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Daragh’s Day Raises Over €4,700 for Local Autism Charities

// 16 Jun 2020

The family of Daragh McNally were back at Oriel Park on Monday afternoon to present a cheque of €2,000 to the Maria Goretti Foundation, the residential respite care centre for children which is based in Lordship.

The proceeds were raised from a bucket collection that formed part of the ‘Daragh’s Day’ initiative that the club held during the first home game of the season against Derry City back on February 14th.

Aimed at celebrating Daragh’s life and raising awareness about autism, the Dundalk players proudly wore blue t-shirts during the warm-up, bearing an image of Daragh in his Dundalk FC kit, while Daragh’s brother Nathan and his father Paul raised the 2019 champions flag in front of the main stand.

Michael Duffy and Daniel Kelly wearing blue t-shirts in memory of Daragh McNally on the opening night of the season. Picture: Ciaran Culligan

Daragh’s mother, Colleen, his two little sisters Naoise and Layla, and his support dog Lenny then joined them to release 60 blue balloons from the centre circle.

As the balloons were released, the Shed sang ‘There’s only one Daragh McNally’ while the travelling Derry City fans also made a wonderful contribution by donating to the bucket collection and raising placards reading RIP Daragh.

“Daragh’s Day is a day that we will never forget,” said Colleen. “It was Valentine’s Day but, from early that morning, Facebook turned blue instead of red to remember our little boy.

“It continued on to Oriel Park that night where so many people supported the initiative and myself, Paul, our children and our family were completely overwhelmed by the love and support shown.

L-R: Gareth Doyle, Paula Dowdall (both Maria Goretti), Colleen McNally, Dundalk FC manager Vinny Perth and Paul McNally at the cheque presentation at Oriel Park. Picture: Ciaran Culligan

“It was a night that raised so much awareness for autism and everybody came together to raise a total of €4,700 for the Maria Goretti (Daragh’s funhouse) and his school, Realt na Meara.

“Autism awareness leads to autism acceptance,” she added “and this is what myself, Paul and our family will strive to do for the rest of our lives – with Daragh guiding us all the way.”

Everyone at Dundalk FC would like to thank the McNally and the Moran families, Christine Lee, our own supporters and the Derry City fans who took part on the night to ensure that Daragh’s name will live on.

Top picture: Dundalk captain Brian Gartland pictured with Colleen, Nathan and Paul McNally at the cheque presentation at Oriel Park. Picture: Ciaran Culligan