Legends to line out at Eamonn Deacy on Saturday
Galway United’s home turf is set to host some of the biggest stars that have ever graced Irish soccer history, when a star-studded Republic of Ireland Masters squad will take on a select Galway Legends outfit on the afternoon of April 8 in an effort to raise funds for grassroots football across the county.
A Q&A, hosted by Hector O’ hEochagain with Whelan, Houghton, Andy Townsend and Tony Cascarino, will take place in the Connacht Hotel the night before, from 7.30 pm on April 7. Tickets for this and for the game itself are €10.
The ROI Masters project was set up in 2013 by Mark O’Neill and Mick Byrne so that retired players between the ages of 35 and 60 have the opportunity to continue playing the game they love, as well as representing their country – already the not-for-profit body has raised almost €500,000 for various charities.
The project focuses on offering retired professional players who are aged over 35 the opportunity to stay longer in the game they love, and to represent their country at Masters International level. The project's ultimate purpose is to give players the opportunity to sustain a healthy lifestyle and wellness after they leave the professional game. Most importantly, it fosters an ethos of awareness about mental health and physical health issues in sport whilst participating in charity work.
A spokesperson for the project said; "A large proportion of the games are focused towards family and community audiences in which we promote a fun, enjoyable, safe, and relaxed football environment.
"The Football Association of Ireland (FAI ) along with the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI ) have given their unequivocal backing to this initiative by placing executive members on the steering committee. To date, the squad have played international fixtures against Northern Ireland, England, the Czech Republic, Wales and a friendly game against Ajax.
"The Republic of Ireland Masters squad have also played a total of 31 charity related games throughout Ireland. These games have helped to raise over €400, 000 for various football clubs and charitable organisations around Ireland. The squad is primarily formed with former professional League of Ireland players aged between 35-45 years old, however we always feature at least a minimum of three former FAI International senior players in each fixture.
"To date we have included Packie Bonner, Niall Quinn, Liam O'Brien, Ronnie Whelan, Tony Cascarino, Ray Houghton, Mark Kinsella, Phil Babb, Jason Mc Ateer, Steven Hunt, Keith Andrews, Dominic Foley, and Paul McGrath in recent games."
The Republic of Ireland Masters will take on a Galway Legends XI at Eamonn Deacy Park at 2.30pm on Saturday night. Tickets are priced at €10 and available from the Galway FA reception in Eamonn Deacy Park or email [email protected].
For more information check out Facebook Galway Football Association or visit www.galwayfa.ie.