Packie Bonner to take part in Eamonn Deacy testimonial

Packie Bonner, one of the legendary Republic Of Ireland players, whose ‘hand of God’ moment at Italia 90 earned him Irish football immortality, will play at this weekend’s testimonial match for Eamonn ‘Chick’ Deacy.

Packie will join his former Republic of Ireland team-mate Paul McGrath and a host of Aston Villa legends at the game on Saturday, which will also incorporate the official renaming of Terryland Park as Eamonn Deacy Park.

The renaming ceremony takes place at 5pm and the game kicks-off at 5.30pm. As a result, those attending the match are asked to arrive early and gates will be open at 4pm.

The renaming ceremony will take place in the centre circle at 5pm when the ground is blessed by Fr Dick Lyng of St Augustine’s Church and Rev Gary Hastings of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church. The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring, will perform the official renaming ceremony.

There will be limited parking available at the ground, and people are urged to use the car-park at the Dyke Road, and to use public- transport where possible when travelling to the game.

For the match, an Aston Villa Legends selection will take on a Galway United XI in one half, and a West United XI in the other – West United is a club based in the Shantalla, West, and Claddagh area of the city centre with which Chick began and ended his career.

Deacy was one of just 14 players used by Ron Saunders when Aston Villa claimed the old English First Division in the 1980/81 season. Five of that squad – Tony Morley, Ken McNaught, Colin Gibson, Allan Evans, and Des Bremner – are travelling to Galway for the game, as is Ron Saunders.

Eamonn ‘Chick’ Deacy made 41 appearances for Villa over five seasons, scoring one goal. He rejected the chance to be part of the squad that won the European Cup in 1982, however, opting to take part in the Republic of Ireland trip to South America – he won four senior caps under Eoin Hand.

He also played 170 times for Galway United, captaining the side in its first season in the League of Ireland in 1977, and scored their first goal in the league, against Thurles Town in October 1977. He also played for Sligo Rovers and Limerick FC in the League of Ireland, as well as for Derby County in England.

He was also an accomplished Gaelic footballer, winning a County Minor Gaelic Footballer title with St Michael’s in 1969; and a West Board u-21 Gaelic Football title with the city club in 1972.

Ticket for Saturday’s game are €10 for adults, €5 for students, with children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by an adult admitted free.

Tickets are available from Hanley’s Menswear, OMG Records, Shop Street; Deacy’s, High Street; Monroe’s, Dominick Street; Ernie’s, Sea Road; Londis, Newcastle; Beauty Secrets, Westside; Clybaun Stores; and Lonergan’s and Cullinane’s in Salthill.

In the county, tickets are available from The Brogue Inn, Tuam; O’Brien’s Hardware, Loughrea; The Square Inn, Athenry; Londis, Oughterard; McPrionsias’s Spar, An Spidéal; Dooley’s, Moycullen; Kearney’s Centra, Oranmore; and Kerrigan’s Londis, Kilcolgan.

Tickets are also available from Terryland Park, or by logging on to www.galwaysoccer.com Gates open at 4pm. A special 88-page souvenir programme has also been produced for the game, and will be on sale for €5.

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