GAA Football

Mark Donaghy lifts award for Ruairi Og, Cushendall

Mark Donaghy from Ruairi Og, Cushendall collecting the Young Volunteer Award from sponsor Wendy Osborne, CEO of Volunteer Now at The Irish News School, Club and Volunteer Awards
Picture by Hugh Russell
Sean O'Neill

ALTHOUGH Ruairi Og, Cushendall failed to land club hurling’s top prize a couple of months ago, it is clear that as far as youthful ingenuity and dedication is concerned, they are in safe hands.

The Antrim club fell to Na Piarsaigh of Limerick in the All-Ireland final on St Patrick’s Day, which was a disappointment after the high of winning Ulster.

But every club must keep the wheels turning come what may and in Mark Donaghy they have a young man with impressive organisational and video editing skills.

Mark lifted the Young Volunteer Award at the recent Irish News School, Club and Volunteer Awards for his efforts in editing together the footage from a hugely successful club fundraiser.

Entitled ‘Around the World’ the project recorded people striking a sliotar as if they were indeed passing it on, around the world.

The effort raised £10,000 for the Ulster champions. Martin Magee from the club explained how it all worked.

“An ex-school teacher, Kathleen Darragh came up with the idea to try and link up with Ruairi Og members and supporters and family around the world,” he said.

“Arron Graffin went down to the sea front where he lives and he pucked the ball out into the sea to start it going around the world.

“People were catching the ball as if someone in America had hit the ball and then the person in Australia – it shows them catching the ball from the previous person, and then they send it on.

“When we won the semi-final, Graffin hit the ball again from the pitch in Navan and we were doing it around the parish.

“And our chairman went to the top of the Curfew Tower in Cushendall and he hit it off that to go round the different townlands in the parish

“And all the different townlands got involved – everybody would gather together their videos and send them into Mark and Mark set up the PayPal page.

“We were hoping to make a £1,000 out of it – we ended up making 10 grand out of it. It was the easiest 10 grand that we ever made.

“It really was a fabulous one for community spirit.”

It was worked out by Mark that with the amount of people who had contributed in different places that the ball would have gone around the world three times in all.

The club are hugely grateful to the young man who is also a senior player, as well as PRO.

“Mark had to do a lot of work because he would have got videos and he maybe would have got one that lasted 15 minutes, and he had to cut it down to about 10 seconds,” said Martin.

“There was a lot of work and Mark would have edited it and he would have put them up on line.

“So he’s got great IT skills for us. It’s great that he has brought those skills on board and dragged us into the 21st century.

“He might play down what he did but he did an awful lot of work –it’s a piece of history that’s been captured for us. We’ve got that forever and a day.

“And then with the likes of Liam Neeson doing it, it got about 80,000 hits and virtually every radio station and TV station wanted to use it.”

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GAA Football