A wonderful event
'Butch' Doran wants your support for his popular blitz
'If I can save someone's life or help them get a lift to hospital, I'll do it,' was Tony 'Butch' Doran's reply to his daughter when she asked him recently if he would be organising the Wicklow Cancer Support Easter Soccer Blitz for the rest of his life.
Butch Doran is as loved and respected a man as you'll ever find in any sporting organisation anywhere in the world. That might seem like a sweeping statement but take it from someone who has witnessed first-hand and watched plenty of sporting events and sporting behaviours, when you see how people of all ages react around 'Butch' Doran you understand what respect is.
Since the loss of his wife Adele to cancer in 2015, soccer, and in particular the Wicklow Cancer Support Easter Blitz, has consumed Butch's energies and it was the help provided by the support service in Wicklow town when Adele was undergoing treatment for her illness that provided the inspiration to set up the soccer blitz.
'When Adele got cancer, we didn't know where to turn,' said Butch. 'Then a friend of mine, 'Bimbo' Kelly, a famous young man in Wicklow who died himself from cancer after, brought me to Wicklow Cancer Support and from there on Wicklow Cancer Support helped us in any way they could.
'Myself and Adele sat down one night, she was always involved with me and the soccer, the soccer street leagues and the whole lot, she always stood by me with Wicklow Town and all that.
'The thing is she was only 56. It's in memory of Adele. She was such a lovely girl. She asked me if I could do something through football (to raise money). The two of us sat down and to be honest when I lost things, I lost everything but the two us we kept our love for each other, and we kept our heads high and she wanted to do something to pay back Wicklow Cancer Support.
'We went to the hospital a lot and, to be honest, Wicklow Cancer Support helped us in every way. Even when Adela passed away, they helped us with counselling for my kids. And Eileen Earls is such a good woman down in Wicklow Cancer Support. She's a lovely lady and she does an awful lot of work.
'Nobody makes a penny from this only Wicklow Cancer Support. Nobody claims expenses, everything is completely voluntary.
'I heard a thing on the radio, it was such a lovely thing on the radio yesterday. It was a young girl who was saying how her father got sick with cancer. Wicklow Cancer Support had always been very helpful.
'She said, 'My dad was very sick, and he had to go to hospital. We had no way of getting him home and the only thing I could do was ring Eileen Earls and see was there anything Eileen could do to get Daddy home and Eileen sent the car up straight away,' he said.
'Soccer has always been my life. I've been with Wicklow Town since I was 10 years of age. I was with them for 40 years. My brothers Mylie and Billy are still with them, they're 74 and 73. Football has been a huge tradition for us. We've teams coming from Coolboy, from Aughrim, Arklow Town, Arklow United.
'The likes of this improves the profile of soccer. The WDSL (Wicklow and District Schoolboys League) get behind us, they call off all games on the weekend and make sure we're ok,' he added.
Butch Doran is appealing to clubs across Wicklow, Wexford and beyond to get in touch and enter a team or teams from ages eight to 14.
'We want to keep reminding people and clubs to enter their teams. If there are teams out there who want to play, they have to contact Una (Una Gaffney Lynch, 086 155 0853, or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
'It's a very popular competition and everyone loves it. Hopefully the weather is good. We want to keep promoting it. I've a committee with me and they are working really, really hard for this. There's Boodhan Rampersaud, Ian Cuddihy, Niall Cull, Colin O'Brien, Larry Hayes, Una Lynch, Liz Doyle, Bernie Dunne Duffy and myself.
'We couldn't do it without the help of Wicklow Town AFC and Wicklow Rovers and I have to mention Damien Bradley who has doen Trojan work for us but is not available this year.
'It's from under-8s to under-14s. We need clubs to contact Una. It's €5 a head for the players and we have a fantastic raffle as well. We have a Jamie Carragher jersey, an Ireland jersey, all signed, Jamie's one is a replica from the Champions League final.
'They have to register through their clubs. There is a cut off time. I think it was supposed to be this Monday (April 8) but that's changed. They just need to ring Una as soon as possible.
'I want people to enjoy it, that's the most important thing. Come down and have fun and enjoy it. All money goes to Wicklow Cancer Support and that's it. It's a fun tournament and the committee that I have behind me are excellent.
'It's seven-a-side, and we are playing to the FAI rules and pitches will be on conjunction with FAI rules. It starts at 10am and once an age group starts it goes until it finishes so that people don't have to wait around too long
'But the main thing is that want people to enjoy it,' he added.
Butch speaks so fondly of Adele and it would be amazing to see Finlay Park and Whitegates packed to the gills on Friday, April 19, with youngsters having fun and playing football while raising funds for a service that is invaluable to people and families who are going through something that everybody at some stage has had experience with either themselves or through a family member.
Butch and Adele were married 38 years when she passed away. Her loyalty to Butch was unwavering, so much so that he only realised she didn't like football until near the end.
'She died on March 6, 2015. We had two kids, Anthony and Lorraine. I met Adele when she was 15, we got married when she was 17. She was from Arklow and she used to do everything with me.
'Whatever I got involved in she helped me whatever way she could. I only realised near the end that she never liked football, but she never said a word about it. She was always with me.
'That's what everyone says as well: wherever I was, Adele was with me. It's hard.
'We were very happy, thank God,' he added.