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