It was a case of friends reunited when two of Ardoyne’s most respected and well-loved clerics had a chance meeting at the All-Ireland football final earlier this month.
Current Holy Cross Parish Priest Fr Gary Donegan was outside the famous Quinn’s pub near Croke Park with his father when he happened to bump into his predecessor Fr Aidan Troy as they were heading in to watch Dublin beat Kerry on September 18. The pair are avid gaelic football fans and Fr Gary said it was great to see his old colleague again.
“I was with my father and we looked up and I said ‘look who it is” said Fr Gary, a Fermanagh native who attended every championship match this year involving his home county with his father Michael.
“We got chatting away and laughing and reminiscing and we had a great conversation. Father Aidan is a Wicklow man but is a big supporter of Dublin and I think it was the first time that the rest of the 31 counties were supporting Dublin!”
He took the opportunity to take a snap of his 74-year-old dad with Fr Aidan, who is now based in Paris, to mark the occasion.
“It was a case of father meets Father!” he said.
Both priests have been hugely influential in the parish, not least for the roles they played in the dispute at Holy Cross Girls Primary ten years ago.
Fr Aidan was at the helm at that time and played a key role in trying to relieve community tensions. Since taking over as PP in 2008 Fr Gary has served the community with the same love and commitment.
Before Fr Aidan was transferred to Paris in 2008 many Ardoyne parishioners signed a petition pleading for him to be allowed to stay.