Match event showcases initiative for at-risk men

By Maurice Garvey

SOME well known faces from the political and football world togged out recently on a cold night in Baldonnell, to support a programme that engages at-risk young men in the West Dublin area.

The Breakthrough Programme was created in 2016 by Geoffrey McCarthy, General Manager at the Beacon of Light Counselling Centre.

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The Oireachtas team in Baldonnell

It provides one-on-one counselling and physical exercise training for young men aged 18-30, focusing on issues such as anger management, depression, suicide, addiction and anti-social behavior.

Sport and Tourism Minister Shane Ross was among those in attendance at the Shamrock Rovers academy facility in Roadstone, for a football match between the Breakthrough Programme and an Oireachtas team.

The event was organised by Geoffrey McCarthy, Tallaght senator Lynn Ruane, Robbie De Courcy from the FAI, and by Shamrock Rovers, who have helped to promote the programme in the past.

Mr McCarthy said: “The purpose of the event is to showcase the programme, send out a call to action and try to secure more stable funding streams through wider media exposure and engaging statutory agencies.”

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The Breakthrough Programme team

The programme runs over a period of ten weeks, and is unique in terms of its physical and mental therapies to help participants, who themselves are encouraged to address their own physical and psychological development.

McCarthy said the football pilot was very successful “as the team aspect suited a lot of the guys”.

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Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross with Senator Lynn Ruane at the game

“We are also hoping to run it with boxing with Cllr Kenneth Egan as the coach in 2020,” he said.

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