The chance to play alongside your heroes is a rarity, even more so when it is at Croke Park but that is the tantalising opportunity being put before us once again with the return of the 2018 Croke Park Charity Challenge.
Former Galway Hurler Alan Kerins staged similar challenges in 2011 and 2013, raising hundreds of thousands of Euros to support charitable work undertaken by Alan Kerins Projects in Africa.
Back in 2011 we wrote suggesting that a first-time involvement in sponsoring the Alan Kerins project might be a foresight of greater involvement in sporting association for a company called Liberty Insurance who within months had signed on as the five-year sponsor of the All Ireland Hurling and Camogie Championships.
This year’s revival of the event will see fans, players and members of the media line out for a Cork team managed by Rebels legend Billy Morgan and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and a Mayo team managed by current TD and former inter county boss John O’Mahoney and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
It will take place on October 23rd in GAA Headquarters with some of the greatest legends of the game, as well as stars from other sports outside of GAA coming together for a great cause. GAA stars such as Henry Shefflin, Sean Óg O’hAilpín, Tomás O’Sé, and Cyril Donnellan are among those taking part.
The game will be followed by a Gala evening in Croke Park all raising funds to support Self Help Africa.
The 2018 Croke Park Charity Challenge is sponsored by Corrib Oil, Fáilte Ireland, McKeever Sports and Newstalk 106-108FM.
The price of playing in the game does not come cheap at €3,000 but for an individual bringing a dream to life or a company looking to create the ultimate experience for a key client it might not seem too steep at all.
“I’m delighted to be launching the highly anticipated 2018 Croke Park Charity Challenge today,” said Kerins.
“It will be a great and exciting afternoon where former stars, fans and members of the GAA community will get the chance to play on the hallowed turf of Croke Park.”
“The GAA are like a family and I’ve been blown away by the level of support I’ve received from the GAA community.”
“We’re encouraging individuals and companies to get involved in what is going to be a unique experience. Thousands dream of it but very few are lucky enough to get the chance to play in the iconic Croke Park and this is your chance to make your dreams come true.”
“Proceeds from the event will support the African projects of Irish-based international development organisation Self Help Africa, including projects that I have been supporting in Zambia for more than a decade.”
“I would like to thank the people that have made this possible including Self Help Africa, the sponsors, media partners and more. Without their financial support, the life-changing work in Africa that is being carried out would not be possible.”
The 2018 Croke Park Charity Challenge will feature as one of the projects in the first Sport for Business Sport for Social Good Report and Conference taking place in Dublin on Thursday September 27th.
Image Credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile