Wednesday 17 July 2019

Almost 27,000 fans attend emotional fundraiser for Sean Cox at the Aviva

The two teams and mascots line up prior to the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
The two teams and mascots line up prior to the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Niall Quinn of Republic of Ireland XI reacts to a missed chance during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Niall Quinn of Republic of Ireland XI heads the ball wide during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of of Liverpool FC Legends in action against Kenny Cunningham of Republic of Ireland XI during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of of Liverpool FC Legends in action against Kenny Cunningham of Republic of Ireland XI during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of of Liverpool FC Legends in action against Kenny Cunningham of Republic of Ireland XI during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of of Liverpool FC Legends in action against Kenny Cunningham of Republic of Ireland XI during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of of Liverpool FC Legends in action against Kenny Cunningham of Republic of Ireland XI during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Kenny Cunningham and Ian Harte of Republic of Ireland XI in action against Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer of Liverpool FC Legends during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of Liverpool FC Legends signs autographs for supporters prior to the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Phil Babb of Republic of Ireland XI after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Phil Babb of Republic of Ireland XI after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Sean St Ledger of Republic of Ireland XI after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish in conversation following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Kevin Doyle, left, and Kevin Foley of Republic of Ireland XI after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish in conversation following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish in conversation following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Phil Babb of Republic of Ireland XI after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Aaron Murphy, aged 11, right, and Jamie Casey, aged 11, from Dublin, celebrate after being given Robbie Fowlers boots following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Aaron Murphy, aged 11, and Jamie Casey, aged 11, from Dublin, celebrate after being given Robbie Fowlers boots following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Fowlers of Liverpool FC Legends gives his boots to Aaron Murphy, aged 11, right, and Jamie Casey, aged 11, from Dublin, following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Aaron Murphy, aged 11, right, and Jamie Casey, aged 11, from Dublin, celebrate after being given Robbie Fowlers boots following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Aaron Murphy, aged 11, and Jamie Casey, aged 11, from Dublin, celebrate after being given Robbie Fowlers boots following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish in conversation following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish in conversation with Ian Rush following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish in conversation with Ian Rush following the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Jason McAteer of Republic of Ireland XI and Robbie Keane of Liverpool FC Legends after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Patrik Berger of Liverpool FC Legends after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Kevin Kilbane, left, and Niall Quinn of Republic of Ireland XI after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of Liverpool FC Legends during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of Liverpool FC Legends during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of Liverpool FC Legends during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Robbie Keane of Liverpool FC Legends during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; A general view during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Sander Westerveld of Liverpool FC Legends after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and Kenny Cunningham of Republic of Ireland XI after the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Shane Supple of Republic of Ireland XI before the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Steve McManaman of Liverpool FC Legends with a mascot prior to the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Liverpool FC Legends manager Kenny Dalglish and Robbie Keane of Liverpool FC Legends during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
12 April 2019; Supporters watch on during the Sean Cox Fundraiser match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Aoife Moore

Tens of thousands of fans descended on the Aviva Stadium on Friday night to raise money for an injured football fan.

Liverpool FC supporter Sean Cox suffered a serious brain injury in an attack by an Italian hooligan last year.

The Legends For Sean Cox match, organised by his beloved Anfield side, saw Liverpool FC Legends take on a Republic of Ireland XI Legends team to raise money for The Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust.

Sir Kenny Dalglish led a star-studded Liverpool team against Ireland stars of yesteryear, managed by current international boss Mick McCarthy, and featuring Robbie Keane, Sean St Ledger, Ray Houghton and a host of other big names.

Irish President Michael Higgins attended the game and met Mr Cox's wife and children Jack, Shauna and Emma on the pitch, as thousands of fans sang Liverpool anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.

A statement from Mr Cox's wife Martina read: "The last 12 months have not been easy for us, but what has helped us get through this difficult journey has been the outpouring of support and genuine concern for Sean.

"For this we will always be thankful. We are filled with gratitude and feel truly blessed.

"A heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this special day, it will stay with us for a very long time."

Before kick-off, a minute's silence was held for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster, marking 30 years since the tragedy on Monday April 15.

Mr Cox, 54, from Co Meath, who continues his rehabilitation in Ireland's National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin, is a former company director from Dunboyne.

He suffered major head trauma when he was struck in a random assault by a masked AS Roma supporter outside Anfield last April ahead of a Champions League tie.

In February, Simone Mastrelli, 30, was jailed for three-and-a-half years after pleading guilty at Preston Crown Court to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The match on Friday night, attended by 26,873 people, was Mr Cox's first time in public since the attack, and he watched the game from a private viewing box.

When an image of him was projected on to a screen, the crowds erupted in applause.

Mr Cox will leave the facility in Dun Laoghaire in June, and will spend a number of months in a rehabilitation centre in the UK, with his family moving with him.

Funds raised by the game will go towards the care he will need for the rest of his life.

To find out more about Mr Cox's journey, or make a donation, visit www.supportsean.com

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