Northern Ireland

Thousands raised at charity football blitz in memory of Darren O’Neill

A Football blitz takes place in memory of much loved firefighter, GAA coach and former player  Darren O’Neill,  also known as Horse who died suddenly in March 2023.
The former player at Naomh Séamas CLG in Aldergrove, who coached the ladies team to a Division 2 title and a Junior Championship.
Darren also had a period with St Malachys in Belfast.
Teams close to Darren  included Aldergrove ladies, Laochra Loch Lao Ladies, Aldergrove men’s, St Malachys, NIFRS, Antrim Masters, Bredagh and Pearses
took part in the tournament on Saturday at Cherryvale playing fields, Followed by an evening of entertainment and fundraising with All proceeds going to suicide awareness.
Aldergrove Ladies and the NIFRS came out on top on the day, winning the Darren O’Neill memorial trophies.
NIFRS captain Tim Harney and Aldergrove Ladies captain Anna Crossan with their Darren O'Neill memorial trophies. PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN

A weekend Gaelic football blitz held in memory of a much loved-firefighter, GAA coach and former player has raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Darren O’Neill, also known as Horse, died suddenly in March last year, aged 41.

A Football blitz takes place in memory of much loved firefighter, GAA coach and former player  Darren O’Neill,  also known as Horse who died suddenly in March 2023.
The former player at Naomh Séamas CLG in Aldergrove, who coached the ladies team to a Division 2 title and a Junior Championship.
Darren also had a period with St Malachys in Belfast.
Teams close to Darren  included Aldergrove ladies, Laochra Loch Lao Ladies, Aldergrove men’s, St Malachys, NIFRS, Antrim Masters, Bredagh and Pearses
took part in the tournament on Saturday at Cherryvale playing fields, Followed by an evening of entertainment and fundraising with All proceeds going to suicide awareness.
Aldergrove Ladies and the NIFRS came out on top on the day, winning the Darren O’Neill memorial trophies.
A Football blitz was held in memory of Darren O'Neill, who died suddenly last March, aged 41.

The former player at Naomh Séamas CLG in Aldergrove, Co Antrim, coached the ladies team to a Division 2 title and a Junior Championship.

He also had a spell with St Malachy’s Belfast.

A Football blitz takes place in memory of much loved firefighter, GAA coach and former player  Darren O’Neill,  also known as Horse who died suddenly in March 2023.
The former player at Naomh Séamas CLG in Aldergrove, who coached the ladies team to a Division 2 title and a Junior Championship.
Darren also had a period with St Malachys in Belfast.
Teams close to Darren  included Aldergrove ladies, Laochra Loch Lao Ladies, Aldergrove men’s, St Malachys, NIFRS, Antrim Masters, Bredagh and Pearses
took part in the tournament on Saturday at Cherryvale playing fields, Followed by an evening of entertainment and fundraising with All proceeds going to suicide awareness.
Aldergrove Ladies and the NIFRS came out on top on the day, winning the Darren O’Neill memorial trophies.
Memorial Tournament for Firefighter Darren O'Neill Aldergrove’s Grace O’Neill (right) and Laochra Loch Lao Gearoidin Mhic Mhathuna in action during the ladies' final. PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN

Teams close to Darren included Aldergrove Ladies, Laochra Loch Lao Ladies, Aldergrove Men’s, St Malachy’s, NI Fire & Rescue Service, Antrim Masters and Bredagh.

Teams from each took part in the tournament on Saturday at Cherryvale playing fields in south Belfast, which was followed by an evening of entertainment and fundraising, with all proceeds going to charities involved in suicide awareness.



Initial estimates suggest at least £3,000 was raised, with Aldergrove Ladies and NIFRS winning the Darren O’Neill memorial trophies.

Sorcha Campbell, who organised the blitz alongside Colin Connolly, said Saturday’s events brought together all those who held the “well-thought of and much sought-after” coach in high regard.

“It was lovely to see so many people turn-out to remember our much-missed friend and to raise funds for a cause that is very close to all our hearts,” she said.

“We were delighted Darren’s wife Orianne and his family were able to join us to watch a tournament that was played in a wonderful, friendly spirit and atmosphere – it was a great credit to Darren.”