REPUBLIC of Ireland and Liverpool legends Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton are returning to West Cork as part of a fundraiser for West Cork League club Durrus FC.
The Westlodge Hotel in Bantry will host an audience with Whelan and Houghton, including a questions and answers session, on Tuesday, September 26 at 8.30pm. The aforementioned duo are no strangers to west Cork having played for a Republic of Ireland XI against the West Cork Masters League in Dunmanway in July 2014 and for a Liverpool seelction against Drinagh Rangers in Canon Crowley Park a year later.
“The main reason behind getting Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton over here is to raise the profile of Durrus FC as well as raising some much-needed funds for the club,” stated Durrus’ Tadhg O’Sullivan.
“We are a small west Cork club that has just been promoted from the second to the first division and constantly reliant on small fundraisers to get us from September to May each year. So, we just thought this year, when this opportunity arose that we would take it on. Even though there is a bit work in it and a lot of effort involved in organising the event, the bigger picture is that it should put us in a better position for next season.
“I got a phone call confirming Ronnie and Ray were available for that particular week in September and asking if we wanted to do something. I didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to help raise the club’s and West Cork League football’s profile.”
On the field, Durrus begin a new West Cork League OBriensWaterServices.com Division 1 campaign this weekend having only gained promotion from Division 2 the previous season. Utilising the village’s Community Field as their home ground, Durrus outlasted Castletown Celtic, Drinagh Rangers B and Clonakilty AFC B to finish runners-up behind Division 2 champions Clonakilty Town. A record of eleven wins four draws and just three losses was a terrific return in one of the hardest WCL divisions to gain promotion from.
A 4-0 Parkway Hotel Maybury Coaches Cup defeat to Premier Division side title-challengers Drinagh Rangers got Durrus’ season underway last week but all their focus will be on a gaining a positive start to life in Division 1 away to Bunratty United tomorrow.
Durrus have also made a welcome return to the SuperValu West Cork Masters League over the past two seasons, competing in the annual summer league, cup and shield tournaments. Finishing fourth in their regional SuperValu Group B league, Durrus secured a Masters Bowl semi-final berth away to Clonakilty Town after winning four and drawing one of their ten league fixtures.
Yet, Durrus have reserved their best performances for this year’s prestigious SuperValu Masters Cup. Frankie Arundel, Dermot O’Donoghue and Kieran O’Donovan efforts earned a 3-2 first round victory away to Bantry Bay Masters which secured a quarter-final away to the Kealkil side’s other Masters team, Bantry Bay Seniors.
Frankie Arundel continued his terrific individual campaign by netting all three goals in a 3-0 triumph and setup a home semi-final against Cloughduv Celtic in the last four of the competition. Arundel is the current West Cork Masters League top goal-scorer with 15 strikes in a squad Clive Cremin, Donagh Cronin, Kieran Hourihane, Dermot O’Donoghue, Kieran O’Donovan, Aidan O’Donovan and Timmy O’Sullivan have also found the net.
So, a large Liverpool FC following not just in west Cork but throughout the county and beyond will have the chance to listen and engage with two of Ireland and the Anfield club’s most respected and decorated players at the Westlodge Hotel. It is an event Tadhg O’Sullivan hopes will attract a large attendance to the Bantry venue.
“There is a big Liverpool following all over Cork and Kerry too, so for many it will be only be a case of making the hour-long trip to Bantry for the chance to meet Ronnie and Ray,” O’Sullivan commented.
“The Westlodge is well capable of catering for anyone wishing to make a night of it and stay over. I’d be hoping to attract a big crowd and we will use the local newspapers and social media to get the word out there over the coming weeks.”
Tickets available to purchase from the Westlodge Hotel (027) 50360, from any Durrus FC club member or Tadhg O’Sullivan (086) 1774628. See the Durrus Castle FC Facebook page for further details.