24 hr GAA Marathon Men raise approx £50k
40 brave Gaelic footballers took to the pitch at Tyrone GAA Garvaghey Centre to undertake the challenge of breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest Gaelic football match in history – and have raised approximately over £50,000 for two local charities, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and Michaela Foundation.
The ‘Marathon Match’, in partnership with core sponsors O’Neill’s International Sportswear, took place on January 7th/8th and saw two teams go head to head for a gruelling 24 hours of Gaelic football– a world first.
Cancer Focus NI provides a wide range of services for Northern Ireland cancer patients and their families. These include counselling, family support, bra and swimwear fitting for women who’ve had breast surgery, stop smoking services, cancer prevention services in schools, communities and workplaces and breast cancer research in Queen’s University Belfast.
Michaela Foundation, inspired by the life and values of Michaela McAreavey, aims to support and inspire young people in Ireland to lead happy and fulfilled lives without limits. Michaela Foundation organises summer camps and other initiatives for young people that encourage the practice of all the values that Michaela, her family and friends hold dear, such as the Irish language, faith, fun, well-being and fashion.
Mickey Harte, Tyrone GAA Manager and Michaela Foundation Trustee, said “This event has been an amazing. The effort and energy of the players was unbelievable, we couldn’t ask any more from a human being for 24hours. The team of volunteers in the background have been invaluable – we are so grateful for their support. It’s a win-win for Michaela Foundation and Cancer Focus NI – vital funds and awareness have been raised. Anyone who thinks of taking on this challenge in the future has their work cut out for them!”
Roisin Foster, Chief Executive of Cancer Focus NI said “We couldn’t be more proud of the 40 players who made this event so successful. The have really had to push themselves, mentally and physically, for this feat, but with the support of friends, family and a team over 150 volunteers – they’ve made history on the pitch and a huge difference to the lives of cancer patients in Northern Ireland”
Stephen Rice, Volunteer Physiotherapist, said “I helped out at the beginning and end of the event. The pace at the start was sharp and there were a few injuries but the players worked through them. It was mind over matter in those last few hours, they were physically very tired but are staying strong mentally and gave it their all.”
John McAreavey, Marathon Match footballer and Michaela Foundation Trustee, said “In the last few hours we were tired, cranky and sore, but as the sun was coming up on the final day we could see the finish line and were glad to see it coming. We never expected to raise over £50,000, it’s incredible and makes the feat all the more worthwhile. We couldn’t ask much more from the people who’ve supported and donated us through the event”.
The organisers would like to thank all those who generously sponsored goods and services for the Marathon Match. The support of the community, volunteers and sponsors was integral to the success of the Marathon Match. A particular word of thanks is extended to the staff and managing board of the Tyrone GAA Garavaghey Centre for hosting the Marathon Match their facilities, hospitality and support was first class.
If you would like to donate to the Marathon Match, please go to everydayhero.co.uk/event/marathonmatch or text MTCH24 followed by the amount you want to donate to 70071.