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Family fun and first-class football on Easter Monday at the Ryan McBride Foundation's six-a-side showcase

Wed, Mar 28 2018

It is hoped that the money raised throughout the day and night will form the basis of the funds needed for the Ryan McBride Academy – a project designed to give 17-20 year old footballers a second chance. Credit: John Doyle (ETPhotos)

Many tributes have been written recently and memories recounted of Ryan McBride following the first anniversary of his passing on March 19th, 2017.

In his honour, a charity was set up to provide local youths with the chance to further their footballing and educational journey.

The Ryan McBride Foundation has three main aims: to support, to assist and to inspire young footballers in the city of Derry and throughout the north-west to be the best they can be, both on and off the pitch.

To achieve their aims they have fundraised throughout the year including the releasing of a single by local band the Clellanders and sponsorship from both national organisations such as the PFAI and many businesses based on Foyleside including Peadar O’Donnell’s and The Gweedore Bar.

On Easter Monday, the Foundation are holding their flagship fundraising event of the year: The McBride Sixes. This family fun day, to be held at the Brandywell Stadium from 1.30pm, is not to be missed with face-painting and many other forms of entertainment for children throughout the afternoon including a magician and balloon craft.

Taking centre stage at the venue however is the Six -a-Side tournament featuring many local, national and international legends who have recently retired from playing soccer professionally.

The sides represented include selections from: Derry City (managed by Felix Healy), Republic of Ireland (managed by Noel King), the PFAI and Northern Ireland.

There is guaranteed quality to be found throughout the squads: whether it’s the goal grabbing qualities of Gary Twigg, Gary Hamilton, Kevin McHugh, Gary Beckett or David Healy; the wing wizardry of the legendary Damien Duff, Stephen Hunt, Kevin Kilbane or the iconic Ollie Cahill; the tough tackling of Stephen McGuinness, Eddie McCallion, Ken Oman or Peter ‘Pizza’ Hutton; the passing magic of Ruaidhrí Higgins, Kevin Deery, Barry Molloy, Stephen McPhail, Gary Dempsey or Mark Kinsella; or possibly it’s the stopping of goals with Barry Ryan, Dermot O’Neill and Wayne Henderson.

All will be on view along with a myriad of other players including Paul McVeigh (over 200 games for Norwich City and 20 caps for Northern Ireland), ex-Manchester United player Pat McGibbon and former Bournemouth defender Shaun Maher.

Never before has such an array of talented players been on show in such an exciting and fast paced format as the six-a-side provides. It’s a tournament not to be missed.

However, the action on the day doesn’t end there as the Everglades Hotel will host a gala dinner in the evening time with music from the aforementioned Clellanders.

Kevin Kilbane, who amassed over a century of caps for the Republic of Ireland and is quickly becoming a well regarded pundit on BBC television, will host a Q&A session before an auction of sporting memorabilia.

Guests at the dinner will include players from the six-a-side tournament as well as some members of the Derry City League of Ireland squad.

It is hoped that the money raised throughout the day and night will form the basis of the funds needed for the Ryan McBride Academy – a project designed to give 17-20 year old footballers a second chance.

Ryan himself only turned professional after a spell in junior football for Brandywell Harps and the aim of the Academy is to provide other young footballers with the opportunity to showcase their talents, and possibly follow in the footsteps of Ryan and one day turn out for Derry City – supporting, assisting and inspiring.

More information on the day is available at this link.