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  • Northside West

Soccer pals team up for Ireland in South Africa

Saturday, 1st December, 2018 5:00pm
Soccer pals team up for Ireland in South Africa

Member of the Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 football team prior to their departure to South Africa.

Soccer pals team up for Ireland in South Africa

Member of the Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 football team prior to their departure to South Africa.

A FIVE-A-SIDE football team from Dublin 15 has helped raise the profile of a local mental health organisation through their participation in a Five-A-Side World Cup in South Africa.

The eight friends participate every year in the Gerry Whelan Memorial Football Tournament, which is a major fundraiser for Suicide Awareness Dublin 15.

After winning this year’s competition they qualified for the All-Ireland Five-a-side Finals, which they also won to book their place as Ireland’s representatives at the recent World Cup Finals in South Africa.

Prior to their departure to Cape Town earlier this month, the team visited Fingal County Council’s civic offices in Blanchardstown along with representatives of Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 where they met the Director of Housing and Community Margaret Geraghty as well as local councillors.

“They participate every year in the Gerry Whelan Tournament, which is a major fund-raiser for the charity, and they are to be commended for using their qualification for the World Cup to raise awareness of Suicide Awareness Dublin 15,” said Geraghty

Sue Philips of Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 said the Gerry Whelan Tournament is a major source of fund-raising for the group.

“It is all voluntary work on the ground,” she continued. “Everyone involved is voluntary, and mostly fundraising because we’re not funded by anybody. The fundraising that’s done, especially by the annual Gerry Whelan Memorial Day, is greatly needed as it pays towards counselling for people in the area.”

Cllr Lorna Nolan (IND), who was a founder member of Suicide Awareness Dublin 15, explained the significance of the team going to Cape Town.

“One of the key things that needs to be taken from the football tournament is that Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 is the only team going to the World Cup that is representing mental health and connecting the two will raise awareness of sport for mental health,” she said.

“The work that the lads have done in reaching this tournament needs to be acknowledged.”

The team is made up of manager Brendan Murphy, captain Eoghan Aspin, Mark Curtis, David Colgan, Darragh Perdisatt, Karl Walsh, Gavin Herbert, and Thomas O’Rourke.

The Gerry Whelan Memorial Football Tournament was established to raise awareness of suicide after the tragic passing of Gerry Whelan in 2012.

Eoghan Apsin, who will captain the Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 team in South Africa, said: “Gerry was taken from us tragically a couple of years ago and ever since his close family and friends have organised this well run tournament up in Corduff in the Aquatic Centre. The aim of Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 is to raise awareness for the charity.”

Team manager Brendan Murphy said the team have being playing with one another for nearly 20 years, so know each other very well.

“We’re a well-oiled unit,” he said.

“Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 is a very important charity, we’ve all probably been touched by suicide in one way or another. We think it’s a very important charity and we’re happy to represent it to bring about awareness and publicity for the great cause that it is.”

The Five-a-side World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa is the largest amateur Five-a-side football tournament in the world with 32 countries participating.

Suicide Awareness Dublin 15 was set up in 2011 by a group of parents who had lost their sons to suicide and after extensive research settled on a model that they felt would be best for Dublin 15 which is prevention, intervention and post-prevention.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here