The Abbey Vocational School, in partnership with CLG Dhún na nGall, launched its newly upgraded gym facilities on Tuesday evening, helped by sponsorship from the Abbey Hotel. Elaime McInaw of the Abbey stressed the hotel was delighted to help fund an upgrade that was of major benefit to the school and to the wider Donegal town community while also tying in with CLG Dhún na nGall – the Abbey Hotel is, of course, one of the county team’s main sponsors but this financing is above and beyond the existing framework.
County Donegal stars who attended the launch – Jamie Brennan, Hugh McFadden and Paddy McGrath – all professed themselves delighted with the enhanced facilities. Hugh spoke about how ease of access to the gym for players in the south of the county would enable them to complete their Strength and Conditioning programmes much more efficiently, a point echoed by Jaime who said it would now be “a focal point … in South Donegal” for panellists of all County teams including development squads.
Geraldine Diver, Principal in Abbey VS, spoke eloquently and persuasively about passion for sport in the school among both pupils and staff. As a former PE teacher, who had spent a lot of time “on sidelines” and “was passionate about football and GAA”, Geraldine was particularly delighted with the new facilities. All of the 950 students in Abbey VS take part in Physical Education and all students in the Junior Cycle undertake PE as an exam subject, completing a PE “short course”. At Senior level Abbey VS is a pilot school, one of very few across Ireland, for PE as a Leaving Certificate subject. Pupils and staff members, who also spoke, echoed the Principal’s enthusiasm for the enhanced facilities.
County chairperson Mick Murphy, among others, reserved special praise for CLG Dhún na nGall’s Games Development Manager Aaron Kyles. Aaron was the driving force, charged with finding a solution to the County teams’ problems with accessing suitable gym facilities in South and South West Donegal. He identified the solution, brought all parties together and made it happen – without his efforts Tuesday’s launch would not have taken place. Maith an fear, Aaron.