Sunderland match to promote Shane’s trust

SUNDERLAND AFC chairman Niall Quinn is bringing his premiership side to play at Thomond Park for the first major venture by a trust, set up to honour murder victim Garryowen rugby captain, Shane Geoghegan.

The 28-year-old was shot dead as he walked to his home at Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, in November 2008. It emerged the innocent man had been mistaken, by his killer, for a drug dealer living in the area.

The Shane Geoghegan Trust, launched in October 2008, aims to encourage children to engage in sporting and creative activities as an alterative to antisocial behaviour.

The trust is being modelled on the Sunderland FC Foundation, which employs 100 full-time community workers in seven deprived areas in the greater Sunderland area.

A Munster side will take on Sunderland at Thomond Park on July 13 and thousands of children from all over Munster will take part in the huge pre-match build up.

Ex-Irish international Mr Quinn said yesterday: “There is a huge need in Limerick for young people to be making better choices, and to understand that sport, all sports, and not just winning athletes, that everybody can get something from sport to make better life choices.

“It has worked spectacularly for us in Sunderland. There was a big need for it in Sunderland and we know there is a big need for it in Limerick.

“We take our (club’s) ideas; there will be other ideas coming from the rugby world and from the GAA world. Embrace it all, take it all on board.”

Mr Quinn said it was now time for all the politicians and other public organisations who supported the trust to give it their full backing.

“The expertise is in place, the willpower of the people in the trust is phenomenal and the goodwill of Shane Geoghegan’s family to allow this to happen in such circumstances – that is a major factor, that Shane’s memory cannot just be kept alive but to roll out something brilliant.

“That the same kids he helped out in the same areas, that they can make better choices. It’s a no-brainer for me. Hopefully, the politicians will now follow on,” he added.

Shane Geoghegan’s mother, Mary, and his partner, Jenna Barry, attended yesterday’s announcement.

His uncle, Tony Geoghegan, said: “This fixture will be a day for Shane, a day for Munster and a day for fun and I hope people will come out in huge numbers.”

John Cantwell, Thomond Park stadium director, said it was great to be able to help the Shane Geoghegan Trust in such a positive initiative.

Declan Madden, president of the Munster Branch of the IRFU and a former president of Garryowen FC, said Shane Geoghegan embodied all the qualities that make Munster rugby what it is.

The trust is planning a StreetGame initiative, where events are organised in open areas of Limerick estates. The first games will be in Kilteragh, where Shane lived and died.

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