Money pours in at country’s longest coffee morning in County Limerick

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Mike O' Donoghue, host, serves Willie Ryan in Pallasgreen     Picture Michael Cowhey

Mike O' Donoghue, host, serves Willie Ryan in Pallasgreen Picture Michael Cowhey

THE BEVERAGES were still warm at the end of the longest coffee ‘morning’ in the country when the organisers were already planning for next year.

“We’re going for the Guinness Book of World Records,” declared Mike O’Donoghue.

It was in his home in Pallasgreen that 327 men, women and children had a cuppa, slice of cake and supported the Irish Cancer Society.

“The first person in the door was at 7.50am and the last one to leave was at ten past midnight,” said Mike, who has run this event for the last four years.

This year was by far his biggest. At times Mike’s yard could have been mistaken for a supermarket car-park the day before Storm Emma.

When everyone walked in the door they were given a warm welcome by Mike and three young ladies wearing bright yellow T-shirts – Saoirse Corbett, aged 20, Tara Campbell, 17, and Sarah Dillon, 13. 

All three spent the whole day helping Mike and looking after callers. 

“They are unreal. Where would you get three youngsters working for 16 hours in a row for nothing. We are a team,” said Mike.

Close to 100 more came this year compared to 2017 and an extra €1,000 was collected. 

“At the moment it is €4,896 and we will go over five grand because money is still coming in. It was €3,820 last year,” said Mike. One of the more unusual donations was €50 from a man, who said he had a race with a friend over 40 years ago for £1. He won but his friend didn’t pay up – until last week. A crisp €50 note was handed over and this went into Mike’s bucket.

The Pallasgreen man holds the event for the Irish Cancer Society as he is a survivor. Saoirse, Tara and Sara have all been touched by the terrible disease – as has practically everyone.

Saoirse lost her dad Bobby to cancer when he was only 40.

“I am delighted to help out because it is a very good cause. I took the day off college to help out. My family has known Mike for years. He is a family friend,” said Saoirse.

Tara’s grandmother had cancer, as did her grand uncle and grand aunt.

“I just love helping out and getting involved. I’d love to be a nurse when I finish school,” said Tara. 

Sarah was up at 7am that morning making cakes and cycled down to Mike’s house for 8.30am.

“It is really good. Some of my friends from football are coming along,” said Sarah.

All three were there until after midnight – that’s commitment to fighting cancer.