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Inter-county stars to face off in Fifa tournament to raise funds for frontline workers

One player from each county will participate in the All-Ireland Fifa 20 tournament this weekend.

Wexford hurler Rory O'Connor is one confirmed entrant.
Wexford hurler Rory O'Connor is one confirmed entrant.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

INTER-COUNTY GAA PLAYERS from across the country will come together to help raise funds for frontline workers through an All-Ireland Fifa 20 tournament.

The brainchild of disability rights activist Joanne O’Riordan, players from all 32 counties will face off this May Bank Holiday weekend, and all money raised by the online tournament will go to frontline workers in the HSE and NHS.

The fundraiser will get underway on Friday, 1 May, and the final is pencilled in for Sunday, 3 May, while it will be run in partnership with the Gaelic Players Association [GPA] and the Insomnia Dublin Gaming Festival.  

Inter-county players including Wexford hurler Rory O’Connor, Kilkenny’s Paddy Deegan and Monaghan football star Conor McCarthy will all take part, while all 32 participants will be released in the coming days.

“I came up with the initial idea because my grandmother and uncle are both in care settings,” O’Riordan, a columnist for The Irish Times, explains.

“I know they are receiving excellent care, but I also know they are missing not seeing us. The tournament is a chance for us all to remember collectively those in care settings and the people who are looking after them in this trying time.

They are somebody’s mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, friend, or neighbour. This is our small way of showing that we care.

“We want to create an event for people of all ages,” she added. “We want them to watch the games, enjoy the sport of it and be part of the experience. We want to play our part in promoting and engaging with the terrific community spirit that has been evident during these challenging times.

“I, like many others out there, have been in isolation since early March. I miss my friends, I miss the craic attending matches and working in a public setting, but I also miss my nan, who is being cared for in Millstreet Community Hospital.

poster Source: Insomnia Gaming Fest Dublin/Twitter.

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“I am encouraging everyone to get involved, and I hope we can reach or exceed our target. If everyone could give a little that would amount to a lot.”

The tournament is a 1-v-1 knockout format, with senior inter-county hurlers and footballers facing off to be crowned the All-Ireland Fifa 20 champion. The tournament will be broadcast live, and more information on it and donating is available here.

“This is a fantastic idea, and the GPA are delighted to be involved,” GPA chief and former Dublin star Paul Flynn commented.

It’s a great way for players to stay connected to each other at this time of isolation while it’s great to be able to raise funds for frontline workers.

“There are many inter-county players, both male and female, among them. To be able to show our support for them in this way is something that we are delighted to be able to do. We are extremely grateful and extremely proud of their efforts.”

Read more here.

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Emma Duffy

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