Laois Sports Partnership will host a charity fundraising auction this Saturday night, as they bid to raise some much needed funds to maintain their pioneering sports programme for people with disabilities.
Laois were the first county to appoint a full-time Sports Inclusion Disability Officer (SIDO), and the programme has been a huge success since its introduction. Due to cutbacks in funding the partnership will have to raise e25,000 this year, and part of that will come from the auction of some fantastic pieces of sports memorabilia this weekend.
Saturday will start with a fun wheelchair basketball tournament in St Mary’s Hall, Portlaoise, which is open to people of mixed abilities, with a team of five costing just e50.
It is after the tournament when things will really get going, however, as the presentation night afterwards in O’Gorman’s Bar, Kilminchy, will see some of the exclusive items which have been secured for the auction go under the hammer.
After the end to this season’s Premier League campaign, which saw Manchester City come back from an eight point deficit to beat Manchester Utd to the title, the signed Everton jersey from what is already one of the most famous games in Premier League history is sure to be a sought after piece of sporting history.
There are also some one-off signed rugby jerseys and photos which have been reserved, but maybe the right big could persuade the organisers to let them go.
There is a huge range of sports covered in the auction, with signed boots from Gareth Bale and a signed Irish jersey from the Euro qualifier against Slovakia some of the impressive items from the game of soccer.
In rugby, there are signed Ireland, Leinster and Munster jerseys, as well as a rugby ball signed by the Irish team, as well as signed photos of Brian O’Driscoll, as well as one of Brian O’Driscoll with Jack Kyle after the Grand Slam victory over Wales.
There are signed golf mementos from Rory McIlroy, Christy O’Connor Jnr and Padraig Harrington, signed boxing gloves from Katie Taylor and a selection of signed GAA jersies from Laois, Dublin, Tipperary and Kilkenny.
More items are due to be added, and with all money going towards keeping a programme which helps hundreds of people in the county with disabilites to compete in sport, it is all going to great cause.
A selection of the items are on display in the Laois Shopping Centre. Contact Laois Sports Partnership on 05786-71248 for more details, or find them on Facebook.