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From West Tipperary to Palestine - one All-Ireland winning hurler's trip of a lifetime

Timmy Hammersley will spend the month of July in the Middle East.

Timmy Hammersley is heading for Bethlehem next month.
Timmy Hammersley is heading for Bethlehem next month.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FORMER TIPPERARY SENIOR hurler Timmy Hammersley is preparing to embark on a trip to the Middle East which will change his life and the lives of those around him.

The Clonoulty-Rossmore clubman will spend the month of July helping the less well off in Palestine’s West Bank after formulating his ‘Palestine Summer Encounter Project.’

Hammersley, a member of Tipperary’s 2010 All-Ireland winning squad and a 2013 All-Ireland intermediate winner, is hosting a fund-raising discussion this evening at Limerick IT’s Thurles campus, centred on the theme of Building Vibrant Communities – Lessons from home and abroad. 

Tipperary senior hurling team manager Eamon O’Shea will take out from preparations ahead of Sunday’s Munster semi-final against Limerick to deliver a keynote address.

O’Shea has completed significant research at NUI Galway on older people in the community and the event, which gets underway at 7.30pm, will also feature former Clare hurler Tony Griffin, who founded the SOAR foundation for youth empowerment.

Former Galway dual star Alan Kerins is another well-known speaker, having helped to develop many community building projects in Africa.

Eamon O'Shea Tipperary boss Eamon O'Shea will speak at tonight's event.

Hammersley, who holds a Masters Degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Waterford IT, organised this free event with Dr. Michael Ryan from the Department of Applied Social Studies at LIT.

“Why I admire the speakers so much is because they are brilliant at what they do but they’re working on a broader scale to build better communities,” Hammersley explained to The42 this morning.

“I will be working with young people on my trip, predominantly soccer and coaching the coaches of the kids.

“It will hopefully give the parents of kids better knowledge, help them to become more organised and to provide more opportunities to the town of Bethlehem and the greater West Bank area.

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“Even most people I am friendly with do not realise the remit of international affairs and that is a big interest and passion of mine.

“They say ‘God it’s great that you’re doing something like that’ but it’s only natural for people to devote time and energy to something they’re passionate about.

“But to make people aware of my trip to the Middle East, I had to link it back to communities here in Ireland.

Timmy Hammersley and Paul Lynch Timmy Hammersley was a prolific forward at Waterford IT. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“There are comparisons to be drawn between communities in Ireland and regions suffering from poverty and conflict in the Middle East.”

Hammersley will not be bringing his hurley with him but hopes that he can send it by post.

“You will not get through Tel Aviv airport with a hurley – Israeli defence forces are known to be very aggressive!

“Whatever chance you have of getting through, you’ll have none with a hurling stick!

“I’ll try to send it over in the post.”

This evening’s event in Thurles is free of charge to attend but all voluntary donations are welcome.

– First published 10.46

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