St Lawrences in soccer action at the Theatre of Dreams

WE have had England play rugby in Croke Park, Shelbourne once played Gaelic football at Ibrox and now a GAA club in Manchester is set to try its hand at a game of soccer at the home of the English Premiership champions.

St Lawrences GAA club have been based in the parish of Old Trafford since their founding back in 1981 and the club has been able to organise a challenge match against a team organised by betting chain BetFred at the Theatre of Dreams tomorrow afternoon.

“The club is based near the ground and we would be in contact with a lot of people in the area, including people at United,” said club chairman Paul Tolan yesterday.

The game is a novel part of a promotional campaign being undertaken by the club, which has expanded beyond the Irish community by establishing grass roots programmes in the local area.

St Lawrences now has links with a dozen local schools and youth centres but their success in securing Old Trafford has been their biggest coup.

The game goes ahead tomorrow at 2.30, just over 24 hours before Manchester United face Chelsea in the first FA Cup final at the reconstructed Wembley.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” admitted Tolan. “It is a great bit of PR for us and for United as well.”

It isn’t the first time St Lawrences have brought a Gaelic flavour to the football at the Theatre of Dreams.

“We had Sam Maguire over at Old Trafford last year,” said the chairman.

“A few of the Kerry lads came over. It was organised by our chairman Fr John Ahern who did it through the MC at the stadium.”

The club is hoping that the publicity can help them in their efforts to raise funds for charity. For the last two years they have ran the annual Manchester 10k for cancer but this year’s campaign is even closer to their hearts.

“We lost one of our members last year, Jonathan Cox, to epilepsy so we will be doing it for the Cox Fund this weekend,” Tolan explained.

“The race is on this weekend.”

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