GOAL Mile in Roscommon on Christmas Day to be biggest yet

The Roscommon Town Christmas Day GOAL Mile will be the biggest yet – and hopefully the most successful. That was the theme of the launch of this year’s event, which was held recently in Down The Hatch in Church Street.   Present at the launch were Roscommon senior hurling team manager David McConn, who will lead this year’s event, Mervyn Connaughton, captain of the Roscommon senior team in 2007 and local inter-county hurlers Liam Casey and David Casey, Ronan Scully of GOAL and other members of the local organising committee, local community leaders, councillors and sporting personalities.   Master of Ceremonies and chairperson of the organising committee Mr. Seamus Duke said that this was the fourth GOAL Mile on Christmas Day in Roscommon town.    ‘We started four years ago in six inches of snow at Hyde Park but we have learned and improved every year – and it is growing every year too.    ‘Tony McManus, Michael Finneran, Denis Naughten and Fergal O’Donnell have led the GOAL Mile so far and I’m delighted to have David McConn to do it this year.    ‘It was a great year for Roscommon hurling and I am grateful to David, who travelled from Ballyhaunis tonight to be here. When I asked him to do this job he agreed without a second’s hesitation and that’s a mark of the man’ he said.   Seamus Duke said that he was also grateful to Mervyn Connaughton for coming on the night and he had a special word for Roscommon Gaels hurlers David and Liam Casey and said he hoped that they could help to bring the Mickey Cunniffe Cup back to Roscommon town very soon. He appealed for people to come along to The Square at 1.15 pm on Christmas Day and to take sponsorship cards.    ‘I promise that everyone will be back at home before 2 pm on the day. It’s a great way to get a bit of fresh air and help those less fortunate than ourselves’ he concluded.   Ronan Scully is the Western representative of GOAL and he said he was delighted at the attendance on the night.    ‘It’s great to see people like Tony McManus and Seamus Hayden and the Roscommon hurlers and others here tonight. It’s fantastic the way this GOAL Mile in Roscommon has become such a success. I would also like to thank David McConn for coming from Ballyhaunis and agreeing to lead the Mile this year’ he said.    Ronan Scully explained that GOAL are concentrating their efforts on two major areas at the moment. ‘We are in Bangladesh, where there is a serious problem after the recent cyclone, where many people have lost their lives and many more have lost their homes. We are also still in Darfur and I know that there are a few Roscommon people working for GOAL in Darfur – and would you believe that there will actually be a GOAL Mile in Darfur on Christmas Day too!’ he said.   ‘This is a great way to give to others. It’s only a mile and a few minutes out of Christmas Day. There are now 65 Christmas Day GOAL Miles around the country and it’s great that the Roscommon town people are one of the communities involved – and I can tell you it has become one of our most successful in recent years.    ‘I would sincerely like to thank the Roscommon town committee for their work and I urge people to turn up on the day’ he concluded.   Special Guest on the night Mr. David McConn appealed for support for the GOAL Mile. He said he was delighted to be associated with the fund-raiser.    ‘GOAL is a wonderful organisation. They started in 1977 and they are 30 years old this year. I remember 1977 (the beginning) because Athleague hurlers were going well at that time.    ‘I also remember that Eamonn Coghlan was going well at the time too and in the mid 1980’s in a major fund-raiser, GOAL put together an Irish team that broke the world 4 x 1 mile record and that record still stands today. GOAL has been a great organisation (which is) connected with sports people and they have done fantastic work over the years’ he said.   David McConn also appealed to people to take the fund-raiser seriously. ‘Don’t go home here tonight and just leave it at that. I want you all to get at least two members of your family to agree to make a donation to GOAL, instead of buying presents. It would be a great way to celebrate the Chistmas, by giving to others’ he said.   ‘