Community surprises ’keeper Brian before the Paralympics

By Mary Dennehy

KNOWN for catching the ball, experienced international goalkeeper Brian McGillivary let one slip past him last Friday when the community of Firhouse threw the 27-year-old a surprise party ahead of his trip to the Paralympics in Rio later this month.

With more than 40 caps for Ireland, Brian has pulled off some fantastic saves for his country since making his first appearance for the senior international soccer team back in 2006 – alongside reaching the Paralympics in Beijing in 2008.

Brian McGillivary Surprise party 2

On August 25, Brian and his team-mates, who includes Ballyfermot midfielder Dillon Sheridan, will depart for Rio – where they’ll take on former Paralympic champions Ukraine in their first match on September 8.

To celebrate Brian’s success over the years and to wish him all the best for Rio, the community of Firhouse, led by Brian’s colleagues in the local SuperValu, got together and threw Brian a surprise party in the Speaker Connolly pub in Firhouse last Friday.

Brian, who has cerebral palsy, told The Echo: “They got this one past me alright. I thought I was going out for dinner.

“It was a great night and I can’t thank everyone enough, especially the staff and management in SuperValu Firhouse and the Speaker.

“It’s great to have the community behind you, and I really appreciate it.”

Brian McGillivary 896929

Brian, who currently trains with Firhouse Clover and coaches with Firhouse Carmel, told The Echo that this will be his last outing for Ireland – with the 27-year-old hoping to retire after Rio.

“I did try to retire in the past but it never happened, but this time I’m going to leave international football and put my energy into coaching,” Brian said.

“I’m really looking forward to Rio, the team is feeling confident and we have a lot to give.”

Brian’s co-worker Ann Claxton, who spoke to The Echo on behalf of the staff at SuperValu Firhouse, said: “Brian is such an amazing character – he doesn’t understand the meaning of the words, ‘I can’t’.”

“Nothing is too much bother for him and he just gets stuck into everything he does.

“He has achieved so much and is an amazing young man, a real inspiration – and this is why we wanted to wish him well, show him our support and how proud we are of him.”

For more on who will be representing Ireland at the upcoming Paralympics, visit www.paralympics.ie.

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