Guinness World Record achieved
Tuesday, 17 January 2017
CLUB footballers from Armagh and Down played their part in creating a new Guinness World record, but even more importantly they have raised over £50,000 for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and Michaela Foundation.
The Marathon Match, in partnership with core sponsors O'Neill's International Sportswear, took place last weekend at Tyrone's Garvaghey Centre where two teams went head to head for a grueling 24 hours and 20 minutes of gaelic football- a world first.
Included in the selection were ten County Down men, Sean McAvoy (Annaclone), Rory McGrath (Carryduff), Mark Connolly (Drumgath), Francis Downey (St John Bosco Newry), John McAreavey, Justin McCartan and Seamus O'Hare (all Tullylish), Sean O'Hare (Cumman Pheader Naofa) and Billy Drake (St Michaels, Magheralin) whilst Kevin Anderson (Annaclone) was a late omission due to illness. There were three players from Armagh too - Gary Reel (Silverbridge), Matthew Willis (Annaghmore)?and Dallan McKenna (Derrynoose).
The World Record will not be confirmed by Guinness World Records for a few months, however the game surpassed the targeted time of 24 hours by some 20 minutes. In the end, the Blue team won the game by 451 points on a score line of 304-295 to the white teams tally of 205-252, however the score line does not reflect the competitive nature of both teams.
John McAreavey, Marathon Match footballer and Michaela Foundation Trustee admitted the football was grueling but thanked all those who supported the event.
“In the last few hours we were tired, cranky and sore, but as the sun was coming up on the final day we could see the finish line and were glad to see it coming," said McAreavey.
“We never expected to raise over £50,000, it's incredible and makes the feat all the more worthwhile. We couldn't ask much more from the people who've supported and donated us through the event".
Cancer Focus NI provides a wide range of services for Northern Ireland cancer patients and their families. These include counselling, family support, bra and swimwear fitting for women who've had breast surgery, stop smoking services, cancer prevention services in schools, communities and workplaces and breast cancer research in Queen's University Belfast.
Michaela Foundation, inspired by the life and values of Michaela McAreavey, aims to support and inspire young people in Ireland to lead happy and fulfilled lives without limits.
Michaela Foundation organises summer camps and other initiatives for young people that encourage the practice of all the values that Michaela, her family and friends hold dear, such as the Irish language, faith, fun, well-being and fashion.
Mickey Harte, Tyrone manager and Michaela Foundation Trustee, said: "This event has been an amazing.
“The effort and energy of the players was unbelievable, we couldn't ask any more from a human being for 24hours. The team of volunteers in the background have been invaluable - we are so grateful for their support.
“It's a win-win for Michaela Foundation and Cancer Focus NI - vital funds and awareness have been raised. Anyone who thinks of taking on this challenge in the future has their work cut out for them!"
Roisin Foster, Chief Executive of Cancer Focus NI was also pleased.
“We couldn't be more proud of the 40 players who made this event so successful," said Foster.
“The have really had to push themselves, mentally and physically, for this feat, but with the support of friends, family and a team over 150 volunteers - they've made history on the pitch and a huge difference to the lives of cancer patients in Northern Ireland"
The organisers would like to thank all those who generously sponsored goods and services for the Marathon Match. The support of the community, volunteers and sponsors was integral to the success of the Marathon Match.
A particular word of thanks is extended to the staff and managing board of the Tyrone GAA Garvaghey Centre for hosting the Marathon Match their facilities, hospitality and support was first class.
If you would like to donate to the Marathon Match, please go to everydayhero.co.uk/event/marathonmatch or text MTCH24 followed by the amount you want to donate to 70071.
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