Kilcar gear up for car draw

March 14, 2005
Kilcar GAA are busy preparing for a major fundraising draw which takes place on May 1. First prize is a brand new Volkswagen Golf that has been kindly supplied by local Volkswagen dealers S&R Motors. Kilcar, the club that dominated Donegal football in the 1980s with Donegal's 1992 All-Ireland winning heroes Martin and James McHugh, will hold a major fundraising draw on May 1, with the top prize being a new Volkswagen Golf, valued at over EUR20,000. There are also cash prizes of EUR5,000 and EUR2,500 to be won as well as other highly desirable prizes. Amazingly, tickets for the draw cost just EUR20 each and can be purchased from any club member. The top prize has been kindly supplied by local Volkswagen dealers S&R Motors, who themselves are busy preparing to move into a new multi-million euro purpose-built showroom and garage at Drumlonagher in the centre of Donegal town. S&R Motors is jointly owned by father and son Sean and Rory O'Donnell, who between them, have over 60 years experience in the motor trade. "We are delighted to be associated with the Kilcar GAA draw," Rory says. "They came to us some time ago to see if we would be interested in supplying a car and we were only too delighted to do so. "Even though my home club is Naomh Ultan in Dunkineely, I have a lot of admiration for Kilcar who have a great senior tradition, despite picking from limited resources. I've no doubt that the draw will be a success for them and will help greatly with their fundraising efforts," he adds. S&R Motors is a sister company of O'Donnell Motors, which was founded by Sean, and has been operating from its current Dunkineely base since 1981. For many years now, O'Donnell Motors have been main Ford and Mazda dealers for South Donegal. Sean and Rory came together in 1998 to set up S&R Motors which will shortly relocate from the Killybegs Road, Donegal town to Drumlonagher. Between the two garages, 25 staff are employed and among them are Rory's brothers, Kerrill and Padraig, who are both involved in sales. The Irish motor industry has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years and Rory is delighted with Volkswagen's continued popularity among the driving public. "We have had record sales of new cars over the past four or five years," he proudly states. "The Volkswagen brand has remained as popular as ever I'm pleased to say. The new Golf has been a big hit since its launch last year and we are now eagerly looking forward to the launch of the new Passat and Polo models in July. "The new Passat will be bigger than its current version and I'm expecting it to be a huge success. The new Bora is also due to be launched in December and with these three new models coming on stream, I don't think we could have picked a better time to move into our new premises." A picturesque coastal village situated a few miles west of Killybegs and overlooking Donegal Bay, Kilcar is renowned throughout Donegal for its exploits in Gaelic football. The club first came to prominence in the early 1970s when it won three under 21 titles in-a-row. The 1980s was a glorious decade for Kilcar with senior championships being annexed in 1980, '85 and '89, while six league titles were also captured during this hugely successful period. Kilcar were crowned county champions again in 1993, but they have endured a lean spell since then due largely to dwindling numbers. "Back in the 1980s, Kilcar was a vibrant place with the local tweed and woollen factories providing plenty of employment," explains Kilcar club treasurer John Curran. "And while these factories are still operating, they don't employ the same numbers as they used to. We have suffered a lot with emigration and this has impacted greatly on our footballing fortunes. "We won the minor championship in 1998 but of that team, Patrick Gallagher was the only one to play for our senior team last year. Conor McShane would have been another link but for injury. Most of those minors would still be playing had there been work in the area for them. But instead, they've had to move away to find work elsewhere," he laments. Despite the club's obvious difficulties, Kilcar have remained a force to be reckoned with in the senior championship and last year, were unlucky to lose to McCumhaills of Ballybofey after two replays at the quarter-final stage. McCumhaills subsequently reached the county final where they were beaten by Ardara. Kilcar produced another talented minor team last year which lost the county final to Glenties by a point and already a number of that team have graduated to the senior set-up, including Noel Hegarty, who is a brother of county star Michael. "I would take great encouragement from the number of talented young players that we are continuing to produce. We have a very young senior team at the moment with the average age being about 21 or 22," Curran says. "Last year's minor team was unlucky to lose the county final to Glenties, but none of the players were too downhearted afterwards. From that team, Noel Hegarty, Oisin McFadden, Padraig Sweeney, Patrick O'Donnell and Luke Carr have already played for the seniors and I'm sure they'll be joined by a few more this year." While Kilcar have high hopes for this year, they are not looking beyond their first round clash with neighbours and arch-rivals Naomh Columba - the club of ex-county stars Noel Hegarty, Paddy Hegarty and JJ Doherty and in more recent times Noel McGinley. "It's a massive fixture for both clubs," John points out. "The rivalry between Kilcar and Naomh Columba is huge and there is never much to separate us any time we meet. The game will be played over two legs on a home and away basis so whichever team comes through will have deserved their victory. "We'll be hoping to do well this year, especially as the lads are now a year older and wiser. Seamus Gallagher has handed over the managerial reins to Roger McShane who previously managed the team in 2003. He knows the players very well and feels there is great potential in the team. But we have to get over Naomh Columba first and that won't be easy," he concludes.

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