Palace take their community work into Ireland

It turned out to be a comfortable 4-0 pre-season win last night at Waterford for Crystal Palace, now just two weeks away from their opening Premier League fixture.

Dwight Gayle: summer signing on the scoresheet at Waterford

Dwight Gayle: summer signing on the scoresheet at Waterford

But after the game, the work for the club’s community group, the Crystal Palace FC Foundation, did not ease up, as they started to deliver football coaching and coach development sessions in Belfast.

In partnership with grassroot community sports delivery specialists Active Communities Network, the sessions are taking place at the Hammer Leisure Centre on Shankill Road and the Bunscoil An Tsleibhe Dhuibh Primary School in the Ballymurphy Estate.

The links between Palace and Ireland can be traced a long way back in history and in recent years many Palace players have gone on to represent the national sides including Iain Dowie, Ray Houghton, Steve Staunton and Clinton Morrison alongside current players Patrick McCarthy and Damien Delaney.

Donald Forde, Head of the Crystal Palace FC Foundation said: “Alongside our work in London this will be, without doubt, one of the highlights of our summer programme.

“This partnership with Active Communities Network is a unique opportunity to complement their work and knowledge with our experienced coaches delivering high quality and fun sessions to young people across Belfast.

“With the first team playing Waterford just a few days before, it gives us great pride to continue the Crystal Palace FC presence across Ireland – North and South – with clubs, organisations and communities.”

Jim Donnelly, Programme Manager, Active Communities Network said: “It is fantastic to welcome the Crystal Palace FC Foundation to Belfast for the very first time – this joined-up working is something that Active Communities Network has championed for many years and is a model for delivery work that can have a far reach.

“With Crystal Palace FC now in the English Premier League these sessions are set to be high-profile and we can expect the very highest standards of coaching for our young people alongside some fantastic coach education with their experienced delivery staff.”

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