- 22 Jun 15
At the prize-giving, Minister Aodhán Ó Riordáin promises changes to system of direct provision are on the way...
Hot Press Munchengladbach 1891 were yesterday crowned winners of the UNHCR Fair Play Football Tournament, run annually to mark World Refugee Day.
The tournament took place in the salubrious grounds of the Law Society, in Blackhall Place. Teams from all over Ireland took part, including from direct provision centres like Mosney. Others competing included RTE (from the RTE sports department), Dublin Devils – a team from the Dublin gay community – and Second Captains. The latter included former Irish international, and current RTE pundit and Sunday Independent columnist, Richard Sadlier in their ranks, alongside Second Captains' Eoin McDevitt, Irish Times journalist Fionn Davenport and comedian David O'Doherty.
With Sadlier getting on the score-sheet on a number of occasions, Second Captains came through their group successfully, but eventually were eliminated in a penalty shoot-out by Mosney.
For their part, Hot Press Munchengladbach 1891 won all three group games, knocking in eight goals without reply. Their final three games were more closely fought. They beat Vietnam 2-0 in the quarter final and vanquished Mosney 1-0 in the penultimate round.
The final was keenly fought. Hot Press enjoyed far more possession but Kilkenny Tigers' more direct style meant that there was always a possibility that they might do a smash and grab by snatching a goal out of nothing. The Kilkenny keeper was in brilliant form and made a series of fine saves. With the clock ticking furiously down, extra time seemed likely. However, a tactical change saw the introduction of midfielder Daniel Diaz De Leon for striker Jordan Ojo, with Brazilian Orley Colla pushing forward.
Within two minutes the switch was rewarded, when Diaz De Leon struck a vicious shot, which deflected into the top left-hand corner of the Kilkenny Tigers goal. And that was how it remained. The Munchies goal had seldom been threatened and Hot Press ran out worthy winners of a thoroughly enjoyable tournament.
The full Hot Press squad for the tournament was Mark Hogan, Duan Stokes, Denilo Natale, Chinedum Arize, Daier Benites, William Ferrera, Orley Colla, Daniel Diaz De Leon and Jordan Ojo, under the managerial guidance of legendary player-manager Niall Stokes (still recovering from a broken collar bone!).
The women’s tournament was won by Diverse City, the team which developed from SARI's 'Hijabs and Hat-tricks' project, which encourages muslim women to play football.
There were words of wisdom afterwards from Perry Ogden, chairman of SARI; from Sophie Magenniss, Head of Office of UNHCR in Ireland, who spoke eloquently of the huge contribution that refugees make to Ireland; and from the recently appointed Minister Aodhán Ó Riordáin, who reported on the review, which he commissioned, into the system of direct provision, into which refugees have, for many years, been corralled in Ireland.
In a rousing speech, he described the current system as a scandal – and promised that changes to it are on the way. The Minister made it quite clear that he intends to get the job done – and on the basis of what we have seen to date, there is no reason whatsoever to doubt him. It was a hugely heartening way to end what was thoroughly enjoyable and successful day..