Joan Waychunas sets up the sign for the Team Fiona 10th Tee Fundraiser.
Last year, Philadelphia’s trophy-winning Gaelic footballers, the Mairead Farrells, brought home their second national championship in a row. But the tournament, held in San Francisco, left them in the hole.
So this year, with the Gaelic championships in Philadelphia’s Pennypack Park over the Labor Day weekend, their annual fundraising golf tournament, held on Sunday, May 20, allowed them to play a little catch-up on last year’s bills since travel expenses will be minimal this year.
It also allowed them to do a good turn for a fellow footballer.
The tenth tee at the bucolic Edgmont Country Club in Delaware County was dedicated to Team Fiona—the name chosen by the group of friends and former teammates of Fiona Kealy who are determined to raise money to help the County Down native and mother of a toddler pay for her cancer treatment.
Team Fiona, which numbers 14 so far, will be competing in the Team Livestrong Challenge Philly race on August 17-19. There’s a 5K and an 10K walk/run, along with a bike ride up to 100 miles.
“Fiona and I were teammates on the old Emerald Eagles,” said Mairead Farrell’s coach, Angela Mohan. “That was back when we won four national championships in a row. When she was diagnosed with cancer last year, we knew we had to do something.”
Several dozen golfers came out for the yearly event. At the 10th tee, they were asked to bet on whether they’d be able to put their ball into a ring set up on the faraway green. All the losses were going to Team Fiona. And some of the wins too.
Team Fiona has also scheduled a fundraiser on June 22 at Paddy Rooney’s Pub, 449 West Chester Pike, in Havertown, featuring jewelry from Newbridge Silver, an Irish company with strong ties to the Philadelphia area.
The participants in the Saturday morning “Boot Camp” run by Mohan, who is a fitness trainer, are all contributing to Team Fiona too. Last year, “Angel’s Army,” as they called themselves, used money donated via the Boot Camp to buy toys and books for children at Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. “This year the money from the camp goes to Fiona,” said Mohan.
It’s only fitting, says Joan Waychunas, like Mohan, a native of Tyrone and a former footballer, who ran the 10th tee fundraiser. “If it was anybody else, Fiona would be doing the same thing,” she said.
View our photos from Sunday’s golf tournament.