THE Cork U16 ladies football squad and management team got on their bikes to raise over €1,700 for Cork ARC Cancer Support House this past week.
Embarking on a group cycling challenge, the Cork U16 inter-county footballers cycled a combined distance of 1,500km in aid of the worthy Cork charity. Cork ARC Cancer Support House is a service close to Cork U16 selector Miriam Forbes’ heart.
The Dohenys stalwart lost both her brother and father to the disease but was delighted with her inter-county squad’s Herculean efforts in surpassing their original target distance of 1,000 km.
“This fundraiser was particularly important to me because I lost both my Dad and my brother to cancer within an 18-month period,” Forbes told the Echo.
“So, this fundraiser was really close to my heart as cancer, unfortunately, had been something of a nightmare for our family. My brother Finbarr O’Neill was only 48 years of age and my father Paddy O’Neill was 72 when they passed away.
“Finbarr was also secretary of the Dohenys underage for many years and trained a lot of the underage teams as well. He got sick after a bone marrow transplant but stayed active and was always involved with the club. Dohenys was his reason to get up and keep going for a long time.”
Against that emotional backdrop, Miriam Forbes was more than happy to get involved. Forbes’s fellow selector and Cork head coach John Duffy is a cycling enthusiast. They, along with Cork U16 Manager Denis Mulvihill and another selector, Orla Hallihan, came up with the idea for a cycling challenge involving their young inter-county squad.
“We had one of our regular Zoom meetings with the squad and put the idea of a cycling fundraiser to them,” Forbes explained.
“The girls loved the idea and immediately bought in. Even more importantly, they understood the importance of the charity they were raising money for. There isn’t a family anywhere in the country that hasn’t been affected by cancer so each of them could relate to it on some level.
“A lot of Cork Cancer Research’s fundraisers had to be shelved this year because of Covid-19. They are always in need of funds, so it was a positive and welcome thing to have the Cork U16 squad raising money on their behalf.”
The final accumulative distance covered by the Cork players and management was over 1,500 km which is a phenomenal achievement and the monies raised will be deeply appreciated by families who engage with Cork ARC Cancer Support House.
“Denis (Mulvihill) setup a GoFundMe page where we raised a total of over €1,700. That’s absolutely fantastic and testament to the time and effort of a super bunch of girls,” Miriam Forbes added.
“We got in touch with the girls and laid out what was required of them. They each downloaded the Strava app and took a screenshot of the distances they travelled before forwarding it on to us.
“Denis kept note of all the totals and in fairness to Peter O’Leary, Cork LGFA PRO, he gave us great coverage via Cork’s social media channels and posted pictures of the girls each day of the fundraiser.
“It was a brilliant thing to do because, obviously, we can’t be together as a group at the moment. Management and players raising money for such a worthy cause brought us together, albeit virtually.
"The girls really bought into it and some went out twice a day on their bikes, so it was fantastic for everyone involved and kept us connected during the current restrictions.”
Cork LGFA U16 squad: Kaitlin Smith (Aghada), Rachel Leahy (Aghada), Faye Cullinane (Ballinhassig), Kate Redmond (Ballygarvan), Lily Murray (Bride Rovers), Ciara Morrison (Bride Rovers), Leah Hallihan (Bride Rovers), Ava Barry (Bride Rovers), Siobhan Callanan (Clonakilty), Aoife Healy (Cloyne), Abigail Ring (Cloyne), Aoife Barrett (Donoughmore), Sadbh McGoldrick (Éire Óg), Orlaith Cahalane (Éire Óg), Aimee Corcoran (Erins Own), Lisa Hartnett (Fermoy), Ruby Coffey (Fermoy), Aoibhe Carey (Fermoy), Dervilla Creed (Fermoy), Caoimhe O’Sullivan (Glanmire), Clodagh O’Donovan (Glanmire), Evie Twomey (Glanmire), Katlyn Sheehan (Glanmire), Caoimhe Richmond (Glanmire), Keelin Murphy (Ilen Rovers), Emma Hurley (Ilen Rovers), Tara Hickey (Inch Rovers), Geraldine Tyner (Kinsale), Lydia Mc Donagh (Naomh Aban), Aoife Lucey (Naomh Abán), Lia Hogan (O’Donovan Rossa), Keely Fitzgerald (St. Colman’s), Lia Heffernan (St. Mary’s), Grace O’Dywer (Valley Rovers), Lucy Callanan (Valley Rovers), Ellen Murphy (Valley Rovers) and Rian Walsh (Youghal).