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Armagh men complete gruelling ‘Ardee 2 Armagh’ in aid of two children’s cancer charities

The cross-country run will took Francie and Kevin across three different counties - Louth, Monaghan and Armagh – on Saturday

Kevin Toner and Francie McMullen

Two men undertook a gruelling 75.9km run from ‘Ardee 2 Armagh‘ in aid of two children’s cancer charities.

On Saturday (January 27), Francie McMullen and Kevin Toner, who are both members of St Patrick’s GAC in Cullyhanna, departed Ardee, Co Louth at 7am.

They made their way towards Armagh City, prior to the Division Two, Round One opener between Armagh and Louth on the same evening, in game in which the Orchard County won by the slimmest of margins!

They undertook the charity run in aid of two very worthwhile causes – The Children’s Cancer Unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital and Childhood Cancer Ireland.

A JustGiving page, which had an original target of £3,000, has been set up. So far, the guys have managed to raise over £11,500!

Along the way, the pair visited each GAA club they come across, taking them through Tallanstown, Louth Village, Inniskeen, Sheelagh, Crossmaglen, Silverbridge, Cullyhanna, Newtownhamilton, Armaghbreague (Granemore) and finally through Francie’s home town of Keady.

With each club they pass, members of the local clubs tagged along for their leg of the route.

Francie, while he has a limited running background, was inspired to the challenge after his experience as a patient in the Macmillan Unit.

Indeed, this wasn’t the first time Francie has given back, as last year he raised over £6,000 for the unit by taking part in the Dublin Marathon.

He’s also raised money for the Mandeville Unit in Craigavon.

He said: “I was unwell 10 years ago and went through a process of treatment through the Macmillan Centre. I did get back to playing and once I finished then I had the idea to do something to raise a bit of funds for the charity that looked after me.

“I did the Dublin Marathon last October and that was kind of the start of it.”

He continued: “Armagh had been relegated from Division One and I work as the Operations Manager for Lough GAA, so I had a brainstorm during one of my big long runs that I’d like to run from Ardee to Armagh, or vice-versa, depending on where the match would take place in 2024.”

Speaking prior to the run Francie said he had been training for the big day and didn’t know if he’d be fit to watch the game! That he did – enjoying a nail-biting finish!

Said Francie: “Everybody’s affected by cancer, so if the money raised can go towards helping someone, somewhere, no matter how little or how large it is, then I think that it’s going to make the run worthwhile.”

You can donate to Francie and Kevin’s appeal using the JustGiving link here.

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