Thursday 22 March 2018

Sporty Davis links up with boys in green

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Mary Davis used her sporting know-how to get a valuable meeting with Irish soccer manager Giovanni Trapattoni yesterday.

She has developed a strong relationship with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) due to her work with Special Olympics Ireland.

There was no objection from FAI chief executive John Delaney when she asked to meet Mr Trapattoni and the Irish soccer squad in Portmarnock, Dublin, yesterday ahead of their international friendly with Croatia.

Ms Davis said that it was great to be able to meet them due to the long relationship she had with the FAI. "We didn't even talk about endorsements (for the presidency), it was just the opportunity to have a picture taken with them really and that was it," she said.

Two years ago, the Irish soccer team were the first national team to become "global ambassadors" for the Special Olympics movement, alongside clubs like Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur.

The FAI's 'Football for All' programme has helped around 3,500 players with disabilities to take part in soccer matches.

Ms Davis said she was interested in all sports and intended to be in Croke Park next week to support her native Mayo against Kerry in the All-Ireland football semi-final later this month.

"I enjoy both participating and spectating," she said.

Her sporting background includes training as a PE teacher and working as a PE co-ordinator at St Michael's House, which looks after people with intellectual disabilities, in Dublin.

After organising the 2003 Special Olympics in Ireland, she ran the New York Marathon in 2005 and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mont Blanc in France.

Ms Davis welcomed the news that Gay Byrne was considering running.

"I think the more people in the race the better. It's good for democracy."

Irish Independent

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