Former Cork All-Ireland winner and now a minor selector is urging people to support Sunday's fundraiser

Donncha O'Connor says the players deserve huge credit for organising the 5km run/walk in aid of Marymount Hospital and Hospice and Pieta House
Former Cork All-Ireland winner and now a minor selector is urging people to support Sunday's fundraiser

Donncha O'Connor, seen here on the right of  Micheál Quirke, Tony Leen, Oisin McConville,  is encouraging Cork people to support the minors' fundraising effort. Picture Dan Linehan

FORMER Cork star, Donncha O’Connor, is encouraging people to row in behind the county minor footballers’ fund-raiser on Sunday.

The 2010 All-Ireland winner is a first-time Cork minor selector this season along with manager Michael O’Brien, Daniel Cronin, Gary Sheehan and Martin O’Brien with Briain Morgan, the goalkeeper coach.

“We left it open to them to decide what charities would benefit and they came back with Marymount Hospital and Hospice and Pieta House. They’re good causes and Cork-based, as well,” O’Connor said.

“Hopefully, they will get as much support as possible because it would be nice to raise a good bit of money and the lads can certainly feel proud of all the effort they’ve put into it.

“In fairness to them, they are driving all this. Everyone knows we can’t meet up and it’s an opportunity for them to gell in some way.

“Last year another one of the selectors Daniel Cronin did something similar with the mid-west U16s.”

There are a number of ways the public can get involved. Those who are able can run or walk a 5km in their county or club colours.

You can also help promote the work undertaken by these charities by liking and sharing the event on various social media platforms.

The panel would encourage people to reach out to friends, family or teammates to get involved throughout the city and county.

And you can upload a picture of you in your club or county colours using the hashtag countycharityrun after completing your run or walk.

Alternatively, you may wish to support by donating through the fundraising link

Lockdown is particularly hard on youngsters and while all the uncertainty about fixtures and games is hugely frustrating, O’Connor said it has to be put in context.

“There are people very sick with this Covid and unfortunately dying from it, as well.

“It’s hard for fellows in their last year at minor and it might also be their only year, so you’d be delighted for them if there was a season.

“It’s frustrating for the lads not to be able to get out onto a pitch and play a game.

“We’re doing a bit of Zoom, but we’re careful not to overdo it because they’re on it during the day with school work.

“It’s okay for us to go on it for an hour twice a week, but for the lads it’s nearly all the time.

“They’re also doing their own programmes and you have to credit them for it because they’re very good and are taking responsibility for their own fitness levels.”

Everyone involved is waiting for news on when the season is going to start.

“We have no idea of what’s in store. We were banking on inter-county coming back at the end of April and we’d fall into line with that.

“But, at the moment I don’t think that has been decided yet, though we might know more on Friday, when the senior fixtures come out.

“The championship draw hasn’t even been made yet and it’s hard to be telling the lads it will be three more weeks all the time they’re asking us, when they would be allowed back on a pitch for non-contact training.

“You’d love to be able to give them a certain date, but we can’t.”

O’Connor is making the step-up to minor after Conor Counihan asked him to get involved at U16 level last season.

“I presumed it would be with the north division, but they had plenty of fellows, so Morgan O’Sullivan and Daniel approached me for the mid division.

“I told them I wasn’t too bothered about who I teamed up with and as it was the mid and west divisions came together.

“I enjoyed it and while I was still playing with Ballydesmond and Duhallow, it was only once a week so it wasn’t that time consuming.

“The minors, though, will be a different story altogether and I’ve no doubt it will be full on once it gets up running.”

O’Connor is waiting to resume with his club Ballydesmond first and later with Duhallow.

“I’ll have no choice with Ballydesmond and sure we’ll be having this conversation, I suppose, in another 10 years, too,” he joked.

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