Irish star steps in to make Francis’s dream a reality

Thumbs up for the Toffees: Francis with his new Everton jersey, courtesy of fellow supporter Eoin Mulligan

Thumbs up for the Toffees: Francis with his new Everton jersey, courtesy of fellow supporter Eoin Mulligan

Irish soccer star Séamus Coleman has been hailed a hero after donating €2,000 to get locals Francis Conmy and Eoin Mulligan to Liverpool to watch their beloved Everton FC.

The touching story of Eoin and Francis’s friendship reached all corners of the country and further afield in the last few weeks. Francis, who has Asperger’s, is a regular customer of Supermac’s on the Ballymahon Road in Athlone where Eoin works. Eoin has described Francis’s visits as brightening up his days. As a thank you, Eoin recently bought Francis the new Everton jersey with his favourite player’s name on the back - Wayne Rooney.

After posting a video on Facebook of Francis’s delight at receiving the present, Eoin was contacted by management at Supermac’s to tell him both he and Francis would be going to watch a match at Goodison Park and meet the team.

However, despite Francis falling ill and being unable to get to the game, Eoin decided to start a GoFundMe page to enable a return trip.

His target of €1,100 was smashed by none other than Irish international and Everton star, Séamus Coleman, who sent a €2,000 donation and the message: “Sorry you couldn’t make it to the game Francis. I hope you’re feeling better now. Hopefully this helps get you and Eoin your flights and accommodation for another game and I’m sure the club will look after you as always.”

Eoin expressed his admiration for Coleman’s generosity on Facebook and thanked everyone who have contacted him and contributed to the trip.

“I am literally speechless,” he wrote. “Not only is Séamus an inspiration to thousands of people across Ireland but he is also one of Francis’s favourite players of all time.

“The fact that someone of Séamus’s stature could reach out like this and help someone says a lot about his character. These last few days have proved to me the world is a lot brighter of a place than we think.”

The remaining money from the GoFundMe page will be donated to Aspire, the charity for people with Asperger’s in Ireland.

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