Donegal supporter gives Coleraine cleric the shirt of his back!
Coleraine cleric Fr Raymond McCullagh put out a call for a Donegal geansái last week and got more than he bargained for.
The University of Ulster chaplain and Irish dancer needed the shirt for a jigs and reels fundraiser on Saturday night.
Fr McCullagh said: “I was dancing to ‘The Hills of Donegal’ at a fundraising event for the St Vincent de Paul / Salvation Army Christmas Family Appeal. In view of Donegal’s tremendous success in this year’s All Ireland Football Final, I thought a Donegal shirt might bring me good luck. I was proved right when the judges announced that my partner Rossanna Morrelli and I had come first!”
When Fr McCullagh’s friend Noel Millar contacted the Journal with the shirt request last week, Burt ϋber-supporter James McCarron came to the rescue.
Mr McCarron was more than happy to give up his precious Jim McGuinness-autographed shirt for the night.
He said: “When I heard Fr McCullagh and his friends were raising money for the St Vincent de Paul / Salvation Army Christmas Family Appeal, I was happy to oblige. These are two great organisations working to ease the burden on hard-pressed families and bring a little festive magic into the lives of children. I am delighted that Jim McGuinness’s success has now spread to County Derry!”
Fr McCullagh and Noel Millar are members of Banshees, a Coleraine-based adult Irish dancing troupe. Last year the group raised £5,000 for autism, alzheimer and dementia charities.
According to Fr McCullagh Saturday night’s dance-off raised a magnificent £2,500.
He said: “The whole evening was great craic. I choose my song and, thanks to James and Noel, wore my Donegal shirt in honour of my Ballybofey cousins Tom and Beverley Mulholland. However there was also very serious side to the event. The eight professional dancers and eight novices were determined to raise as much money as possible for the St Vincent de Paul / Salvation Army Christmas Family Appeal.
“The partnership between St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army began in 1997. During the Christmas Family Appeal toys and gifts are collected for disadvantaged children, young people and families. Last year’s Appeal distributed gifts to more then 11,500 children. This is a testimony to the generosity of the public
“I would say that requests for assistance from the Family Appeal 2012 will remain high, a reflection of the financial difficulties many families are currently facing. I am just glad Banshees were able to help boost the Appeal a little bit. Donegal abú!”