By Damian Dolan
Tara Camogie Club is covering a distance of 1532km to raise money for the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast, in memory of the team’s ‘number one supporter’.
Tierna ‘Teeny’ McMullan, the younger sister of Tara manager Padraig, died last month just six weeks after being diagnosed with leukaemia. She was 22.
Tara began their fundraiser just two days before Teeny’s passing, but with the consent of the McMullan family decided to continue its challenge in her memory and raise funds for the ICU unit at Royal Victoria, where Teeny was treated.
Having set itself an initial target of £1,000, Tara have already raised more than £6,700.
Padraig was in London when his sister, who had Down’s Syndrome, was diagnosed and rushed into hospital.
“It was a shock; I was home the weekend before and she just wasn’t in her usual form,” said Padraig. “She was then diagnosed with leukaemia.
“She had her first bout of treatment, but her poor wee body just wasn’t strong enough.” Teeny was surrounded by her family when she passed away on 21 April.
Tara’s Joni Traynor had already told Padraig of the team’s desire to do something to raise some money for the ICU unit at Royal Victoria.
Padraig added: “The family wanted them [Tara] to carry it on in Teeny’s memory – the ICU unit were brilliant with my sister.
“The [Tara] girls are doing fantastic and we’ve just been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from them. They’re always on the phone and messaging – it helps to make things that wee bit easier when things are tough.”
A huge Tara supporter, Teeny was decked out in her Tara jersey for the team’s All-Ireland Junior camogie quarter-final with Armagh’s Ballymacnab in Glenavy in October.
Between 20 April and 20 May, the club’s players will (remotely) run, walk and cycle 1532km – the distance between Tara’s home pitch at Tir Chonaill Gaels in Greenford and Cushendall in Co Antrim, and back again.
“The continued support and generosity so far has been incredible and we are determined to complete the challenge,” said Tara Camogie.
Padraig took over as manager of Tara in 2018 and helped the club win two All-Britain titles.
He also hurled for Robert Emmetts and won back-to-back senior championships in 2015 and 2016.