Football Memories welcomes John Giles to Dalymount Park
It was fitting that Dalymount was the venue chosen to launch the “More than a Club” Football Memories programme which is designed to bring together elderly members of the local community with a love of football to reminisce about their experiences and memories of a time when football players were closer to the fans and TV broadcast matches were few and far between.
Dalymount Park has hosted some of the World’s greatest players and it was where Giles made his debut for the Republic of Ireland in 1959 scoring a sensational goal in the 16th minute in a 3-2 win over Sweden.
Giles was joined by a group of people eager to hear his football stories. Giles’ contribution to the game in Ireland is immense and his legendary stature in the world game was recognised in 2003 when he was awarded UEFA’s Jubilee Award as the greatest Irish player of the past 50 years.
Locals enjoyed a lively afternoon of discussion and debate in selecting their greatest Irish XI. Giles shared some stories and insights which held the keen interest of the locals eager to recall some of the memorable games and legendary players who one graced the field at “the spiritual home of Irish football”.
The Football Memories programme was organised by staff of the EU funded “More than a Club” project. The “More than a Club” project aims to develop new social enterprises aligned with professional football clubs in Ireland and Wales which will design, develop and deliver innovative social programmes centred on health, education and social inclusion.
The pilot project is supported by the Ireland Wales European Territorial Co-Operation programme, which is helping to strengthen collaboration between Ireland and Wales to address common economic and social challenges.
The Football Memories programme is just one of the many programmes being delivered by the "More than a Club" project staff and aims to provide a safe and comfortable social setting where older members of the local community can gather to socialise and chat about football. It’s an inclusive and dementia friendly programme and provides a platform to assist in the battle against social isolation all too often experienced by older community members.
“It was very enjoyable to drop into Dalymount Park and share many fond memories of the place with local people", Giles revealed at the event.
"I grew up not too far from here and it was great to reminisce not only about football but about Irish society. The Football memories programme is a fantastic way to bring people together and rekindle that sense of community. Congratulations to the people at Bohemians for starting up such a great initiative.”