Donegal to take on Roscommon in Ballyshannon

William Doogan, chairperson Aodh Ruadh, Ballyshannon; Jim McGuinness, Donegal GAA Senior Football team manager, Fergus McGee, Donegal GAA Chairman and Patrick McBrearty. Photo taken at in the GAA Centre, Convoy to launch the Donegal v Roscommon Charity Challenge Match

The first game for Donegal under the reign of Jim McGuinness will take place on Sunday 17th December against Roscommon in a charity challenge game at Fr Tierney Park in Ballyshannon (Throw in 1.30pm).

The teams first outing will also see the first game played on the new surface at the home of Aodh Ruadh CLG, Béal Átha Seanaigh.

The charity partner will be the North West Hospice. North West Hospice provides palliative care services for people with life limiting illnesses where they are residing, be that at home, in a nursing home, hospital or in our hospice. Palliative care involves meeting an individual and assessing their needs and those of their families , spiritually, physically , socially and emotionally. These needs are then addressed with the aim of improving quality of life for the patients and their family. In order to provide this care, North West hospice has a team of professionals including Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and chaplaincy services.

The last time Ballyshannon played host to the senior county side was on 1st March 2020 when Declan Bonner’s men saw off Monaghan in the Division 1 of the National Football League on a scoreline of 2-12 to 0-8. Indeed, the Erneside ground has generally proved a happy hunting ground for Donegal down the years.

There’s been quite a bit of water under the Aodh Ruadh bridge since that win over the Farney men, and the Park has seen major redevelopment with €750,000 invested in the pitch and spectator facilities.

The playing surface has been completely refurbished with the clay pitch being replaced with a Prunty pitch over the course of two years of dedicated and patient work. At 145 metres by 87 metres it is now one of the biggest grounds in the county. The Hospital side of the grounds is fully terraced, while the northern end of the pitch is now also substantially terraced. Further plans are in place for upgrading of spectator facilities, primarily focused on stand seating at the southern side of the pitch.

The original Father Tierney Park was opened on 9 May 1954. The new park took its name from a parish priest who had served in Saint Joseph’s in the town. Father Tierney had been a great supporter of Gaelic Games and Irish culture in the locality. He later went on the missions to war-torn China, where he lost his life in 1931. At the official opening, Canon McQuaid of Bundoran, assisted by Father McElroy of Saint Joseph’s Church blessed the new football field, which was formally opened by President of the Ulster Council, Armagh man, Alf Murray. The official opening was followed by a challenge match between Donegal and Armagh with Donegal defeating the 1953 All-Ireland finalists on a scoreline of 1-6 to 0-5.

Coincidentally, another Armagh man, Jarlath Burns, on becoming Uachtarán CLG, will be on hand for the official opening of the ground in 2024, the 70th anniversary of the Park’s first opening.

Tickets are available for the game via the official Donegal GAA website. Adult tickets cost €10, OAP’s and students (over 16) €5, while children (under 16) are free. Just follow the link: