Wembley wowed by Aisling Project response
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Wembley wowed by Aisling Project response

WEMBLEY STADIUM was the backdrop for The Irish Post’s latest fundraiser, and the skills on display at times would have graced the home of football itself.

Under the shadow of the iconic venue, construction teams from London and the surrounding area competed in a five-a-side tournament to raise money for The Aisling Return to Ireland Project.

And whilst the football certainly was competitive, the enduring legacy of the event will be new friendships forged and money raised for a great cause.

The cup winners were Keltbray Group Ltd
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Keltbray Limited won the main event with Galldris Ltd scooping the shield, but the big winners on the day were the Aisling Project, who are now £8000 better off.

“The support we get from The Irish Post is just phenomenal,” said Alex McDonnell from the group.

“They have helped us raise funds for a minibus before and now this.  We can’t thank them enough.”

Shield winners Galldris Ltd

The Aisling Return to Ireland Project helps-long term emigrants resettle in Ireland and reaches out to vulnerable and isolated members of the Irish community.

They provide supported holidays in Ireland for long-term emigrants, fulfilling what is for many a dream of seeing their homeland again.

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Mr McDonnell said: “We arrange five trips per year and in some instances, we bring people home who haven’t seen Ireland for 30 years.

“These might be people who worked all their lives, worked hard cash-in-hand jobs, but when they stopped working had little chance of getting back.

“Or they have slowly lost touch with people from home, as people pass on, or the friends they knew relocated to a different country.

“They find it hard to ask for help, but we will always do whatever we can to help people reconnect with home.”

Sponsors Michael Hegarty and Darragh O'Brien (UK Recruiting Ltd), David O'Sullivan (Stonebridge Payment Solutions) and David Forde (ex-Ireland soccer international)

Ireland international keeper David Forde was on hand to give out prizes at the event, and he explained why it is a cause close to his heart.

He said: “I came over to the UK in the early 2000s and it was a difficult time, hand on heart.

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“I struggled with loneliness and adapting to a new life, first in Wales and then in London. So I can totally relate to anyone who went through similar, even though I didn’t face the difficult circumstances some of those lads would have faced in the 60s.

“You want to build a career for yourself and whether that is in professional sport, construction or whatever, it means making sacrifices.

“I have been blessed to have a great career and I wouldn’t complain about one moment of it.

John Glynn (Aisling Project), Marita Quigley and Oisin Kavanagh (Irish Post) and Alex McDonnell and Mary Leyne (Aisling Project)

But there might be a perception out there that the more successful you are the more you can insulate yourself against loneliness and the other issues that come from leaving a place and culture you know.

"You really can’t. Home still means a lot to me and family means everything.

"The work the Aisling Return to Ireland Project do is amazing, and I am glad to help in any way I can."

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We would like to thank the sponsors:

  • UK Recruiting Ltd

  • Stonebridge Payment Solutions Ltd

And also To the companies who supported the tournament:

  • Rochford Ltd

  • PHD Modular Access Ltd

  • Crangy Construction Ltd

  • Henry Construction Ltd

  • Realtime Civil Engineering Ltd

  • Farcon Ltd, Coinford Ltd

  • JB Structures Ltd

  • McRail Constructions Ltd

  • Galldris Construction Ltd

  • Modebest Ltd

  • Foundations Development Ltd

  • Ward & Burke Construction Ltd

  • Keltbray Group Ltd

  • Coinford Ltd