Homeless women’s team to miss World Cup due to lack of funding

By Maurice Garvey

DIFFICULTY in securing funding has meant there will be no women’s team representing Ireland at this year’s Homeless World Cup in Mexico.

It remains a struggle, as it always is, to get the men’s side to the annual tournament.

Mens squad

“We will be bag packing this week, and trying to scrape together funds right up until we go, but that is the reality,” said Ireland’s Big Issue editor and Clondalkin resident Sean Kavanagh – who established the Street League and Irish Homeless World cup team in the early noughties.

Running the street league for men and women at locations across the Republic of Ireland, costs approximately €80,000 each year.

Two men from Tallaght and Clondalkin, who have managed to get their lives back on track after their own struggles, will play for the Republic of Ireland at the Homeless World Cup.

Anthony Madden (38), who lives in Tallaght, and Kenneth Kinsella (30), have both recently undergone addiction treatment.

They qualified for the Irish team after competing in the Irish Street Leagues and subsequent world cup trials.

2017 Womens

Originally from Oliver Bond Flats in the city centre, Anthony spent time in prison and lived in and out of hostels upon his release, before finding redemption via an alcohol detox programme with Dublin Simon.

Two months ago, he started a new chapter by moving to a house in Suncroft, Tallaght.

Anthony said: “I was in and out of different hostels because I’d get in to all sorts of stupid trouble. One day, a few years back I walked in to the Dublin Simon’s alcohol treatment centre. I started a scheme with them which helped me get on my feet.”

The former mechanic qualified in addiction and social studies via a CE scheme, and now helps people in hostels as a support worker in Carman’s Hall.

“It is hectic in hostels, a large percentage have addiction problems, but I find that they listen to me more because I have lived through it.”

Someone who is also in a much better place now than he was last December, is Kenneth Kinsella.

“2018 is my best year in a long time,” said Kenneth, a father of two from Shancastle.

“I went into treatment at Coolmine and it was the best decision I made. I hadn’t played football for six years, but when I had a bit of down time in recovery, I went to kick a bit of ball at Pearse Street (one of the Irish Street League locations).

"From there, I just went through and through to the next stage, eventually to the trials.”

Asked if he is finding is challenging back in Clondalkin, he said “temptations are everywhere.”

“The main thing is not to act on that, remember what you have learned, ring a friend,” he said.

Anthony and Kenneth, who recently joined Ballyfermot United, are looking forward to the Mexico adventure, and have been training at a high level for the last number of months.

The Irish coach is former Blackburn Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic midfielder Thomas Morgan, who has put the team through rigorous altitude training in recent months to prepare them for the November heat of Central America.

Speaking at the Mansion House on Monday night for the announcement of the Irish team, Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny told the crowd that “consistent training” was key to helping them prepare.

Kenny held special praise for last year’s Irish Women’s team and encouraged the men’s side to “embrace” their world cup challenge.

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