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Saturday 22 September 2018

'We'll be more than a club' says Oscar

Bohemians player Oscar Brennan (second right) with (l-r) More Than A Club representatives Shane Fox, Carina O’Brien and Ger Coughlan at Dalymount Park yesterday. Pic: Sportsfile
Bohemians player Oscar Brennan (second right) with (l-r) More Than A Club representatives Shane Fox, Carina O’Brien and Ger Coughlan at Dalymount Park yesterday. Pic: Sportsfile

Bohemians and Cork City will try and import some of the Barcelona ethos with a new More Than A Club scheme which is being implemented for the new season.

And Bohs star Oscar Brennan, who does community work for the Gypsies, such as prison and school visits, believes that League of Ireland clubs are only now making up for lost time in terms of having a foothold in the community.

An 18-month scheme, supported by the FAI and the FA of Wales which has EU funding, will see Bohs and Cork, and two Welsh clubs, each take on three employees (one part-time) to help the clubs make inroads into the community, with projects like numeracy, healthy eating, engaging with the elderly and unemployed.

Brennan, a key player for Bohs last season, had already worked on community projects, a regular visitor to Mountjoy prison for coaching sessions, and feels it's essential.

"The title of the programme itself, More Than A Club, speaks volumes," he says.

"It's more than just the 11 lads who go out and play on a Friday night, it's everyone involved in the club and the club giving back to the community.

"In the last 10 years or so it's been tough financially, clubs were so focused on pooling their tight resources on the field, it's tough to look beyond the players on the pitch so it has been a difficult time but there is a bit more money coming into the league, and hopefully clubs can get more involved in communities."

FAI League Director Fran Gavin hopes that other clubs can join Bohs and Cork.

"That's the plan we'd have long-term. But these two clubs, along with others, have shown they don't just talk about stuff, they go out and do it," he said.

With the start of the new league season only a month away, Gavin says that the club licences issue will be dealt with on February 6.

Bray Wanderers and Athlone Town were the two 'crisis clubs' last season and Gavin reveals that the FAI have already held talks with Bray about being ready for the new season but have yet to meet Athlone.

"We will be going down there (Athlone) in the next few days. We met Bray and we reflected on last season," he said.

"They fulfilled all their commitments last season, honoured all their contracts. It was a quite difficult time, it was not the greatest hour for the league and we made that known to them very strongly. They will address that."

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