20 October 2005

Historic first at Casement Park

Irelandclick.com

Firefighters from New York clash with their Belfast colleagues at famous Antrim venue

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The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service played the New York Fire Department in an historic Gaelic football match at Casement Park on Sunday. It was the first official sporting event between the two emergency services and a major fundraiser for the local charity, Children After Burns, which is attached to the Burns Unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Forty New York firefighters arrived in West Belfast to play in the landmark football match and also to join up their fundraising efforts with the firefighters from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for the charity.

Divisional Officer Aidan Magennis, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service’s Gaelic team, said, “We are delighted to welcome our friends and colleagues from the New York Fire Department to Northern Ireland. There has always been great camaraderie and friendship between our two emergency services and it is a relationship that has been further strengthened by this match – which is the first official sporting event between the two services.

“We recently launched our new Gaelic football kit, to reflect our name change from Fire Brigade to Fire and Rescue Service and this is the first sporting event where the new kit has been worn.

“A fundraising evening reception for the Burns Unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children took place after the match where the joint amount raised for the charity was presented. The Fire and Rescue Service’s newly formed concert band also performed their musical debut at this fundraising event.”

Eddie Boles, New York Fire Department, added: “This is a terrific opportunity to solidify the solidarity and friendship that exists among fire services the world over. Our Gaelic football team also particularly relishes the opportunity to raise funds for the Burns Unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast. This is an extremely worthy cause and it’s a winning combination – playing football and raising money for children.

“We are delighted to be part of this contribution to the Northern Ireland community.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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