Kerryman on World Cup charity mission with local GAA jersey
Ireland may not have made it to Brazil, but one Kerryman has.
Tralee's Michael Griffin has taken to the festival of football on a very special mission.
And along with him is a local Na Gaeil GAA jersey as Mr Griffin is attempting to get as many signatures as possible from World Cup stars. The sports fan will then auction the jersey for charity.
Michael has already met the likes of Leighton Baines, Robin Van Persie, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Danny Murphy, Ian Wright, Klass Jan Huntelaar, Roberto Martinez and football icon Diego Maradona.
“Martinez and Van Nistelrooy were actually familiar with the GAA,” he said to independent.ie.
“Martinez said he’d even been to Kerry before.”
The first video Michael posted online was with former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt wishing Na Gaeil GAA the best.
“I knew which hotel they were staying at and I got a tip that they were on the beach so I ran down and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the whole Dutch team strolling across the sand," he said.
Michael’s biggest moment so was meeting Argentinean icon Diego Maradona.
“I had heard which hotel he was staying at and I drove down with Marcelo, my flat mate for the next six weeks in Brazil.
"We went into the hotel and we discovered that he was in fact there," Michael continued.
"He was walking out of the restaurant and there turned out to be a good number of Argentinean fans who had also been tipped off over his whereabouts."
"Marcelo roared out in Spanish that I was looking to get the jersey signed for a charity and Maradona approached me, grabbed the Na Gaeil jersey as tight as he could and signed it.
"I couldn’t believe it. I was like a child for the rest of the night; it was out of this world.”
And Michael isn’t finished yet. He has tickets for six games, including the final.