An Armagh football club’s youth teams have launched a new fundraiser in a bid to compete in international tournaments next year.
The initiative was launched at half-time during Saturday’s game between Armagh City FC and Rathfriland Rangers, and hopes to cover some of the costs towards travel and kit for all.
The club have launched the fundraising campaign with the aim of giving its youth players – both boys and girls – the opportunity to travel overseas to compete in globally-recognised tournaments, in what is a first for the club in some time.
The club hopes to send five teams, of 20 young people each, overseas to compete in cup competitions next May – these are the U16 Boys, U13 Girls, U15 Girls and two U13 Boys teams.
The U13 and U15 Girls, alongside the two U13 Boys teams, will be going to Blackpool Cup, while the U16 Boys will be going to the Barcelona International Youth Cup.
To secure the opportunity of a lifetime, the fundraiser will take a number of different forms and will progress in the coming months.
The U16 Boys will be taking part in a 24-hour Cyclothon in early December, taking the form of a team relay around the clock to complete the challenge.
The rest of the teams will be taking part in the ‘Walk to Blackpool’ challenge, with each team separately taking on the challenge of walking the 307 miles from Armagh to Blackpool over the coming months.
These teams will be taking their Steppers to the Mall Shopping Centre on November 25. Meanwhile, Coach Gerry McGee will be taking on his own personal challenge of the distance himself.
There are other fundraising events in the pipeline too, including coffee mornings, ‘Nights at the Races’, quiz nights and cake sales.
Liam Clarke, Youth Coach at Armagh City FC, says the main goal of the club is to “provide an enjoyable football experience for all”.
He continued: “For the kids it’s an experience of a lifetime and one that they’re never going to forget. The main thing is the experience but they might bring home a trophy too!”
Liam adds that the aim will be for more global trips to take place in the future.
“We intend to schedule overseas trips for our teams on an annual basis going forward. These tournaments provide an excellent opportunity for our teams to showcase their skills, gain valuable experience and foster sportsmanship amongst their peers.
“We’re trying to grow the club in the community as we feel we’re a sleeping giant in Armagh. We have over 400 youth in our club and feel this is an opportunity for everyone. Development is key and this is something for them to look forward to.”