Solitary football match between Sligo travellers and Ballaghadereen refugees

On Tuesday evening August 7th teams representing Sligo Traveller Support Group (STSG) and the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre (EROC) Ballaghadereen met in a friendly solidarity football match in the Roscommon town. It was the second such game to take place, the first having happened in January in Sligo, and is part of a growing friendship between the Sligo Traveller and refugee communities. The game itself was very competitive but played in good spirits with some excellent passages of play on both sides. However it was STSG who eventually ran out as winners at the full time whistle. After the game both squads gathered in the Abbeyfield Hotel for some past match food and teas/coffees. One of the organisers of the game Jamie Murphy from the Sligo Traveller Support Group said “We were delighted with how the evening went.We are happy of course that STSG won the game but more importantly with the friendships that are being built between the Traveller and refugee communities. The game itself may only seem like a small gesture but football and sport in general can have a wonderful ability to bring people together. Considering the history of emigration in Ireland It is important that all communities are made to made feel welcome here. This is what the game is about. Travellers too who have suffered generations of discrimination and continue to experience it on a daily basis know the importance of making people feel welcome. We would like to thank all at the EROC centre for helping making the game happen, in particular James Gannon and Sanjjad Hussain.

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