Yesterday’s ‘friendly’ soccer match in Stranorlar has, so far, raised an incredible €20,000 for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) charities.
The former high kings of Tyrone soccer, Blane Rovers from Aghyaran, managed to scrape a draw with Donegal rivals from yesteryear, Border Celtic.
The Donegal men led 1-0 from early in the first half after a mazey solo run by George Michael Sproule ended with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box past the helpless 80 year-old Sean Harvey in the Rovers goal.
However top Tyrone GAA referee, Eamon McHugh from Aghyaran, controversially awarded a 99th minute penalty after Rovers’ striker Gerry Gallen was brought down on the edge of the box.
Gallen’s resulting spot kick looked destined for the top corner, but Celtic keeper Cathal Gallen, turned the ball on to the crossbar.
Following the rebound, and a lengthy goalmouth scramble, PJ Gallagher bundled the ball into his own net to gift Rovers the equaliser.
Yesterday’s game was inspired by former Rovers striker, Joe Gallen, who is currently battling the crippling MND.
From the townland of Blane, he was once one of the most formidable strikers around, rattling in an impressive 48 goals in one season alone in the Fermanagh and Western Football League.
Joe also tormented many a defence in the Donegal League while playing for Curragh Athletic.
Off the pitch, Joe is a well-known, and highly respected, businessman and his structural engineering company has been involved in major projects all over Donegal and the north west.
His friends and relatives wanted to turn his battle into a positive, by raising money and awareness for MND.
And, they did just that. Prior to yesterday’s game, more than €8,500 had been raised on the event’s GoFundMe page.
During the match itself, and at a reception afterwards, a further €10,000 was donated.
However, the organisers expected that figure to reach a massive €25,000 when all the money is counted.
The organisers would like to stress that all proceeds will go directly to MND charities on both sides of the border, as well as a number of local charities.
For anyone who could not attend yesterday’s game, they can still donate via the special GoFundMe page.