GAA players coming together to help out the homeless in Galway

A homeless man sleeping rough in a doorway on Shop Street this week. Roscommon hurler Alan Moore is organising the ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’ sleep-out in Galway City on December 16 to highlight the homelessness crisis.
A homeless man sleeping rough in a doorway on Shop Street this week. Roscommon hurler Alan Moore is organising the ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’ sleep-out in Galway City on December 16 to highlight the homelessness crisis.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

FORMER and present GAA players from around the country, who have come together to form a group called ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’, are to take part in a mass ‘sleep-out’ at various locations around the country, including Galway, in a bid to highlight the homelessness crisis.

As it stands, over 250 GAA players have signed up to the ‘sleep-out’ on Saturday, December 16 in 11 locations across Ireland – along with New York – and it is hoped even more will come on board in the coming week or so, particularly in the West of Ireland.

To the fore in organising the event in Galway is Roscommon hurler, Alan Moore, who is a member of a steering committee that also includes Dublin’s Michael Dara McAuley and Eamon Fennell, Wexford’s Diarmuid Lyng and Tipperary quartet Brendan Maher, Patrick Bonner Maher, Seamus Hennessy and Timmy Hammersley, the latter a former GAA coach at newly crowned county champions, Liam Mellows.

Supported not only by the GPA, the social action group has also the backing of the Women’s GPA and so a number of camogie players and ladies’ footballers have also pledged their support. Among them are Dublin’s Sinead Finnegan, Cork’s Valerie Mulcahy, Tyrone’s Gemma Begley and Clare’s Chloe Morey.

As noted, in Galway, Moore is heading up the initiative. Along with his Roscommon team-mates – and Roscommon footballer Niall Kilroy – they will be joined by former Portumna player and new Roscommon hurling boss, Ciaran Comerford and Portumna goalkeeper Joe Keane, who in 2018, will be lining out for the Christy Ring Cup side.

Moore, though, hoped other former and current inter-county players based in Galway – be it whatever county they are from – would come along and he encouraged them to sign up to the venture which has been in the planning since last September.

“Basically, the GPA (Gaelic Players Association) called a meeting and it was kind of like a call out to players to see if they wanted to be community leaders. From that, a steering group came out of it and myself and Pat Nolan (Roscommon hurler) were involved in that.

“So, we looked at the social charity side of things first to see if there was anything that was affecting our communities at home or, generally, anything impacting on our society that we wanted to help with. We brainstormed and from that the majority around the table decided on homelessness. So, we said we would look at that for this year,” he explained.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.