Sunday, January 15, 2023

By Carmel Hayes

A SOCCER tournament in Portlaoise raised a remarkable €3,300 for two local charities that do invaluable work.

Hardy souls from Portlaoise GAA, Portlaoise Shamrocks and Tower Hill Rovers bravely turned out despite miserable weather for their annual friendly soccer tournament, held on the pitches at Laois Leisure Portlaoise (formerly Portlaoise Leisure Centre) on St Stephen’s Day.

Funds raised were split evenly between SOSAD Laois and Cuisle Cancer Support Centre, which were each delighted and extremely grateful to receive cheques for €1,650 last week.

The tournament, which was supported by Laois Leisure and Kavanagh’s Bar, was held in memory of much-missed Portlaoise CBS teacher John Duggan, who died tragically in April 2021.

Portlaoise GAA said: “The club were heavily involved in the annual fundraiser in Portlaoise Leisure Centre on St Stephen’s Day. This event is now a memorial for the late John Duggan RIP, who was a much loved member of the club and the community. Funds raised on the day were split evenly between SOSAD Laois and the Cuisle Centre, both of whom provide vital services in our town and county.

“The games were of varying standards, depending mainly on the age profile, but it was a lovely morning spent amongst friends and we are already looking forward to next year. Many thanks to Brian O’Sullivan for organising, to Portlaoise Leisure Centre for the use of their facility, to the players who took part and to everyone who supported it. Well done all.”

Christy Bannon and Grace Ennis of SOSAD Laois (pictured below), who were presented with the cheque on behalf of the suicide support and awareness group, were overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who organised and took part in the tournament.

The funding will help to run the SOSAD Laois centre which opened in November 2021 on the Abbeyleix Road, near Portlaoise Garda Station. The voluntary group provides free face-to-face or remote professional counselling, on the phone or via Zoom, as well as a 24-hour helpline.

The centre in Shamrock House has three counselling rooms and a garden for outdoor chats, with services that include mindfulness training and a webchat for teenage group support. The office number is 083 0291706 and the email address is [email protected]

Photos from Portlaoise GAA

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