independent

Monday 16 September 2019

Soccer legend Giles in town

SOCCER LEGEND IN TOWN TO LAUNCH

CONOR CULLEN

SOCCER LEGEND John Giles was in Wexford on Monday, where he paid a visit to three local schools.

The pundit and former Irish great was in town to promote the 'Walk of Dreams', which is being run by the John Giles Foundation in Enniscorthy on Sunday, March 27.

As part of his promotion of the event, which Mr Giles said he hopes will involve all of Co Wexford's soccer clubs, he visited Wexford CBS primary and secondary schools and Wexford VEC.

Speaking at a press conference in Wexford Opera House that afternoon, Mr Giles said he had been very impressed with the schools and the enthusiasm of the students he had talked to and fielded questions from.

' The schools were great, they are very, very well behaved young people,' said Mr Giles.

He added that after the two CBS schools he was pleased he got to visit a mixed school. ' The girls in the VEC were very interested too,' he said. It was perhaps not too surprising given they have an international footballer - Rianna Jarrett - in their ranks!

Mr Giles is hoping that the money raised through the 'Walk of Dreams' will allow clubs in Wexford to produce more young players of the quality of Rianna and stars like Irish international Kevin Doyle.

Planned as 'a St Patrick's Day for the football community', it is effectively a sponsored walk where the many clubs in County Wexford will be asked ' to walk in solidarity as the football family while raising funds both for the club and the John Giles Foundation to continue the growth of football in Wexford'.

The foundation will shortly be in touch with all the clubs, sending out brochures and sponsorship cards. Each club will then be asked to appoint a 'Walk of Dreams' captain to manage their club's fundraising efforts and the walk on the day in Enniscorthy. Each club will walk under its own banner.

Half the funds raised will be retained by the clubs themselves, while the other half will go to the foundation for use on community football projects around the country, with groups, schools and clubs eligible to apply for funding for projects.

'When I was a young fella I played in the Dublin District Schoolboy League and without it I wouldn't have been able to get started in football,' said Mr Giles.

He said football has been very good to him over the years and he's now trying to return the favour in some way with the John Giles Foundation, which is strongly backed by the FAI.

Mr Giles said that football helps children to become better characters and generally get on better in society. 'Children playing football are less likely to get into trouble,' he noted.

He also pointed out that while it would be great to produce more Kevin Doyles in Wexford that for every player who makes that standard there are hundreds more who don't and the funds raised by the 'Walk of Dreams' would ensure that these players have an opportunity to play soccer, as well as proper facilities in which to do so.

Mayor of Wexford Joe Ryan said that it was great to see soccer developing and noted that 'it has a lot to offer us here in Co Wexford'.

' The FAI provides for the best players. This is for ordinary players, this is for everyone,' said Cllr Ryan. 'You will see the benefit of what you raise in your own club.'

Further information is available at www.johngilesfoundation.com

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