Brazil's favela life gives raw reminder of reality
Poor communities fighting for lives in the shadow of multi-billion dollar World Cup
This wonderful adventure, which has taken in São Paulo, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, glorious stadia, manic crowds and beautiful football, took on an altogether richer texture this week in the favela slums of Rio.
After some initial email contact, I spent time with Conor Hartnett, a Cork charity worker and rabid hurling fan, in the Vasco da Gama favela, north of the Maracana.
Conor works with a local man, Carlao, to provide football training for the locals kids outside of school hours. When they would otherwise be at a loose end, the kids are fed, taught about respect and tutored on the intricate glories of football.