Also among the attendance were Irish Folk Rock Group ‘NaFianna ‘ who will donate the proceeds from their Hit Euro single ‘Je Suis Irelandaise’ to the Irish Homeless Street leagues - The song can be downloaded from itunes here
Teams representing 52 countries will compete in the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow between the 10th and 16th of July. This inspiring event plays a major role in changing the lives of those marginalised by homelessness, addiction, poverty and long-term unemployment. Through the Irish Homeless Street League, Ireland has been sending a team to this event since the inaugural competition in 2003: this year the build-up to picking and finalising the squad was no mean feat.
‘Things are always a bit fraught until the squad is picked, as there is so much skill out there,’ says Sean Kavanagh, Big issue editor and founder of the Irish Homeless Street League. ‘This year’s All Ireland was no exception. We had nearly three hundred lads playing, so choosing the final team out of all that talent wasn’t easy.’
This year the team comes from all over Ireland – two from Waterford, three from Dublin, one each from Limerick, Longford and Cork.
Coach Tommy Morgan who played for Blackburn Rovers at the age of sixteen, is optimistic ‘This is a good team. We’ve a few young lads, a few older lads with experience and a good goalie, a real shot-stopper,’ Morgan smiles. ‘We are hopeful. They are good lads so if we can keep them focused, we’ll be grand.. We’re going over there to do well; I’ll be pushing these guys to do as well as they can.
Ireland are seeded eight in this year’s competition, which is proof of the standard of their play in previous World Cups. No player can compete more than once in the Homeless World Cup, thus opening the opportunity for a place to new players each year. it is particularly challenging for Coach Thomas Morgan who is philosophical about it “ It is what it is, it creates opportunities for players but it is also a challenge for me, to get the side both physically and tactically prepared in a short period of time, last year we reach a final and moved up the rankings so we’re moving in the right direction”
Ireland will meet, Sweden, USA, Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania In the group stage which will offer tough competition to our progression. And what of our chances ?
As Kavanagh says “Our lads have overcome many obstacles in their lives , they have the skill-set, they’ll be playing for their country with pride and passion, there’ll be no bonuses to be shared around, no entourages, or luxury hotels, they don’t need incentives they’re playing for Ireland !”
For more information or if you wish to donate to the Irish Homeless Street Leagues can do so via their website www.irishstreetleagiue.com.