Christine goes from life support to Irish Homeless World Cup trials

By Maurice Garvey

ON LIFE support and facing the worst after eight years of drug addiction, things were not looking good for Christine Geoghegan (24) in early 2016.

However, the Clondalkin native recovered and after getting involved in the Irish Homeless Street leagues in Pearse Street, Christine is one of the many survivors who competed at this week’s trials for the Irish 2017 Homeless World Cup.

Christine Geoghegan 27042017

The annual event at the Postal Club in Tallaght, is used as a basis to pick an Irish team from street leagues across the country for the finals.

For the first time, a female Irish team will be chosen to accompany their male counterparts at the finals in Oslo, Norway, thanks to sponsorship by Arup Ireland.

Reaching the final of the All-Ireland female cup on Wednesday, represents another step of redemption for Christine, who attributes her sobriety to the “positivity” of the street leagues.

“I’m coming up to 15 months clean and football is a big part of me being sober,” said Christine.

“I’ve made new friends and been to Belfast for the Five Nations cup, stuff I never thought I’d do.”

Christine endured a difficult childhood in Deansrath after her father Thomas O’Reilly died by suicide when she was just a baby.

“This week is his birthday, and it makes things a bit harder,” she said, pointing to a picture of her father in a pendant around her neck.

“Addiction ran through my family, I started hanging around with the wrong crowd, got into drugs early, and was kicked out of school (Collinstown) in second year. I was out of control, threatened to set fire to teachers.

She continued: “I ended up doing heroin, got into abusive relationships, and was in and out of womens refuges. Eight years down the drain.

Homeless World Cup 04 27042017

"My sister found me alone in an apartment and saved my life. At the moment I’m sleeping on her couch, but she has two kids with her partner and is pregnant so I will have to move. Facing hostels again isn’t a good environment for recovery.”

Whilst facing an uncertain future, life is much better now for Christine, and she is also set to take up a role as a boxing coach for kids in May, where Michael Carruth is a patron of a Ringsend club.

“From being on life support, I’ve changed my life around and am enjoying the battle,” said Christine.

“I’m not expecting any summonses or court dates. It’s not easy but it’s all positive now.”

Ireland’s Big Issue editor and Clondalkin resident Sean Kavanagh established the Street League and Irish Homeless World cup team in the early noughties.

Bankhouse Productions are trailing the street leagues for a documentary, which will feature Homeless World Cup ambassador Colin Farrell.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone presented trophies at the trials and there were a number of local politicians in attendance, including Senator Lynn Ruane and Fianna Fáil TD John Curran.

The 2017 Homeless World Cup takes place in Oslo, Norway, August 29 –September 5.

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