Palestinian youth side to play against Blackpool's Castleview tomorrow

Palestinian youth side to play against Blackpool's Castleview tomorrow
One of the player from Palestine's Al Helal football academy who play Blackpool's Castleview AFC in the Mardyke.

A group of boys from the Al Helal football academy of Gaza city in Palestine are visiting Ireland and will play in Cork tomorrow against Blackpool side Castleview AFC.

The match takes place at the Mardyke Arena at 3pm.

It is part of a nationwide tour the team is making playing games in Dublin, Manorhamilton, Kinvara and Limerick.

The 18 young players will be in Ireland from July 28 to August 6. All the players are aged between 12 and 15.

This visit is part of a respite programme, to ensure the children have a break from the hostilities of their home country and is organised by Gaza Action Ireland.

Local organisers Noelette Noonan and Arthur Leahy said: "We are delighted to welcome back the Al Helal football academy, and these young boys to play against Castleview AFC."

"It’s a real break for them, from the harsh realities of life in Gaza. We would also like to thank the Markdyke arena for donating facilities and Dominoes Pizza for providing food."

The Gaza Kids to Ireland project is an initiative of Gaza Action Ireland to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Mags O’Brien of Gaza Action Ireland said: “The situation for Palestinians in Gaza trying to play sports, is extremely difficult. The children are hampered by a lack of facilities and equipment as well as the ongoing conflict. Al-Helal Football Academy clubhouse was partially damaged in a bombing in 2014 which was a huge setback for the club but despite all this, the club is going strong.

“The project provides these young children with a much-needed break from the hardships where they live and is a great opportunity for people to support these wonderful young players.”

The public are welcome to attend tomorrow's match.

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