Hibs legends to play in memorial game for Shaun Woodburn
STARS Garry O'Connor and Derek Riordan will play side-by-side for the first time since their Hibs heyday in a fundraising game in memory of tragic Shaun Woodburn.
They will line up alongside fellow former Easter Road players against Shaun’s former Leith Athletic teammates next Friday on Leith Links.
Money raised will be donated to Street Soccer Scotland, a charity chosen by Shaun’s family to honour his legacy after he was killed on New Year’s Day last year.
Shaun’s mum Denise Syme, 56, said: “This evening of football is a great tribute to Shaun and seeing his old teammates play against his football heroes is a fitting tribute to his life and his love of the game.
“We hope to raise a lot of money for Street Soccer Scotland and bring the love of football to people young and old who need something meaningful in their lives.”
O’Connor and Riordan last played together at Hibs in the feted 2006 side managed by Tony Mowbray.
Defender Shaun began and ended his promising junior career at Leith Athletic – and supported Hibs as a boy.
“I’m sure Shaun will be watching with a big smile on his face – not sure what team he will be cheering on though,” joked Denise.
“It’s a great family evening and I hope to see lots of families and friends there.”
Also making up the Hibs Legend team will be heroes of the club’s 1991 League Cup triumph – Mickey Weir, Keith Wright and Gordon Hunter.
Darren Jackson, who also played for Hearts and Celtic, Gary Smith and Steven Tweed are also part of the squad.
Entry is free with fans asked to make donations to the Street Soccer Scotland charity.
Volunteers from the charity will also run a stall selling merchandise, while specially commissioned programmes will be available to buy also.
Businesses have also provided sponsorship to boost the amount raised for the Leith-based charity, which helps homeless and other vulnerable adults through football.
Fans, meanwhile, can sponsor individual players for £50 with some still available.
Organisers Leith Community Fundraising Organisation, is also arranging a Shaun Woodburn Cup on June 2.
More than £8,000 was raised from mourners at Shaun’s funeral and a series of similar events last year.
Dad-of-one Shaun, 30, was killed while celebrating New Year in 2017 with friends in Leith including Hibs player Danny Swanson.
Ger Freedman, of Leith Community Fundraising Organisation, said: “Hopefully this will be something to make Shaun’s family smile – something positive to come out of all this.
“It’s about folk coming down and helping raise money for a great organisation.”
Shaun was a Leith Athletic player when the club was founded in 1996 – before going on to play for Bonnyrigg Rose.
“He was a lovely, lovely lad,” added Mr Freedman, also honorary life chairman of the club. “It was such a shock to us what happened. All the lads knew him and played with him – it’ll be an emotional night.”
The Hibs Legends v Leith Athletic match kicks off on Leith Links at 6.30pm next Friday, May 25, with further details available at: https://www.facebook.com/leithcfc/