Soccer legend and proud dad Damien Duff is to host a special football event in honour of his three-year-old son.
The 35-year-old sports star will host a seven-a-side football match in aid of two Irish charities, Heart Children Ireland and Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, next month.
Former Ireland international Damien’s first child Woody has a congenital heart condition and the Ballyboden native has decided to rally together 20 teams to take part in the one-off event, kicking off on June 28.
Little Woody, who is named after filmmaker Woody Allen, was diagnosed when, 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Damien’s wife Elaine decided to have a 3D scan.
The couple were told by doctors that 1pc of children “would not leave the hospital alive” following vital surgery.
Woody’s four-hour operation took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and was a success.
Damien described the wait as being the longest four hours of his life.
“He had what is called a partial AVSD, a small hole in his heart that was never going to repair so they needed to go in after six months and fix it,” he said.
“Otherwise it would have affected his development.
“We brought him up to the anaesthetic room; he wanted to be in our arms. You more or less have your son in a headlock as you see him drift off.
“That was possibly the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do, myself and my wife.
“It was the longest time in my life because you convince yourself he’s not going to come out.”
Heart Children Ireland is a non-Government funded organisation which provides support for those with congenital heart defects, while Aoibheann’s Pink Tie provides practical, emotional and financial support to families whose child or children are battling cancer.
The event will take place on the EUFA 2 Astro Pitch at Irishtown Stadium in Dublin 4. For more info on his charity match go to www.inter7s.com.