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Rival GAA clubs go the distance and raise over €90k for hospice

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Raheny GAA club member Mark Butler taking part in the run with Dublin star Brian Fenton

Raheny GAA club member Mark Butler taking part in the run with Dublin star Brian Fenton

Raheny GAA club member Mark Butler taking part in the run with Dublin star Brian Fenton

Members and friends of Raheny and Clontarf GAA clubs clocked over 70,000km in their respective neighbourhoods on Saturday to raise more than €90k for St Francis Hospice.

Such was the phenomenal level of support from the community in the rival clubs' 'Go the Distance' challenge that the online donations page crashed at one stage due to the sheer volume of donations.

Around a thousand club members as well as local families and friends took up the challenge by senior Dublin football legends Brian Fenton (Raheny), Brian Howard (Raheny) and Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf) to walk, run, cycle or even crawl within 5km of their homes on Saturday on behalf of their local GAA clubs.

Thanks to words of encouragement from the likes of rugby legends Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip and RTE's Marty Morrissey, participants raised almost 10 times the original fundraising goal of €10k.

"The sun's out - guns out," O'Driscoll said in a video posted on the charity's Facebook page to spur on supporters to "make sure you give your all and raise some brilliant funds".

In the end, Raheny was victorious, as it clocked 38,000km between 8am and 8pm, while Clontarf came a close second at 34,000 km.

The friendly rivalry between the clubs helped spur on the participants whose distances were recorded on a live leaderboard throughout the day.

Hopping

"It created a real sense of competition and community," hospice CEO Fintan Fagan told The Herald. "It's just a demonstration of the integrity of the lads and of Dublin GAA."

He said organisers were gobsmacked at the level of support from the community and had no idea the fundraiser would hit almost 10 times its initial target.

"It's an amazing sense of community spirit. The whole area was hopping," he said.

The funds raised will go to support the hospice, which like many charities is facing a severe drop in donations due to Covid-19.

Donations are being accepted until May 30 through SFH.ie or idonate.ie