Boots donated for young people at South Africa Gaels

By Mary Dennehy

HUNDREDS of football boots have been donated by local families and sporting clubs to young people playing Gaelic football in South Africa. 

Ballyboden St Enda’s launched the local appeal on behalf of the juvenile players of South Africa Gaels, many of whom play GAA in their school shoes or barefoot.

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Some of the boots collected

Last week, the South Africa Gaels senior team were in Ireland for the GAA World Games in Croke Park, and as part of their visit took a trip out to Ballyboden St Enda’s.

This was the South African side’s second visit to Boden in the past six years, and they once again took on the club’s over 18-junior squads in an exhibition match.

South Africa Gaels won its match against Boden’s ladies, with the Firhouse Road side winning by a point in the men’s match.

The community turned out in its numbers to watch the games, after which a reception was held in the clubhouse.

The original plan was to give the boots collected to the senior players to bring back to the club’s juvenile players and to local schools in Johannesburg for PE classes.

However, due to the haul of donated items, which not only included boots but jerseys and balls, a crate will be shipped to South Africa, for free, by a club member’s company.

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Players from Ballyboden St Enda’s and South Africa Gaels before the match

 “We received around 600 or 700 pairs of boots,” Liam Deane, of the Ballyboden football committee, said.

“We were so surprised, we’d thought if we got 200 pairs or so we’d be doing good.

“We were inundated with people wanting to help, and we got jerseys and balls too.”

He added: “We had a great night in the club as well, the event brought a lot of richness to the club and everyone enjoyed it.

“We also had a huge crowd at the game, the community really came out.”

According to Liam the event played a “significant part” in Boden’s ongoing celebration of its 50th year, which is set to culminate with a Gala in Citywest Hotel on November 29.

A massive ‘thank you’ has been extended to everyone who donated, including neighbouring sports clubs.

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