Derry City supporter clocks up the miles for charity

Derry City fan Colin O’Kane certainly hasn’t let the grass grow under his feet during the latest lockdown as he took to the roads to raise money for the charity Cancer Research UK.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 9:37 am
Supporter Colin O’Kane receives a signed Derry City jersey for a raffle he had organised.

The 39-year old covered 300 kilometres in 21 days by running, walking and cycling to get to his total. He reached out to a number of local organisations including Derry City who were happy to present him with a shirt signed by the whole squad for a charity raffle he had organised.

Former City fans favourite Darren Kelly a long-time friend of Colin’s, also gave him a lift by joining him ‘virtually’ on part of his journey.

The ex-Brandywell centre-back, who had two spells with his home town club, used social media to contact O’Kane and organised to put in some kilometres with his old mucker.

“Darren and I are good friends and although I hadn’t seen him for a while, he reached out to me on social media and did a 10k run with me on the treadmill,” he stated.

“It was a lovely touch and although he hasn’t maybe got as much hair as I remember, he’s still a very fit boy,” laughed Colin.

Formerly from the Claudy area, Colin moved to the parish of Greenlough just outside Portglenone earlier this year. He is set to marry his partner Orla next autumn and as she is a nurse in Antrim Area Hospital, the move made sense.

It’s been a tough few months among Colin’s friends and family and that’s what drove him to take on his recent challenge.

“My friend Johnny Farren, who is going to be my best man in 2022, was diagnosed with cancer last year. Soon after that my cousin Patrick who lives in Manchester and who regularly puts me up when I’m over for the football received similar news,” he explained.

“Then, just before Christmas, my dad Kevin was also diagnosed. All three acted quickly enough and are now going through treatment so rather than mope about I thought it would be far better to do something positive.

“The support I have received has been phenomenal and to date I have raised roughly £8,700. I work as a delivery driver for Tesco and they have a scheme in place for certain charities whereby they add 20 per cent to anything raised by their staff.

“Hopefully that would mean taking the total over £10,000 which would be a lovely amount to hand over.”

O’Kane, like all his fellow Candy Stripes followers, can’t wait to get back into the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium in the not too distant future.

“I want to get back to the Brandywell to see some live football. I love meeting up with the ‘jungle’ boys for a few beers and the craic at the matches,” he insisted.

“My first ever Derry City game was a friendly against Norwich (which Kevin McDaid assures us was in 1995) and after that I went to loads of games home and away, both with Darren and on the trips to the Aviva and with the supporters clubs.

“I really hope we’ll be back in the not-too-distant future and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with some old friends.”