Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# A touch of class
James McClean and his mates turn up to play team with Down Syndrome in need of a game
The Oxford Bulls have been looking for opponents to face, so the Ireland winger got a few friends together.

Updated at 11.55

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL JAMES McClean has been through a rollercoaster of emotions in this past week.

The West Brom winger had to come to terms with the untimely deaths of two close friends — Derry City captain Ryan McBride and Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness — before lining out for the Boys in Green against Wales on Friday.

Then there was the horrific challenge which broke the leg of Ireland team-mate Seamus Coleman and overshadowed that 0-0 draw, before a friendly defeat to Iceland.

But, despite all that, McClean still found the time to make a genuinely heartwarming gesture.

James McClean Facebook / Kevin Morrison McClean with the Oxford Bulls. Facebook / Kevin Morrison / Kevin Morrison

The Oxford Bulls are a Derry-based football team made up of young players with Down Syndrome. Formed with the help of parents and the Foyle Down Syndrome Trust at the end of 2015, the Bulls have been struggling to find opponents to play against.

So McClean got a few friends together — including ex-Derry City striker Vincent Sweeney, Coleraine’s Jordan Allan and his own brother Brian — and formed a side to take them on.

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“Today, the Oxford Bulls played their first friendly match against a strong James McClean select team, captained by Republic of Ireland international James McClean himself,” Kevin Morrison, whose son Adam plays on the team, wrote on Facebook.

Our boys were a bit star-struck when he first walked in, but after James put them through their paces in the warm-up, they were ready to take him on.”

He added: “I just want to say a huge thank you to James McClean and his mates for coming down to see our lads today and giving them their first big game experience! The lads are still buzzing and our Adam is still a little star-struck!

“And I don’t think James will ever appear in a more chaotic team photo as he did today (check out our photos to see what I mean lol), and yet he handled it with all such great patience and grace. So thank you James and Co for a most memorable day!”

h/t: Irish Independent

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