Southside soccer league is about much more than sport

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Garda Adrian Healy, Sergeant Adrian Whelan, Garda Keith McCarthy, Roxboro Garda Station, Jason O’Connor, FAI with Adrain Shine manager of the winning team from Hyde Rangers.
Garda Adrian Healy, Sergeant Adrian Whelan, Garda Keith McCarthy, Roxboro Garda Station, Jason O’Connor, FAI with Adrain Shine manager of the winning team from Hyde Rangers.

Sixty-four men aged from 18 years of age from across the southside of Limerick city have taken part in the latest Late Night Soccer League in Roxboro..

Over the past number of weeks, eight teams of eight competed in the Futsol competition, which is a collaborative project between Limerick City and County Council, Gardaí and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

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The league took place at The Factory: Southside Youth Space in Galvone. Its aim was to encourage ‘at risk’ young people to participate in meaningful activities, thus reducing the potential for anti-social behaviour.

Jason O’Connor, FAI Development Officer for Limerick city said: “We floated the idea to run a late night league out to some local contacts and the uptake was phenomenal.  We are delighted with the people taking part and the level of integration within the southside communities.

“The league is about social inclusion and engagement with other people from the area as well as gardaí in helping to break down barriers and stereotypes.”

Garda Keith McCarthy from the Community Policing Unit at Roxboro Garda Station added: “The gardaí are very pleased to be involved in the Late Night Leagues.  It is an ideal opportunity to connect with different sections of the local community on a less formal basis.  It’s about building a rapport between the participants and ourselves, trying to see behind the uniform.

“All the participants come from different walks of life but the league means they come together to work as a unit.”

Sean McGlynn, Project Manager with Limerick City and County Council said: “The local authority through regeneration is delighted to be involved with the Late Night League.  We see the league as an important stepping stone in enhancing community participation and civic engagement with the end goal of making the community a better place to live.”

This project is building on the previous successful youth leagues organised before Christmas.  One of the key recommendations of the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan review is to continue to support sport and recreational activities – it just goes to prove how inter-agency responses to needs at community level can work and be successful.”