Magherafelt Sky Blues rub shoulders with NI stars

YOUNG footballers from Magherafelt Sky Blues got the chance to watch stars like David Healy, Aaron Hughes and Steve Davis as they attended the Northern Ireland team training session ahead of their friendly with Norway.

The opportunity arose courtesy of McDonald’s and followed Robert Rainey’s success at last year’s inaugural McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards, where the Sky Blues Chairman received the Outstanding Contribution Award for his services to grassroots football.

Robert received his award during a gala evening, with special guests Pat Jennings, Sir Geoff Hurst and Eric Harrison helping McDonald’s and the Irish FA to recognise and celebrate the clubs, coaches and volunteers that make outstanding contributions to grassroots football and to local communities throughout Northern Ireland.

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Commenting following the NI training session, Robert said: “It was really beneficial for the boys to see football coaching at the highest level and hopefully we’ll be able to incorporate one or two things into our own training sessions in the future. It was also fantastic that the boys got to meet Michael O’Neill and the players and get their pictures taken with them.”

The opportunity to attend the training session was provided by McDonald’s who, this year, is celebrating ten years as the Official Community Partner of the Irish FA and through this partnership is helping young footballers shine. The partnership is currently delivering a lasting legacy for grassroots football through ongoing coach creation and education, a new Club Accreditation Scheme, the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards and through a series of regional Small Sided Games Centres.