James McClean reaches out to Down Syndrome team in need

A Down Syndrome football in team in Derry needed oppostion and James McClean obliged.

BY Sinéad Farrell 11:50 Thursday 30 March 2017, 11:50 30 Mar 2017

Image: Kevin Morrison Facebook.

James McClean saved the day for a children's Down Syndrome football team in Derry, after stepping in to play against them when they had no opposition.

The Irish international, along with a few friends, offered to play against the Oxford Bulls football team, which was established with the support of the Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, according to Derry Now.

It's been a difficult week for McClean both on and off the pitch. He attended two funerals for two close friends - Martin McGuinness and Derry City captain Ryan McBride. 

He was named the man-of-the-match in Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales, but had to watch his captain Seamus Coleman get stretchered off in the second half of their 0-0 draw after a heavy tackle.

Amidst that emotional upheaval however, McClean reached out to the Oxford Bulls, when they were in need. Footage posted on Facebook, shows McClean warming up with the team before taking them on in a game of indoor soccer.

McClean stood in goals while the players line up to take penalty kicks against him, and after the game, he selected a player for the man-of-the-match award.

Kevin Morrison, a parent of one of the Oxford Bulls players, captured the occasion in a Facebook post:

"Our boys were a bit star struck when he first walked in, but after James put them through their paces in the warm-up, they were ready to take him on.

The McClean Select included former Derry City player Vincent Sweeney and current Coleraine centre-forward Jordan Allan as well as James's bother Brian in their ranks !! Although it was young Nathan Moore who stood out head and shoulders above the rest of his illustrious teammates."

He added:

"I just want to say a huge thank you to James McClean and his mates for coming down to see our lads today and giving them their first big game experience !!!

"The lads are still buzzing and our Adam is still a little Star-struck !!! And I don't think James will ever appear in a more chaotic team photo as he did today (check out our photos To see what I mean lol), and yet he handled it with all such great patience and grace. So thank you James and co. for a most memorable day !!!"

 

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