Ethan steps up as team mascot

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WHILE the majority of fans left Windsor Park feeling suitably dejected after the side’s 1-1 draw with Luxembourg, young Ethan Smylie from Craigavon couldn’t stop smiling as he got to walk out as a McDonald’s Player Escort for the game at Windsor Park last month.

Ethan got to experience first-hand the excitement of the build up to the game, including being pitch-side as the Northern Ireland team warmed up, before walking out hand-in-hand with Northern Ireland’s Dean Shields.

Mark Smylie, Ethan’s father, commented: “Ethan really enjoyed walking out on the pitch with the players. It was fun watching the players warm up before match and also getting photos taken - he was a very proud boy. The result didn’t go down well but we still enjoyed the game and can’t wait to return for more matches.”

The opportunity to walk out as a Player Escort was provided through McDonald’s new grassroots football website, McDonald’s Kickstart, where users can access once-in-a lifetime opportunities.

The website also allows local clubs to secure funding for development projects and gain useful information on coaching or running a club.

McDonald’s is celebrating ten years as the Official Community Partner of the Irish FA and through this partnership is helping young footballers shine.

The Community Partnership is delivering a lasting legacy for grassroots football through coach creation and education, a new Club Accreditation Scheme, through a series of Small Sided Games Centres and through the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards which recognise and rewards the unsung heroes of grassroots football.

For full details and to apply for the chance for your child to walk out as a Player Escort please visit