IRISH soccer legend John Giles has vowed to return to Limerick next year for a third instalment of his charity walk, such was the “immensely positive” nature of the event a week ago.
Hundreds of children, parents, community leaders and politicians turned out in the sunshine to stroll with Giles on his Walk of Dreams last Sunday morning, a nationwide event organised by the soccer pundit’s charity foundation.
The walk began and ended at Our Lady of Lourdes community centre in Ballinacurra Weston, where Giles joined with Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long, in officially opening the brand new €300,000 all weather soccer pitch, built by Limerick Regeneration.
“It was very good, they are smashing people who came out. We did it in conjunction with the opening of the all weather pitch, which was great, that is a real community effort. So it was terrific,” Giles told the Limerick Leader after ceremony and the short walk up to Roxboro Road roundabout and back.
“It was great to see the community involved and to open the pitch. These kind of facilities give kids a great chance, it is an opportunity to play whatever they want to play, keep them out of trouble hopefully, and it was terrific, there was a good atmosphere. I think that everyone in the community got a great lift out of it,” he added.
The purpose of the walk was to raise funds for local soccer clubs and voluntary organisations and this is the second year that the event has taken place in Limerick.
Due to a scheduling conflict with the recent Great Limerick Run meaning it took place later than other walks around the country, Giles was able to personally take part in the Limerick walk, to the delight of those who turned up.
“This time last year I had some trouble with my hip - I had a hip operation in June - but it was very comfortable and I really enjoyed it and we got the weather,” he smiled.
Kids from Hyde Rangers, Prospect, Weston Villas and Summerville all turned out to take part, with Everest climber Mark Quinn, from Rhebogue, acting as grand marshal for the event.
Giles promised that all the money raised would go back into clubs, and he vowed to return again next year.
“All being well we will turn out again and I will hopefully get down to Limerick again. It is an immensely positive event, the football community walk together and raise money for clubs that badly need it,” he said.