Premier League side Everton set to put young Limerick men through their paces 

David Byrne


David Byrne

Premier League side Everton set to put young Limerick men through their paces 

Cllr Daniel Butler (front) has confirmed that Limerick City Drugs Education and Prevention Strategy has agreed a new partnership with Premier League side Everton

LIMERICK City Drugs Education and Prevention Strategy has confirmed a new partnership with premier league side Everton FC.

Following a successful seven-year partnership with Sunderland, DEPS have linked up with Everton in the Community through the Fitness Through Football programme to target "18-25-year-old men who are looking for that little something to get back active again."

"We have confirmed our partnership with Everton and they are travelling over in a few weeks for the training camp with the lads and we hope to travel over next year for a game over there and to see a Premier League game," explained Councillor Daniel Butler.

"Everton in the Community have an excellent understanding of the work we do as they deliver many such programmes in Liverpool.

“The programme has received independent evaluation and acknowledged for its excellence delivering a programme for change in what is traditionally a difficult age group to engage," added Mr Butler.

The DEPS and the FAI use football as a tool to educate young people who have or may be at a risk of alcohol and drug abuse, helping them return to full time education or employment.

The programme focuses on areas of high employment and FAI Football Development Officer Jason O’Connor has overseen the project with local Fine Gael Councillor Daniel Butler.

“The programme is a fantastic relationship between the FAI and the Limerick City DEPS as well as Daniel Butler,” said Mr O'Connor.

"It is a relationship that has been successfully impacting lives across the city for a number of years now.

"Past participants who have gone through the programme successfully stopped abusing drugs and alcohol, returned to full time education and employment.

"Everton being on board adds a new dimension to the programme and while Sunderland were a fantastic partner and very professional, Everton's profile is very high after their summer signings which included of course Wayne Rooney and are a club that we are really looking forward to working in partnership with," he added.

This year's programme kicks off on Monday, October 2 in Delta Sports Dome with fitness, nutrition and health workshops taking place over a eight-week period.

During week four Everton visit Limerick to offer a week-long football camp which takes place on the Ballinacurra-Weston astro pitch.

Graduates from the programme get an opportunity to travel to Liverpool to train, play a local side and see a Premier League game.

As part of Fitness Through Football, Fitness Workshops are delivered by Darragh Droog of Altitude Gym and by Jason O'Connor with high intensity top level football coaching.

Nutrition Workshops are delivered by Andrew Williams using the HSE's Cook-it Programme teaching participants about how to cook cheap nutritious meals.

The Health Workshops are facilitated by DEPS staff and health professionals as guest speakers on subjects from drugs to mental health and everything in between.