Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Anna McAree

Derry superfan's dream comes true after community rally to get him to FAI Cup final

Derry City's spectacular win in the Aviva Stadium against Shelbourne meant the world to the thousands of supporters who travelled to Dublin.

However, there are few who it meant more to than 22-year-old Derry superfan Darren McClelland.

Due to Darren's life-limiting condition and complex needs, he needed an ambulance transfer to be able to travel to the stadium, and funds were required to secure this.

Read more: "I love my city like everybody else" - Derry man on travelling thousands of kilometres for FAI Cup Final

Due to recent poor health, Darren had been unable to see his beloved Derry City team in action at the Brandywell, so did not think it could even be possible to see them in glory in Dublin.

After a social media post by SDLP's Mark H Durkan, the Derry football community made Darren's dream come true by reaching the required funds of £1,500 in less than half an hour.

Thanks to the effort of the local people of Derry, it meant that as the Derry City team secured their victory, Darren was in the stands to see it all happen.

Speaking following Derry City’s 4-0 victory over Shelbourne, Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said: "Darren’s mum Orla reached out to me late last week to share their story.

"Darren is a familiar face at the Brandywell and sadly, his health problems meant he can no longer sit in his wheelchair. As such, he missed out on watching his beloved Derry City FC and the impact has taken its toll on his mental wellbeing.

"Orla explained that Darren required stretcher ambulance transfer to the Aviva Stadium but at £1,500 this wasn’t within their budget. I launched a GoFundMe appeal late on Thursday evening and was amazed that the target was reached in record time- in less than thirty minutes.

"I'm delighted that Sunday ran so smoothly and were able to make Darren’s dream come true. Yesterday was a special day for so many City supporters.

"It was even more special for Darren McClelland, who travelled to the game in an ambulance thanks to the humbling generosity of the Derry public."

After the match, superfan Darren was even visited by James McClean, who donated to the fundraiser to ensure that Darren could make it to the Aviva stadium.

Mark H Durkan said: "After watching Derry lift the cup, the icing in the cake for Darren was when he got a visit from one of his footballing heroes, James McClean.

"James had kindly donated money to our fundraising appeal and he showed he is even more generous with his time and really made Darren's day.

"It’s important to share the good news stories especially amid what has been a pretty dreary news landscape of late. Derry pride is soaring high this week and rightly so. Massive respect to James and the people of Derry for their contribution, this weekend has been one of making memories."


To get the latest breaking news from Co Derry straight to your inbox, sign up to our free newsletter.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.