The 2018 Denis O’Neill Memorial Cup take places tomorrow evening (Saturday) in Finn Park, with a 5pm kick-off.
Following last years ‘clash of the fans’ game in Finn Park, which was hugely enjoyed by Denis O’Neill and his family, Finn Park stalwarts for over 40 years, we sadly lost one of Harps most well known supporters in September. The decision was taken by organisers of the game, a combination of fan groups from around the terraces of Finn Park, to rename the cup in honour of Denis.
This year, for the first time in Denis name, some Harps legends have come out of retirement or otherwise to step back onto the Finn Park surface in memory ‘The Major’, including some favourites of the man himself.
Michael Funston and Chris Breen will tog out for the ‘FBTN’ (From Behind The Nets) side while Eloka ‘Luka’ Asokuh and Shane Bradley will return to Finn Park to line up with 54 Crew Supporters.
The addition of ex-players to a fans game gives an added bit of incentive to the game, and a chance for some fans to play with their heroes, while it also gives supporters a chance to cheer them on once more, and raise the profile of the game a bit more.
In another bonus addition, former Harps underage player Oisin Merritt, who has been dubbed ‘the miracle man’, having overcome a serious injury, returns this year having played his first game of football following his injury in last years game, an emotional event for him and his family, where he also took home the Man of the Match award on the day. Now, an Irish international player with the Irish Paralympic football team, Oisin lines out on the day before jetting off to The Netherlands at the end of the month to take on the Holland Paralympic team with his Irish team-mates in KNVB Centre on 25th July.
Some wonderful entertainment has been lined up on the day and on the night following the game, with live DJ Oisin McLaughlin ‘DJ Ois Bosh’ entertaining supporters before the match and during half time, while there will also be a BBQ lined up to keep all the family happy.
Following the match, revellers will make their way to Barretts Bar where DJ John Brennan will keep everyone dancing, while there will also be a raffle held with prizes donated by such generous donors as Beauty Secrets Ballybofey, Balor Arts Centre, The O’Neill Family and many others.
Match Sponsor on the day is Pro-Fitness Ballybofey, courtesy of Shaun McGlynn. The match ball sponsor is Barretts Bar who also very kindly sponsored the match trophy, referee sponsor is Don Maguire Fitness, while the two teams are sponsored by Joey O’Leary Financial Services, sponsoring 54 Crew, and John McElchar Transport, sponsoring FBTN. Barbeque equipment has been very kindly sponsored by McKelveys Bar who have helped greatly in getting things together for the day, while barbeque meats and baps have been sponsored by Naoise O’Fearghail and Chris Breen. Water sponsor on the day is Joe Kelly and Sons Stranorlar.
Our referee on the day, pulling back on the jersey for the first time in a few years is also a familiar face to many coming to Finn Park on a match night, it’s our own match ticket seller Ronan Floyd, who promises to keep his cards close to hand should the action boil over.
Match Squads for 2018 Denis O’Neill Memorial Cup:
FBTN: Manager – Chris Gillespie
Alan Kelly, Shea Hannigan, Adrian Ferry, Shane O’Loughlin, Shane Doherty, Naoise O’Fearghail, Conor McNulty, Don Maguire, Mark McElchar, Shaun McGlynn, Aaron Kelly, Callum Gordon, Graham Horsefield, Andrew Mulrine, Damien Gallagher, Ciaran O’Neill, Oisin Merritt ©, Packi Coll, Chris Breen, Michael Funston.
54 Crew: Manager – Dermot Connolly
Nigel Hegarty, Ciaran Bonner, Eoghan O’Doherty, Kevin Haughey, Connor Edwards, Andy Devine, Michael Herity, Barry McGowan, Chris Dunnion, Shane O’Donnell, Dillon Doherty, Patrick McConnell, Ethan Lee, Fionn Robinson, Michael Devine, Tommy Doherty, Eloka Asokuh, Shane Bradley
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