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Donegal islanders leave en masse to attend Republic match

Published 26/03/2013

One-third of the population of a Co Donegal island will be at the Aviva Stadium tonight cheering on their pipe band.

The Arranmore Pipe Band will be providing pre-match and half-time entertainment as the Republic of Ireland take on Austria in a World Cup qualifier.

The pipers are getting to fulfil a dream after a promise made to them during a visit to their soccer club last summer by FAI chief John Delaney.

So 34 members of the band and 120 supporters from the island -- population 500 -- travelled the 5km by ferry  yesterday before boarding buses to Dublin.

Piping instructor Alec Brown (54), from Fife in Scotland, moved to the island in 2009 with his wife Marie Kelly and got the band going again.

"It's such a huge honour for such a small community and we intend to rise to the occasion," he said.

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