Thursday 23 November 2017

Packie lends a hand to Spina Bifida fundraiser

Michael McHale

FORMER Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner proved himself to be every bit as adept with golf balls as footballs yesterday as he posed with seven-year-olds John Thomas Campbell and Brooklyn Kerley, both from Dundalk, Co Louth, at the launch of the annual Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) Golf Classic.

The fundraising event will take place at Palmerstown House Estate, Johnstown, Co Kildare on Friday, August 27, with all proceeds going to the SBHI charity.

And at another sporting event later on, for 11-year-old soccer-mad Gearoid Richardson from Ballyfermot, west Dublin, getting up close to Bonner, former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings as well as former Argentina international Osvaldo 'Ossie' Ardilles was a more exciting moment for his dad than for him.

The three were in Dublin to help promote coverage of the new season's fixtures from the English and Scottish premier leagues on sports channel ESPN.

"My son wouldn't have known anything about Packie if it wasn't for me telling him about Italia 90," his father Thomas said after Gearoid had a photo with the keeper.

Gearoid himself admitted not recognising the trio of sporting greats, apart from one face that became familiar to couch potatoes this summer.

"The tanned fella was in the World Cup with Argentina," he said of Ardilles. "I remember seeing him on TV."

Of course, he was talking about the South American's regular appearances with Bill O'Herlihy, Johnny Giles and Eamon Dunphy on the RTE panel for the World Cup coverage.

Mr Ardilles will be reunited with his Irish television colleagues tomorrow night as his home country takes on Ireland in the first international football friendly to take place in the new 50,000-seater Aviva Stadium.

And when asked if he would consider making the RTE job a permanent position, he replied: "If I get the call, then we'll see. I had a great time with the lads."

Irish Independent

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