Bonagee Utd as they are now known, were formed in November 1970. They were known at that time as Arcade Athletic. The name Arcade derived from a cafe on Letterkenny's main street, which the late Paddy Mc Fadden managed, and where soccer minded people met. The name was later changed to Bonagee Celtic, and then to its present name Bonagee Utd.
Prior to Arcade’s formation, teams from the Bonagee area, played in numerous summer cups. Matches were played in a field belonging to the Patton family in Magheraboy, and also in a field belonging to Robert Wylie, which now forms part of the new road, leading to Ballybofey. The club is also indebted to the Murphy family, Drumnahoe, for the free use of their land, which is now Donaghy motor Homes.
In May 1971. two and a half acres of land, behind the old Dry Arch Inn, was purchased from local farmer George Bates, at a cost of 1000 (Pounds) a deposit of £250 was paid, with the remainder paid over a period of time.
The first committee of Arcade was as follows: Chairperson; Brian Drain, Long Lane, Secretary. Peter Mc Glynn Treasurer; Paddy Mc Fadden (RIP). Other committee members were, Gerard Crearand; Frankie Doherty; Louis Bradley; Ernie O Reilly; Joey Hegarty; Danny Mc Laughlin; Pete Devine; Ken Kirwan; Liam Mc Namee, and the present chief inspector of referees in Donegal, John Duffy.
In May 1971, the Donegal league was formed, at a meeting in the old Vocational school, Letterkenny. Paddy Mc Fadden, was the leagues first chairman, a position he held until 1979. He also served as secretary of the league from 1986 until 1990. He was also an executive member of the FAI, and was Donegal's representative to them for 20 years. He worked in an administrative capacity, with both the Donegal and Ulster senior leagues, and Ulster football Association. He was also afforded the great honor of president of the Donegal league.
Arcades first official league match was away to Annagry, which resulted in a 6/0 defeat. Present club stalwart Eric Funston, lined out at centre-half that day. The first season commenced in March 1972, and the legendary Joe Devine, was Arcades top scorer. Manager in that first season was Frankie Doherty, assisted by Brian Drain. Niall Mc Laughlin conducted training in the boxing club gym. When the Donegal Saturday league was formed, we entered a team in Division 1, which was managed by the late Hugh Mc Kay. Hugh held most positions within the club, and was a great community activist. Chris Wade was at the helm, when the first ever official trophy, came to the club in 1995, as they lifted the Downtown cup, defeated Pharmacia in the final at Ballyare. In 1996. Johnny Moore was managing, when they clinched the Division 1 title.
The on-field success of any club is based upon having, a good under-age structure, and Bonagee has never strayed far from their policy, of using local based players, and to that end, has always had a great relationship with Lurgybrack schoolboys, a link formed in 1976, when Lurgybrack won the first ever Letterkenny and District league, in a competition sponsored by the late Paddy Mc Fadden (Sportsman Shop), and that team featured current club members, Liam Haughey, and Seamus O Donnell. That link was further strengthened recently, with the Schoolboys, now under the "umbrella" of Bonagee. The vast majority of players, who represent our adult teams, have emerged through this structure. At present there are two u16, two u14, two u12, three u10 and three u8 under-age teams’ competiting in the Letterkenny and District Schoolboy/girl League. Club secretary John Lafferty is a tireless underage co-ordinater, and is also secretary of the Donegal schoolboy’s league. The club also have teams in the Donegal League Div 2, the youth league u18, the Ulster Senior League and the Senior LeagueDiv 1
When the Donegal youth league was formed, Bonagee was one of 19 teams that entered in that inaugural year, and have remained ever present members since, and act as a vital stepping stone, to the senior teams. The vast majority of Tony O’ Carroll's exciting USL First Division double winning side of season 2008/9 emerged from the previous year's successful youth team
Bonagee was involved from the inception, when the Ulster senior league was formed in 1986. The aim was to improve the overall standard of football, and facilities at intermediate level. Fanad proved to be the dominant force in the earlier seasons, but in recent years, has seen it become a more open league. A switch to summer soccer was adopted in 2007, and a first Division added. Bonagee clinched the double in that Division last season. They won the league cup in 2004, when the Danny Mc Connell managed side defeated Fanad. They were also beaten finalists in 1994, by Letterkenny Rovers, at Swilly Pk, when Joe Logan was manager. Other USL managers were Liam Mc Laughlin. Seamus O Donnell. Bobby Toland. Patsy Mc Gowan. Sean Davis, Dougie Wood. Mick Lagan, and Dermot Dunne. Current manager is the experienced Peter Moran and his emphasis is on producing home grown players, playing an attractive brand of football.
A development programme was initated in 1998, in response to demands for all weather and training facilities. covered spectator stand, and indoor recreational facilities The work completed to date is a general purpose hall, together with toilet and kitchen facilities, and a meeting room for club members and the wider community. Also two astro turf pitches, complete with floodlighting, and extra dressing room, referees room, and the car park recently concreted. Over €1,000000 has been spent to date, with grant aid of €360,000 received from the department of sport. None of this would have been possible, without the generosity of the local public and the then minister for sport, Doctor Jim Mc Daid. The Dry Arch Pk venue is widely regarded as amongst the best in the North West. The facilities have regularly hosted domestic junior/intermediate cup finals, the intermediate interprovinsials, and the Ladies all-Ireland intermediate cup, won by Kilmacrennan.
Club members, who have represented Ireland at various levels, include Liam Mc Laughlin (Rathmullan). Marisa Gildea, Noel O Donnell, Marty Mc Ginty Ryan Rainey, Shawn Hume and Michael Funston who came through the youth ranks. Michael is currently enjoying his second spell with Finn Harps. Shawn Patton is with Finn Harps u19s and has also played for the Harps seniors ,saving a penalty on his debut. Ryan Rainey has joined English first division side Wolves and Shawn Hume has just moved to Scottish side Aberdeen
From humble beginnings, when the club fielded just one team, to the present current set up where service is voluntarily given, with the venue acting as a focal point for the local community. The present set up is a lasting legacy to our founding members, whose reward was seeing young people, doing constructive things with their life. Sadly those former committee members who are no longer with us, and whom we fondly remember for their immense contribution are, Billy Baird. Hughie Mc Guinness. Paddy Mc Fadden. Alan Wylie (Cullion Rd). Joe Hegarty. Hugh Mc Kay. Davie Fisher, Seamus Tourish and Barney Crampsie.
All monies raised through weekly lotto sales, annual draws,hosting of pantomime etc, are reinvested in the facilities, for the benefit of the whole community.
We would fail to exist without our sponsors. We would like to thank all the sponsors who have helped the club in anyway over the years. Our present major sponsor is Enda Nicholls of Arena 7. Also many thanks to all our supporters, and a special mention to the club's number one fan Ciarian Mc Kay