IRISH soccer legend John Giles has launched his Walk of Dreams, which seeks to raise funds for club and community soccer projects.
Due to a fortunate scheduling conflict with the Great Limerick Run Giles himself will be present for the Limerick charity walk which will take place on a later date than the Dublin staging and the well known soccer pundit said he hoped clubs in Limerick would support it.
“Definitely, the more the better - the walk is for the clubs themselves, they keep half the money, half goes into the foundation and that goes back in grants so whatever they raise is for themselves,” explained Giles, whose foundation aims to use football as a vehicle for social change and to build community cohesion.
Giles was invited to view the brand new all-weather soccer pitch and gardens in Our Lady of Lourdes community centre in Ballinacurra Weston, where the charity walk will begin from on May 13, and which will also get an official launch that day.
The idea for the all-weather pitch came from within a youth community group who use the centre while Limerick Regeneration provided the bulk of the funding - in excess of €300,000 - to transform the disused quarry to the rear of the centre into an impressive facility.
Giles said his foundation “doesn’t quite do regeneration but it fits in with what we are trying to do”.
“We are trying to help provide money from the walk to the clubs that need it. It is for football clubs mostly in working class areas,” he explained.
“If we raise enough money from our particular walk, that (kind of facility) is the type of thing we want to do. When I was a kid you could play on the street, but you can’t do that now, so the more facilities you have for young kids the better. As we know sport keeps them off the streets, keeps them out of trouble and we all know that as parents and I think it is brilliant. I can see the facility here, it is a great asset.”
A large group of under-nine players from Summerville, Hyde Rangers and Prospect soccer clubs were present to greet Giles and get a first look at the new facility, which was also used last week as local youths played Gardai in a challenge match.
Also in attendance was Everest conqueror Mark Quinn, who be will the grand marshal for the walk and Cllr Maria Byrne, who as mayor welcomed Giles to the city for the first staging of the walk last year. She said Giles’ presence in Ballinacurra Weston was indicative of the confidence the former soccer ace has in Limerick.
For full details on the Walk of Dreams and how to take part see www.johngilesfoundation.com.