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Donegal All Star to do Great Ethiopian Run for VLM

By editor - 21 November, 2014

Paul Durcan - Donegal goalkeeper and All Star. Pic courtesy: GAA.ie

Paul Durcan – Donegal goalkeeper and All Star. Pic courtesy: GAA.ie

By Sean Ryan

Donegal’s All-Star GAA goalkeeper, Paul Durcan, departed for Ethiopia on Thursday to take part in the Great Ethiopian Run on Sunday in Addis Ababa on behalf of the Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM).

It all came about through his friendship with Fr Michael McCullough from Dungloe, who said Mass for the Donegal team in the Johnstown House Hotel before their All-Ireland final meeting with Kerry in September.

“I met Fr Michael again at KN Networks, with CEO Donagh Kelly of Donegal Town. KN Networks are sponsoring the trip over to Ethiopia. They approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing something for charity. Fortunately, my employers in 3D Personnel are giving me the time off.”

“I’ll be running the 10k on Sunday morning in Addis Ababa, which is 4,000 feet up, so that is the toughest side of it. I’m confident enough of getting around, but I think I’ll let Ghebre Hailie Selassie off! I’ve no set time in mind to finish.”

Paul Durcan with Michelle Cassidy (VLM Board of Management) at VLM's recent Gala Ball

Paul Durcan with Michelle Cassidy (VLM Board of Management) at VLM’s recent Gala Ball

Ghebre Hailie Selassie is the famous Ethiopian Olympic champion, who will also be running on Sunday.

As a goalkeeper, Paul admits he “wouldn’t do all the running that outfield players do in training. We train for the same length of time but differently.”

VLM have a lot of projects in Ethiopia, but some of them are too far away for Paul to visit as he returns to Dublin on Monday.

“On Friday, I’m going to visit a school for the deaf with Fr Stephen Monaghan, chaplain to VLM and former national chaplain to the Deaf in Ireland. I’m interested in seeing that. It’s only been set up for four years.

“Sponsorship details are on the VLM website, and people who are interested in donating can go through that. Hopefully, we can raise something for these worthy projects.”

Based in Dublin while playing for Donegal requires a lot of sacrifices on Paul’s part, so now that he has won everything – All-Ireland, Ulster Championships and two All-Star awards – is there a danger that he will lack the hunger to continue?

“Oh, the hunger is back again after this year,” he responded, especially after losing the way we did to Kerry in the final.”

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