Dunne joins charity game for tragic friend
BOXING champion Bernard Dunne is swapping his boxing gloves for football boots in aid of charity.
Dunne is expected to play in a charity football match in aid of the Caring And Sharing Association (CASA) tomorrow, in honour of his late friend Packie Ryan.
Mr Ryan (32), who was married and had recently become a dad for the first time, passed away after a long battle with cancer. His daughter Abby is only a few months old.
He was a close friend of Dunne, who is delighted to be involved in the fundraising match, which will take place in the grounds of St Patrick's Athletic in Inchicore.
"We hoped Packie could go with CASA on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, but unfortunately he was too ill to travel," Super Bantamweight champion Bernard said.
"I am delighted to have the opportunity to help his wife Frances, his daughter Abby and CASA in raising funds.
"I wanted to do something, so CASA came along, they're fantastic, they look after everybody," said the boxing champ.
"Bernard wanted to do something after his friend Packie passed away. He was only 32 and left behind a wife and a new-born baby. He teamed up with CASA so it's really a joint effort," CASA's Mags Travers told the Herald.
The Gaiety All Stars vs Sporting Bernard Dunne promises to be an exciting match.
"I'll have some big mates on the sideline to intimidate," joked Bernard.
Dunne will line out against RTE's Brian Ormond, snooker player Ken Doherty and footballers Paul McGrath and Liam O'Brien, rugby star Shane Byrne, as well as Meath GAA star Graham Geraghty.
Many other Irish celebrities are set to don jerseys on the day, to make it a star-studded and fun-packed day.
Dunne said: "There will be face painting, clowns, it's really a family day."
The charity event hopes to raise much-needed funds for CASA, who work with people with disabilities in communities in north Dublin.
"It's great attention for CASA and the work they're doing. In the current climate, with Government cut-backs, it'll be good to raise funds for them," Dunne added.
The charity has been working closely with people with disabilities for more than 30 years. Their goal is to develop social outlets for people through social activity.
The money raised will help with the charity's annual trips to Lourdes, which Packie had hoped to go on before he passed away.
It will also go towards reducing the waiting list for the other programmes they run, and a proportion of funds raised will go towards the newly set-up Packie Ryan fund.
The match will take place in Richmond Park, Inchicore, tomorrow.