Donegal Philadelphia Since 1988
THE HISTORY OF DONEGAL PHILADELPHIA
2018 was a special year for the club. With the senior and junior teams both retaining their Philadelphia titles – both teams went on to win the North American Senior and Junior championship on special Sunday in Malvern. The squads that weekend was:
Senior – Aaron Cooney (Laois), Conor Canavan (Delco), Aidy O’Gara (Donegal), Paul McArdle (Monaghan), Mickey Murnaghan (Monaghan), Liam Ryan (Leitrim), Liam Casey (Tipperary), Daniel Clarke (Donegal), Cormac Callaghan (Donegal), Michael Metzer (Monaghan), Alan Russell (Donegal), Ruairi McElwee (Derry), Brendan Bradley (Antrim), Joe Rogers (Sligo), Gearoid Canavan (Galway), Conor Doherty (Donegal), Cathal Dunne (Laois), Peter Cassidy (Derry),
Junior - James Cannon (Donegal), Conor Mc Cormick (Donegal), Chris Shields (Delco), Owen O’Connell (Delco), Richard McElern (Derry), Tommy Higgins (Delco), Mick O’Rourke (Meath), Diarmuid (Monaghan), Paul McDaid (Donegal), Ciarán Porter (Donegal), Paul Butcher (Derry), Stevie Robinson (Derry),Rory Connor (Donegal), Joe Cunningham (Delco), Seamus Corry (Delco), Gerard Bourke (Delco), Shaun Durnin (Delco), Rory O’Connell (Delco)
The season was wrapped up with a fantastic dinner dance with Peter Canavan(Tyrone) and Niel Gallagher (Donegal) in attendance.
Senior Player of the Year - Conor Canavan
Junior Player of the Year - Paul McDaid
Young Player of the Year - Tommy Higgins Jnr.
Clubmen of the Year - Seamus Sweeney & Mickey McMeel
Liam Hegarty Award - Pat Bourke
In 1988 the club was founded by...
By 1997 many of the original cast had moved on and a new crew stepped in to help those that continued running the club. People like Leo Mohen, Colette Mohen, Bill McHugh, Louie Bradley, John McDaid (Letterkenny); Barry McGroary (Drimarone); Cathal McHugh (Milford); Brendan Lotty (Cork); Seamus Sweeney (Cresslough), Tommy Higgins (Galway), Dermott O'Donnell (Ramelton); Kevin Weidamayer and Kevin Marion (Philadelphia). However, the next few years proved to be tough, and the senior team lost their Philadelphia Title in 1997, 1998, & 1999 to good teams. The junior team went to the 1998 finals in Washington but lost to Florida in the final.
The 2000 season was back to winning ways with victory in both the Senior and Junior Championships that year in Philadelphia. Both teams lost their respective semi final games at the NAB Championship in Boston. 2001 and 2002 brought additional senior titles in Philly but again no success at the North American Championships. It was obvious to most members that the club needed to rebuild by taking a step down to Intermediate. Donegal GFC won their first Intermediate Title since 1990 in Philadelphia and this time they went on to Boston and beat two very good teams from Boston and San Francisco.
The big break came in 1990 when Termon native Christy Ryan came to the club and with him came five excellent footballers: James Brady (Termon, Donegal), Declan McNicholl (Derry), Dominic Bradley (Derry), Eddie and Frankie Fitsimmons (Belfast).
These players were to form the backbone to the club for the next 7 years and in that time the team won seven straight Philadelphia Senior championships, reaching five North American finals, winning three Senior North American Titles and lost in the final of the North American championships 1994 and 1996.
In 1990 the club also won the Philadelphia junior championship.
The junior team won the Philadelphia Title three times and was beaten finalists twice. Over that time, we have had great club members from all over Ireland, some of the long-term members of the club have since returned to Ireland like Manus O'Connor, Mickey Duddy, Ivor Gallagher, Dominic Bradley and his family, Eddie and Frank Fitsimmons and their families, James Brady and his family. All these people are a great loss to any club, and we are forever grateful for their years of dedication and friendship.
Founding members: Eamon Cunningham (Ardara), Ivor Gallagher (Cranford), Manus O'Connor (Downings), Patsy and Mickey Duddy (Churchill), John Flood (Termon) Jimmy Doherty (Clomany), Peggy and Charlie Murray (Mountcharles), Patrick McGroarty (Mountcharles), Charlie McElwee (Glenfin) , Danny Doogen (Glenties)
The group got together in the winter of 1987 and worked to form the Donegal Philadelphia GFC. With great support of the Donegal Association they registered the club and competed in the 1988 Philadelphia championship.