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Irish Open to support Harry Gregg Foundation in quest to 'inspire' young people into sport

Rory McIlroy says the decision to support the Harry Gregg Foundation at the Irish Open was a 'pretty obvious choice.'

The local charity was set up in 2015 to provide opportunities for young people to get involved in sport, encouraging positive changes in their lives.

And at such a high-profile event hoped to inspire the younger generation, Rory says the decision to support the Foundation was a no-brainer.

“I first met Harry Gregg at a game in Windsor Park last year and we really hit it off," said Rory. "Being a big football fan and a Manchester United supporter, we had a great chat that night, so to get involved with Harry’s Foundation was really a pretty obvious choice. Sport was my life growing up and remains so today, and I’m proud to be getting involved with a local charity helping young people get into sport. I’m also really looking forward to the tournament at Portstewart next week."

The Harry Gregg Foundation facilitates a wide range of activities for thousands of people each week within the local community, through participation in football, and various other health, lifestyle, educational, heritage and social inclusion activities.

A world-class footballer, who grew up on Windsor Avenue in Coleraine, Harry made 25 appearances for Northern Ireland and was voted best goalkeeper at the 1958 World Cup. He also played for Manchester United during the reign of Sir Matt Busby, with a total of 247 appearances for the club. A survivor of the Munich Air crash in February 1958, Harry was one of the disaster's great heroes. He later moved into management, taking charge at Shrewsbury Town, Swansea City, Crewe Alexandra and Carlisle Utd where he inspired some of the game’s biggest names.

“Thanks to Rory McIlroy for selecting my Foundation as one of the beneficiaries of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2017," he said.

"The Harry Gregg Foundation was set up to inspire young people. I want young people to learn through mine and Rory's example which have huge similarities. No dream is too big and with support, inevitable challenges can serve to strengthen rather than deter. I passed comment to Rory when we recently met, that he is very much the most prominent of Northern Ireland's new sporting ambassadors and he does a wonderful job in being so.

"Rory like I, sees the value of developing young people through sport. I am very proud that my Foundation, supported by a team of dedicated volunteers is providing opportunities for such large numbers of local young people to fulfil their dreams."

Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation said: “I’m delighted the Harry Gregg Foundation are on board for this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. It’s great to support local charities and particularly children and young people in need. Harry himself is an inspiration to those young people and I look forward to welcoming his Foundation to Portstewart next week. They will be based in the Championship Village so pop over and say hello to them.”

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation takes place at Portstewart Golf Club from July 6-9 and tickets can be purchased from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open website or the Rory Foundation website.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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