Irish World Article 22nd Jan 2018

MS No barrier for One of Ireland’s Most Dedicated Supporters

Irish World Article 22nd January 2018

Carmel Mackey (front and centre)
Carmel Mackey (front and centre)

The London branch of the Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporters Club (RISSC) will be fund raising for MS Ireland at its Quiz Night on Friday 26th January at the Clayton Crown Hotel in Cricklewood.

It’s a cause very close to the supporters club’s heart, as one of its long serving members, Carmel Mackey, has lived with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years.

But that hasn’t stopped her following the team and she still travels to home and away matches to cheers the lads on.

So much so, that Carmel’s commitment to the green jersey featured in the official match day programme for the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Moldova at the Aviva Stadium last year, as part of an on-going feature acknowledging the team’s most dedicated supporters. Carmel definitely qualifies.

She said in the article: “I’ve gone to games when I could walk, I’ve gone [to games] on two sticks and now I go in a wheelchair. I’ve had some great times and I’m relaxed and easy going anyway. I have fun and I enjoy the football.

“My attitude was, ‘well I don’t have a tumour, nobody died. And please God I would live long enough that I would survive’. I just accepted it and I was fortune enough I guess.

“I can stand up and take steps. I have fallen a few times, but you just get up and go. Now, because of my disability, I really choose where I can go more and more. I have had times where I arrive at stadiums and there’s nowhere to get in.”

From a GAA background in Tyrone, it was Carmel’s husband Sean who first got her into football and the supporters club, when he took her to a RISSC meeting.

Sean, who has roots in Limerick, has been involved with the supporters club since its formation in 1984. It currently has approximately 600 members.

Sean Mackey (founding member of RISSC London), Carmel, Roisin and her husband Sean Kennedy

The RISSC supports various charities as well as St Kevin’s Boys football club in Dublin, as an important part of its ‘contribution towards football in Ireland’ says Sean.

To complete the family’s involvement with the RISSC, Sean and Carmel’s daughter Roisin Kennedy (nee Mackey) is the club’s kit officer.

There will also be a raffle on the night, which gets underway at 7:30pm, with a signed Ireland shirt, a signed James McClean photo and a special VIP package (including flights, hotel and match tickets) amongst the prizes.

To find out more about the RISSC or to purchase raffle tickets online visit www.rissc.org Online ticket sales end at midnight on Wednesday 24th January.

This article appeared in The Irish World 24th January 2018, and on irishworld.com

Irish Post Article 7th Oct 2016

London Irish boy, 4, collects UEFA football fan award and meets his Republic of Ireland hero Seamus Coleman

Irish Post Article 7th October 2016

Seamus Coleman, Cian Prendergast and Martin Prendergast (Picture: Martin Prendergast)

THE youngest member of the London Republic of Ireland Supporters’ club (RISSC London) has received a UEFA award for contributing to the success of Euro 2016.

UEFA, European football’s governing body, awarded several Ireland fans for an ‘outstanding contribution’ to the event, one of which was London-born four-year-old Cian Prendergast, who also had the pleasure of meeting goal-hero Seamus Coleman following the 1-0 win over Georgia.

The match took place last night at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin and, remarkably, it was the youngster’s 34th Ireland game.

Although the match itself was largely underwhelming, both father and son had an evening to remember.

“Cian had a great time, we really enjoyed it,” said his father Martin, who is secretary of the London Republic of Ireland Supporters’ club. “The players were really warm and great with Cian. He was delighted to meet Coleman, the goalscorer. “He got a lovely medal; it’s quite solid with a little inscription on the back of it, it’s a really lovely keepsake.“In fact, I’ve had to take it off him to stop him running about with it everywhere!”

Cian and his father Martin accepting the award from a UEFA representative (Picture: Martin Prendergast)

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) covered the cost of their flights to Dublin and the trip was a doddle for Cian, who became an internet hit in the summer for his rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann at the Sweden game in Euro 2016.

“He’s quite used to the travelling now after going to all four games at the Euros, and all the other members know him now so they look after him too,” said Martin, who is keen to recruit more young members to the club.

“We’ve got a great mix of ages in the club,” he added, “but we’re trying to get a few younger people involved.

“I’m hoping, with the Euros still fresh in peoples’ minds, some younger lads who have just come over for work or university or whatever will want to join.

“A lot of young lads do go to the games but aren’t members of the club, but it would be nice to get them signed up and we can help with their transport costs through our commercial deal with CityJet, who give us 10 per cent off flight costs for games.”

This article appeared in The Irish Post October 2016, and on irishpost.co.uk

Irish Post Article 29th Sept 2016

London-born Cian Prendergast selected to accept Ireland fans’ award from UEFA

Irish Post Article 29th September 2016

FOUR-YEAR-OLD Cian Prendergast of London Republic of Ireland Supporters Club (RISSC London) is among a selection of fans to be presented with a commemorative plaque at this week’s World Cup Qualifier against Georgia at the Aviva Stadium.

Cian Prendergast and his father Martin

The UEFA Executive Committee have decided to give an award to the Republic of Ireland for the outstanding contribution of their supporters in making Euro 2016 a success, with an array of hand-picked fans set to accept the accolade.

Cian and his father Martin, who will also attend the presentation, are both members of London Ireland Supporters Club and regularly travel from London to Ireland games home and abroad, including the Euros.

A video of London-born youngster Cian belting out Amhrán na bhFiann in the Stade de France ahead of Ireland’s Euro 2016 opener against Sweden went viral online during the summer.

“He is really excited and hopes to meet Shane Long, his favourite player,” Cian’s father Martin told The Irish Post.

“He’s been singing the ‘Shane Long’s on fire’ song ever since we told him of the invitation. He thinks he will score and Ireland will beat Georgia.

“Thanks to the FAI, John Delaney and Gerry Reardon for thinking of the young supporters who are the future of Ireland’s support and I hope more young people will be able to attend domestic and international games to get behind Irish football.”

Football Association of Ireland CEO, John Delaney, hailed the impact of Republic supporters made at Euro 2016 ahead of this week’s presentation.

He said: “The supporters selected to receive the award are perfect ambassadors and I look forward to the ceremony at the Aviva Stadium.”

Watch Cian’s memorable effort at Amhrán na bhFiann below:

This article appeared in The Irish Post September 2016, and on irishpost.co.uk

Irish Post Article 16th June 2016

WATCH: Four-year-old Ireland fan is internet hit with national anthem rendition

Irish Post Article 16th June 2016

Young Ireland fan and RISSC London member Cian Prendergast

LONDON-BORN four-year-old Ireland fan Cian Prendergast has become an internet sensation for his impressive rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann at Euro 2016.

As a season ticket holder at the Aviva Stadium and a member of the London branch of the Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporter’s Club (RISSC London), Cian is strong contender for Ireland’s number one fan at the Euros.

Such were his exploits at the Sweden game in Paris, the youngster was picked up by the big screens inside Stade de France as well as featuring on BBC’s end credits after the game.

His father, Secretary of RISSC Martin Prendergast, is now on a mission to get the Ireland players to see his son’s passionate rendition of the national anthem ahead of Ireland’s last two group games against Belgium and Italy.

He told The Irish Post: “Cian’s coming with me to the Italy game next week and he asked me if the players would see it, so I said I’d see what I can do!”

This article appeared in The Irish Post June 2016, and on irishpost.co.uk

Irish Post Article 14th Oct 2014

THE Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporters Club (RISSC) London held its 30th Anniversary dinner dance at the Crown Moran Hotel in Cricklewood.

Irish Post Article 14th October 2014

Many of the club’s members attended the 30th anniversary celebrations (Photo: Malcolm McNally)

Around 200 members and their guests attended and among those present were Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, Football Association of Ireland CEO John Delaney and former Tottenham and Republic of Ireland footballer Tony Galvin.

Many of those who were at the very first meeting of the RISSC London, which took place at the Prince of Wales Feathers pub in Warren Street in 1984, were present for the 30th anniversary celebrations, including our photographer Malcolm McNally.

There was much reminiscing on the night of the many trips made following the Boys in Green over those 30 years, as well as plans made for future games. All enjoyed a great evening.

Pictures by Malcolm McNally

This article appeared in The Irish Post October 2014, and on irishpost.co.uk