The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has confirmed that Addison will not face a fine
The young footballer who ran onto the pitch to meet her hero Ronaldo and get his shirt had a dream week topped off last night on the Late Late Show.
In the space of just over 24 hours, 11-year-old Addison Whelan from Dublin’s East Wall not only bagged a coveted jersey from the Manchester United superstar as Ireland drew with Portugal on Thursday, she also walked away with tickets to see her favourite team Arsenal play at the Emirates Stadium in London.
The schoolgirl and young footballer with the Shelbourne under-13s girls club captured the nation’s heart when she made a daring run onto the pitch at the Aviva on Thursday night as the final whistle blew in the World Cup qualifier with the Republic of Ireland versus Portugal and asked her hero Ronaldo if she could have his jersey before hugging him profusely.
She said: “When I met Ronaldo it was just a dream come true and he said to me ‘are you ok?’ because I was crying happy tears,” she told host Ryan Tubridy, who also presented her with an Arsenal shirt.
“And I said ‘yeah, I’m grand. I’m a huge fan, can I please have your jersey and he said ‘yeah of course, I really appreciate that’ and when I saw him take it off I was just like ‘ahh’,” she added.
She is now going to frame the Ronaldo’s famous #7 jersey – complete with grass stains from the match – and include a laminated photo of herself hugging the star as in inset.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) confirmed that Addison will not be fined for going onto the pitch.
On occasions, UEFA can level fines of up to €3,000 on fans that invade the pitch, but FAI Media & Football Relations Director Cathal Dervan confirmed this would not be the case for Addison.
“The FAI can confirm that young fan Addison Whelan will not face any fine for approaching Cristiano Ronaldo and receiving his shirt at the end of the Republic of Ireland-Portugal FIFA World Cup qualifier on Thursday night.
“We want to reassure Addison that of course she will not face any fine for running onto the pitch and asking for Ronaldo’s jersey.
"On a serious note, we would remind fans at all games that fines are liable to be levied by UEFA in certain instances for entering the field of play, particularly when the game is ongoing, and we urge all fans to respect this very sensible rule.”
Addison is a talented footballer and plays for the U-13 Shelbourne FC side.
She said her “dream came true” last night after the famous Portuguese footballer gave her his jersey.
At the Portugal vs Ireland in the Aviva Stadium last night, the Dubliner managed to bypass stewards and hop over barriers to get onto the pitch after the full-time whistle.
"I was screaming Ronaldo’s name,” the schoolgirl earlier told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.
"He turned around and he saw me and he was telling them [the stewards] to leave me, so I called him over, I was in shock and I was crying.
"I asked him ‘can I have your jersey please I’m a huge huge fan?’ And he said ‘okay.’”
"When my Dad saw him taking off the shirt his face was in shock. I was thinking ‘Oh my god, this is my dream and it's finally coming true.”
Addison’s father Peter Whelan is also her football coach in Shelbourne FC.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Mr Whelan said they “had a plan” before the big match.
"We had a big banner and we put it up a couple of times but he didn't really come down near us, but, we had a plan,” he said.
“We had great seats, we were in the second row behind the goal.
“So 10 minutes before the match ended the stewards stood up and turned and faced us, I looked at one of them and winked and said ‘any chance?’ and they said ‘not a hope.’
“But as soon as the whistle blew I told her ‘you know where he is just go’ and she just took off over the barrier and she was gone.”
When asked if Addison was scared about running onto the pitch, her father said: “Not at all.”
Addison has kept the shirt close to her since last night.
"I checked on her this morning when I was off to work and there she was sleeping in the bed with the jersey beside her,” her father said.
The 11-year-old said the stewards didn’t give out to her, they just took her by the arms and brought her back to her father.
Not only did Addison – who is an avid boxer and footballer – meet Ronaldo last night, but she also got a call from one of her other sporting heroes Katie Taylor.
"We got a Facetime call last night off Katie Taylor,” Mr Whelan said. “Addison is into her football and her boxing, so she is over the moon. Two of her sporting heroes in one night!”