independent

Monday 23 October 2017

Homeless to play in league

SOCCER LEAGUE SET TO KICK OFF

Conor CULLEN

A HOMELESS soccer league is coming to Co Wexford's four towns, with the leagues in Wexford town and New Ross due to begin later this month.

Details of the street league were discussed at the Drinagh Court Hotel last Friday and the final preparations are now being made for the competition.

The leagues, which started in Dublin and are now run throughout Ireland, are primarily aimed at the homeless, but others who take part in the matches are refugees, asylum seekers, people with serious drug and alcohol addiction problems, and the longterm unemployed.

They are organised by the Big Issue magazine. Michael Harmon, of the magazine, came down to Wexford on Friday to get the Model County's street soccer up and running.

Local gardaí, who support the initiative, were also in attendance at what Michael said was 'a very successful meeting'.

Michael said that due to the size of the county it has been decided to have two leagues – South of Wexford, comprising Wexford town and New Ross, and North of Wexford, which will have Enniscorthy and Gorey teams.

The South of Wexford league is further down the line in terms of preparation and there are already teams from Wexford and New Ross ready to kickoff, including a Garda team.

New Ross having more teams is primarily due to the Old Rectory in Rosbercon, which houses male asylum seekers.

Michael said the street soccer leagues have proved very popular and beneficial to those taking part in other counties and there many success stories. He pointed out that, with the support of the FAI, Ireland participates in the Homeless World Cup, which this year will be in Brazil. There is also an All-Ireland competition each year, in which it's hoped will have a Co Wexford team.

Michael pointed out that it any of the Wexford players impress enough at that level they have a chance of being part of the squad that will travel to Rio de Janeiro later this year.

However, for the moment, he said they are concentrating on getting the local games going, which he's hopeful will happen in both Wexford and New Ross within three weeks.

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