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Legend McCallan leads fundraising drive

By Declan Bogue

Former Tyrone goalkeeper Plunkett ‘Oz’ McCallan and a number of other GAA members including West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff, are linking up for a nationwide penalty kick competition in order to raise money and awareness of the plight of housing repossession and homelessness.

A travelling party of seven Tyrone GAA figures will visit a club in all 32 counties and McElduff will take a penalty in each against former Carrickmore netminder McCallan, holder of a record-equalling six Tyrone club Championships. The first kick will be taken at Spiddal, Co Galway on Tuesday, July 24, and the road trip will finish back in the O’Neill county at the Derrytresk club on Saturday, July 28.

The organisers of the 32-32-32 initiative want every club in Ireland to donate €32 (£25.75) for the Simon Community.

Along the way the seven will sleep in cardboard boxes in order to highlight the plight of the increasing number of homeless.

The fundraiser, which it is hoped will raise at least €80,000 (£64,383), was inspired by legendary keeper ‘Oz’ McCallan.

A bus driver by occupation, he said: “Last winter I was driving out of the bus depot in Belfast and it was a freezing night. I was thinking about getting home to a nice cosy warm fire and I saw a white van pull up on the street. It seemed like at least 20 people appeared out of nowhere, some of them with blankets, and were served soup and bread. It really impacted on me and made me think that I often take my warm home and a roof over my head for granted. I chatted to Barry McElduff and the idea took off from there.” An official launch will take place at Stormont on Monday at 1pm. For more information visit the website: www.32-32-32.com

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