YOUNG kids and adults as old as 80, Limerick Rose Suzanne O’Brien, local politicians and Everest sumiteer Mark Quinn all turned out to greet John Giles on his return to the city at the weekend.
Giles was in Limerick to personally lead participants in his charity Walk of Dreams, proceeds from which will go to community groups and local soccer groups, and hundreds turned out to see the Irish soccer legend on Sunday.
Before the walk began, the high profile soccer pundit joined Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long, in officially opening the brand new all-weather soccer pitch at Our Lady of Lourdes community centre in Ballinacurra Weston.
Giles said he was “thrilled” that the walk was taking place in the community, as well as officially launching the pitch, which he said was a “great asset” to the area.
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. It will now be available for use for the community.
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,” he added.
Kids from Hyde Rangers, Prospect, Weston Villas and Summerville all turned out to take part and Kieran Ryan of Limerick Regeneration, who spearheaded the project and brought Giles to Limerick, praised all who came out.
“It was a fantastic day, we had a decent crowd and it was very enjoyable,” he explained.
“It is a good community day and everyone really played their part. It went without a hitch and we had great co-operation from everyone. John was delighted with how it went,” he added.