported the catering provided for the visiting teams and their supporters.
It was a win-win event for participants and spectators and in particular for our young hurlers and their management team whose skills and commitment were clearly evident throughout the weekend.
A big thank-you to the Local Letterkenny Companies who supported the Féile 2014 at the O’Donnell Park venue with Food and Facilities.
Sponsors and for the event were: Letterkenny Credit Union; Joe’s Butchers; Aldi Letterkenny; Charlie’s Café; Donegal Printing; Four Lanterns; Stateside American Diner; Tesco; Mc Donald’s; Happy Days; Letterkenny Shopping Centre; Value Centre; Dunnes Stores; Spar Glencar; Hillbillies; Gormleys Centra; Macs Mace; Pat’s Pizza; Quiet Moment; Bread/Butter; Sandwich Company; Martin Anderson Catering Company; L.Y.F.S.