Everton FC visit Limerick for Fitness through football programme

Jason O'Connor


Jason O'Connor



Everton FC visit Limerick for Fitness through football programme

Cllr Daniel Butler, DEPS, Everton FC coachs, Sean Robertson and Lee McArdle and Jason O'Connor, FAI Development Officer at the Fittness Through Football Programme event on Our Lady of Lourdes Astro

Everton continue the aftermath of the Ronald Koeman era as they flirt with the relegation places of the English premier league for the first time in many a season.

Far from Merseyside in Our Lady Of Lourdes parish this week, the English premiership club were visiting our city in partnership with the FAI and Daniel Butler of the Limerick City Drug Education and Prevention Strategy (DEPS) on the Fitness Through Football Programme.

The programme is aimed at 18-25 year old men who are unemployed and looking for that little something to improve their motivation levels to get active again.

Past participants have entered back into full time education and employment as well as having a better understanding around issues affecting men in Limerick today.

Working in partnership with Daniel Butler of the Limerick City DEPS, and Limerick City and County council who co-fund four FAI Development Officers locally, while engaging hard to reach adult males and providing them with the opportunity to return to fitness, positive lifestyle choices and on to other life goals is core work in my role and part of the nationwide FAI social inclusion strategy.

Founder of the programme Daniel Butler explains, “The eight week programme has a three pronged approach through two, two hour fitness sessions weekly, the first hour delivered by Darragh Droog in the Altitude Gym in Delta Sports Dome and the second hour delivered by Jason O'Connor of the FAI with fitness testing and high intensity top level football coaching and mini games. The nutrition workshops are delivered by Andrew Williams, a fully qualified and experienced chef using the HSE's Cook-it Programme, teaching participants about nutrition and how to cook cheap nutritious meals and the health workshops are facilitated by Limerick City DEPS staff and health professionals as guest speakers on subjects from drugs to mental health and everything in between”.

Last week, which was week four of the programme saw Lee McArdle and Sean Robertson of Premier League club Everton FC deliver a week long football camp to the participants.

In the heart of the community adult males from all over the city were put through their paces on the astro turf facility and ate a healthy lunch in the Sit N Sip café every day in what was a really positive week.

Starting at 10am and finishing at 3pm, each day was varied and challenging for the men, all the sessions were designed from the English FA coaching syllabus and the coaches approach and delivering style was of the highest standard and what you would expect from a club of Everton’s stature.

On completion of the programme, those who graduate with attendance and attitude based requirements are provided with the opportunity to travel to Everton FC to train, play a local side and see a premier league game.

The programme has gone from strength to strength each year and has a proven record of being the inspiration and starting point for adult males who have become more active in their families, communities and society in Limerick today.