Former Celtic keeper Pat Bonner applauds Tartan Army as Scotland fans donate cash to children's charity in Ireland

Former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner has acclaimed Scotland supporters after they donated thousands of pounds to an Irish children’s charity at the weekend.

Sport Against Racism Ireland [SARI] received £4000 from the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal prior to Saturday’s Nations League match at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, which Scotland lost 3-0.

The TA Sunshine Appeal raises funds for good causes on every Scotland away trip. This was their 90th donation and takes their running total to £250,000 since 2003.

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Bonner spent 19 years at Celtic and applauded the gesture. “As an Irishman living in Glasgow, I am well aware of the passion of the Scottish and Irish fans and I am delighted to witness the power of football with this donation from the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal to SARI,” he said.

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“The friendship between our fans has always been great and this is a wonderful gesture by the visiting supporters.”

Neil Forbes and Diane Doig of the TA Sunshine Appeal presented their cheque to Kerrie Clohessy from SARI, who run the Sheriff Street kids’ football programme at the St Laurence O’Toole Recreation Centre in Dublin city centre.

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One of the footballers from the programme is nine-year-old Logan Grimes, an aspiring goalkeeper with dreams of playing for Ireland. He was also in attendance on Saturday and was thrilled to be a guest of the FAI and to meet Bonner.

“We chose SARI because of the particular nature of the problems that they help to tackle, especially considering the issues around racism and other forms of discrimination within sport in recent times,” said Diane.

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Ireland World Cup hero Pat Bonner with Neil Forbes and Diane Doig of the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal as Kerrie Clohessy from SARI receives their cheque.

“We’re really proud of the work all our members do, and the support we receive from all the Scotland fans for our appeals. This is our 90th consecutive away game where we’re helping a host-nation charity. We even managed to retain our unbroken run of donations throughout the pandemic when we weren’t allowed to travel anywhere.”

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Clohessy admitted being overwhelmed by the donation. “We are so honoured to have been chosen by the Tartan Army for their Irish donation,” he said. “Everywhere they go, they always choose a children’s charity, so we’ve decided to put their gift towards the running costs of our kids’ football programme in the Sheriff Street area.

“It’s probably the most socio-economically disadvantaged community in Ireland, so it’s particularly important to nurture youngsters’ interest in sport.

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“We’re very grateful to our Scottish friends and we were delighted to welcome them to Sheriff Street to meet Logan and some of the other kids who take part in our local football programme there.

Nine-year-old Logan Grimes is one of the kids involved in SARI's football programmes.
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“Our thanks also to Packie Bonner and the FAI for facilitating the handover of the cheque ahead of such a big game between Ireland and Scotland. It was great to be on the pitch and sample the big match atmosphere at first hand ahead of kick-off.”

The Sunshine Appeal’s endeavours have previously helped a school for autistic children in Kazakhstan, refuge shelters for kids in Peru and Mexico, plus a nursery in Budapest and a Moldovan playground.

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