PICS: Excitement high as football legend visits young Cork players

The renowned goalscorer presented the young players with customised sponsored jerseys. 
PICS: Excitement high as football legend visits young Cork players

Young Cork players were thrilled to meet the footballing legend. Pictures: Jim Coughlan.

LIVERPOOL legend Ian Rush scored points with young fans in Glanmire following a memorable visit to the Under-11s team at Riverstown FC.

The renowned goalscorer presented the young players with customised sponsored jerseys bearing his name before participating in a kickabout. He received a warm reception from players keen to discuss his sporting accolades.

 Ian Rush, with the Riverstown Under 11's. Pictures: Jim Coughlan.
Ian Rush, with the Riverstown Under 11's. Pictures: Jim Coughlan.

"They didn't hold back and there were so many questions," his Fianceé Carol Anthony told The Echo. 

"All the kids were asking if Ian had really scored that many goals. Even though they are too young to remember when he played they know the stats from FIFA." 

The visit comes two years after he proposed to Carol, who hails from Togher. Carol explained that her nephew Erin plays with the team, cementing their connection with the club. Carol described the exciting scenes on the pitch.

The pair were keen to spend as much time as possible with the children.

 Ian Rush meeting Riverstown FC members.
Ian Rush meeting Riverstown FC members.

"When I was a kid and you met your hero, it was always their time that you appreciated," she said. 

"They may not even understand what you did in your career but time means everything to a child. It's something that they always remember."

Ian Rush meeting Riverstown FC members.
Ian Rush meeting Riverstown FC members.

She said Ian was delighted to offer support to the club. 

"Grassroots are struggling at the moment and we want to do more to support them, particularly in the Cork area," she said. "Ian's vision has always been based around grassroots. 

"We'd like to focus on Cork and support other teams too. With me, this is probably for selfish reasons because I love Cork. I'm proud to give something back that goes hand in hand with what Ian does."

 Ian Rush, with John O'Connor, Chairperson Riverstown FC, Erin Anthony, Riverstown FC Under 11 squad and Greg Marah, Secretary Riverstown FC.
Ian Rush, with John O'Connor, Chairperson Riverstown FC, Erin Anthony, Riverstown FC Under 11 squad and Greg Marah, Secretary Riverstown FC.

Carol said they hope to do everything in their power to promote sport among the younger generations.

"Sport is great for the kids in particular because it gives them a focus. For the health benefits alone it's imperative. At a time when people have been stuck in for so long, it's important that children get the fresh air and exercise that they need."

 Ian Rush (back row 2nd from right), with the Riverstown Under 11 coaches.
Ian Rush (back row 2nd from right), with the Riverstown Under 11 coaches.

She also highlighted the social benefits of sport.

"Ian always said that you shouldn't take sport too seriously when you're a child because it needs to be about having fun. For kids, it's not just about sport. It's about forming bonds, friendships, and being invited to birthday parties."

Carol said she is proud the children will be sporting Ian's jerseys and said the visit was also a big hit with her nephew. 

"Later on that day, my nephew went straight up to Ian and gave him a hug," she said "He said that Ian had made him that coolest boy in school and that made me feel about 10ft tall." 

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