Goal hero McAuley's Northern Ireland shirt raises £7,500 for charity
The shirt that Gareth McAuley wore in Northern Ireland's historic victory over Ukraine at Euro 2016 has raised over £7,000 for charity.
West Brom defender McAuley scored the opening goal in the famous 2-0 win during this summer's tournament in France in what was Northern Ireland's first-ever appearance at a European Championship finals.
Niall McGinn added a second goal in stoppage time to earn Michael O'Neill's men a place in the knockout stages, where they lost 1-0 to eventual semi-finalists Wales.
McAuley's clinical header in the 49th minute against Ukraine has gone down in Northern Irish football folklore, and his signed match shirt proved a massive attraction in a recent charity raffle as it raised an impressive £7,464.78 for the Cancer Fund for Children.
It was during a visit last month to Daisy Lodge, the charity's therapeutic short-break centre in Newcastle, Co Down, that McAuley helped launch the appeal.
There was a phenomenal response to the fundraising drive, with thousands of tickets being snapped up by fans eager to get their hands on the shirt.
And last night the charity revealed that the lucky winner of the jersey was London-based supporter Mark Harrison, who will receive his prize from none other than 'Big G' himself during the Christmas holidays.
Sorcha MacLaimhin, Cancer Fund for Children's corporate fundraiser, admitted the charity had been overwhelmed by the outcome of the raffle.
"We are absolutely delighted by the success of the raffle of Gareth McAuley's football shirt, which has raised over £7,000," Sorcha said. "This fantastic sum will help Cancer Fund for Children provide children and young people diagnosed with cancer and their families with practical, financial and therapeutic support.
"We receive less than one per cent of our income from Government funding, and rely on the generosity of the Northern Ireland public to help us ensure families in Northern Ireland don't have to face cancer alone.
"On their behalf, I would like to thank Gareth for his support, and also all the Northern Ireland fans who took part in the raffle."
Northern Ireland chose the Cancer Fund for Children as their nominated charity for Euro 2016.
The squad helped raise more than £50,000 through the donation of match fees and additional charity collections at the Fan Zones in Belfast during their matches in France.
Every week in Northern Ireland another three children, teenagers and young adults are diagnosed with cancer.
Speaking last month, McAuley said: "I wanted to donate the shirt to the Cancer Fund for Children to give something back and to raise as much money as possible for a great cause.
"The shirt is something that is very special to me, so hopefully it will go to a good place through this raffle."