Westmeath to host week-long FAI footy fest

The county will become the centre of Irish football next week when the Football Association of Ireland hosts a festival of football and its AGM in the county.

The six-day event will run from Monday July 21, and will feature a wide range of football-related events culminating in the FAI’s 93rd Annual General Meeting in Athlone’s Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday July 26.

The 2014 AGM will mark the end of Athlone man Paddy McCaul’s four-year term of office as FAI president.

A key part of the week will be the club visits with the FAI delegation - led by Paddy McCaul and chief executive John Delaney - planning to visit all 21 clubs across Westmeath, as well as Custume Barracks and AIT.

There is also to be a civic reception from Westmeath County Council on Thursday, July 24.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill will also visit during the week, and will be present at the inaugural Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporters Clubs Conference in Mullingar on July 23 at which RISSC representatives from around the world will be in attendance.

There will also be a week-long summer soccer school at Mullingar Athletic in Gainstown, a ‘Soccer Sisters’ camp at Monksland FC, and coaching workshops in AIT.

On Tuesday there will be an exhibition match under adapted rules in Custume Barracks between a Defence Forces selection and the Irish Amputee Football Association’s international team which is currently preparing for their first World Cup in Mexico in December.

On Wednesday there will be a FIFA ‘Live Your Goals Festival of Football’ aimed at girls of all ages in Burgess Park in Athlone, from 2pm to 5pm, which will run alongside the ‘Football Fun Day’ at the same venue.

As well as boosting the profile of football in Westmeath, the FAI will also make equipment, funds, match tickets, and services available to clubs under a special club support programme, worth up to €100,000, to mark the county’s hosting of the AGM.

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