Charity game all set if pitch can be found

THE annual ‘Town versus Country’ charity game, which sees the best club and county players from the North Armagh area line out for charity, will take place on Sunday. December 2nd providing that a local venue can be found in time.

The event, which is sponsored by the Lurgan mail and Portadown Times, has over the past four years raised over £4,700 for the St. Vincent De Paul Society and Armagh manager Paul Grimley has given his blessing to the venture.

“I will be telling the county players from North Armagh to throw their weight behind the event,” he said. “The St Vincent De Paul Society does fantastic work in the community and I’m sure they will be delighted with the extra money in the run up to Christmas.”

The Town team, for the big charity game, will consist of players from St. Peter’s, Clan Na Gael, St. Paul’s, Eire Og, Clann Eireann and Tir Na nOg. With the country outfit being selected from Wolfe Tones, Annaghmore, Sarsfields, Ballyhegan, Clonmore and league champions Maghery. Last season’s game, which was played at Clann Eireann Park, was held on the Sunday when Eire Og were competing in the Ulster Championship series which ruled the Ogs players out. But, on this occasion, all of the clubs in North Armagh will be represented.

Lurgan Mail GAA reporter Eugene Creaney said, “We hope a venue can be found for the game. At this time of year it is difficult to maintain pitches to a high standard. At this moment in time all of this is a balancing act. The players want the game to go ahead as do the managers of both teams. No one wants to put pressure on a club, but it would be a tragedy to let the charity down. Unfortunately the charity game has been scheduled to take place on the same day as the Ulster Senior club final between Crossmaglen and Kilcoo, but with Armagh playing over the following two weekends in a tournament, it was crucial to pencil the ‘Town versus Country’ game in early.”

Eugene believes the enthusiasm in previous years, both players and managers, will continue this time around. “On previous occasions both squads had an average of 24 players each and the managers have always taken the event seriously,” he said.

Benedict Lavery, from the St. Vincent De Paul Society, said, “We are delighted the game is taking place. I know how tight the GAA calendar is and how difficult it is to get a pitch at this time of the year. Also, a big thank you would have to be expressed to The Portadown Times and Lurgan Mail. The money raised will be used to assist many vulnerable families particularly in the run up to Christmas, every penny raised will be well appreciated.”

The game is one of many charity games organised in the GAA throughout the year, The games are always well contested and attended and it would be a terrible pity if the St Vincent De Paul Society lost out on much needed funds on the run up to Christmas should a venue not be found in time before the December 2nd deadline.