independent

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Soccer club scores a date in the Aviva

Published 14/11/2012 | 11:29

FLASHBACK...Members of Castleisland FC who took on the ball boy duties the crucial, World Cup qualifier between Ireland and Switzerland at Lansdowne Road in October 2005. A nill all result on the night meant the death of Ireland's hopes of... Credit: Photo by John Reidy

THERE are many frightfully dedicated club men and women in this town of ours. Few can match the fervour and sheer stamina of the irrepressible Georgie O'Callaghan.

I met him as two of his teams took on opposition from Listowel Celtic teams at U-14 and U-16 levels here at home on Saturday morning.

The usual 'Anything new George' query brought a smile to his countenance and a gush of pride in the fact that a squad of boys from the club has been invited to fill the role of ballboys at this Wednesday's international friendly between the Republic of Ireland and Greece at the Aviva Stadium.

Not only that but some of the club elders like: Sean Gallagher, John Mitchell, Sgt. John O'Mahony will join Georgie himself as they take on the position of stewards on the grounds of the stadium during the big occasion.

The club filled the role before on a sad night for the Irish team and its manager, Brian Kerr at the time. They played Switzerland in a do or die game at Lansdowne Road in October 2005 to qualify for the 2006 World Cup Finals. A nil all result was not the result the team wanted and we didn't make the finals.

The team of ball-boys on that occasion included one JJ Hanrahan - a name you'll be hearing a lot more of in rugby circles in the coming years.

On the opening night of the Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival we had one ear on radio reports as JJ excelled in his first full game in a Munster senior jersey. He scored two tries and was awarded man of the match. We drank, with his relations from Miltown Malbay, to his certain future and good fortune in red and green jerseys as his career flourishes. Good luck to Georgie and his gang in Dublin this evening.

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