LEGENDARY FORMER Fanad United manager and soccer administrator Fr Michael Sweeney was last night presented with a Grassroots Hero by the Football Association of Ireland.
The award was presented at the official launch of the FAI’s National Football Exhibition, which is open in Letterkenny until September 29.
Fr Michael Sweeney with former Republic of Ireland International Ray Houghton, left, and Jim McConnell, right. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
As part of the launch, the FAI sought nominations for a local Grassroots Hero.
‘Fr Mick’ is one of the best known figures in Donegal soccer for over four decades now.
In total five teams under Fr. Mick’s guidance won national titles from 1978 to 1988. He won the FAI Youth Cup with Fanad in 1979 and then the famous Intermediate Cup with Fanad in 1988.
He lead PCC Falcarragh to three FAI All-Ireland Schools titles, two U16s Cups and a senior crown, while the small rural team was selected to represent the Republic of Ireland at an international tournament in Belgium in 1983.
He managed Fanad United for almost 20 years in the Donegal League and Ulster Senior League.
Indeed, he is a founder member of both Leagues, while he was instrumental in the Donegal League’s purchase of the parcel of land and initial development of the League’s fine headquarters at The Diamond Park, Ballyare.
Fr. Mick highlighted winning the FAI Youth Cup Final in Ramelton in 1979 as a very big breakthrough on the national stage and of course defeating Derry City at the Brandywell was definitely another occasion that was ‘right up there’.
However, his biggest triumph, surely, was when he guided Fanad United to victory over Tramore Athletic at Dalymount Park in 1988.Tags: