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Westport Utd rally the troops

Sport

SHOWING THEIR COLOURS Well-known Westport Utd fans Martin Keane and Edwin Gibbons are pictured at United Park. Pic: Conor McKeown

Ger Flanagan

“WE’RE calling on every man, woman, child from every sporting club in Westport down to United Park this weekend to be that 12th man, or woman, and help us progress to an All-Ireland semi-final.”
Those are the words of Westport United chairman Myles Staunton last night (Monday) ahead of what he believes is ‘the biggest weekend in the club’s history’ as they get set to host three national quarter-finals in United Park.
On Saturday, the Westport United Under-13s face Leixlip United (12.30pm) while the Under-14s entertain Shamrock Rovers (2.30pm).
Then on Sunday, the Junior side welcome Limerick’s Aisling Annacotty in the quarter-final of the FAI Junior Cup.
Staunton feels the weekend will well and truly ‘christen’ United Park and has called on the people of Westport to throw their full weight behind the teams in action.
“I’m a big believer in the 12th man,” said the chairman. “You could see it in our previous matches, and against Usher Celtic particularly, where we were big underdogs and that 12th man really helped us get over the line.
“So we’re calling on everyone, across all the sporting codes – GAA, athletics, rugby – we would be delighted to have everyone in United Park where the Red and Black will be out in force.”
Staunton added that the uniqueness of the weekend is truly fitting in that it arrives in the same year that club stalwart Aiden King was elected as Club President; a man who ‘has always had such a vested interest in Westport United underage football’.
He also highlighted the recent run of the Westport United under-14 girls, who lost out to Mervue recently in the national semi-final, and repeated the club’s ambitions of forming an Under-19 team this season.
Next weekend is sure to bring back memories of some great days in 2005, and Myles Staunton says there is huge excitement around the town.
“Every time I walk around the town I’m being stopped continually by people, and all they want to talk about is the match and about the memories over the years,” he said.  
“There’s a lot of excitement around the town but, saying that, Westport United is not just about the football, we really think it’s a community club.
“It’s based on a lot of connections with families over the years, and any time we’ve asked the town for anything  in terms of fund-raising, they’re always so good.”
An estimated crowd of up to 1,000 supporters could descend on United Park on Sunday for what is the club’s biggest game since 2005 and Staunton highlighted the scale of the achievement before a ball is even kicked.
“When you take into account that over 800 teams entered into the FAI Junior Cup, and well over 300 in each of the other competitions, to be in the last eight is a remarkable achievement,” he admitted.
“And a testament to the players and coaches, and indeed their parents. This is what all football clubs are looking for – big weekends where you can showcase the very best of football.
“To be competing against the likes of Leixlip, Shamrock Rovers and Aisling Annacotty, it’s a credit to everybody. It may not happen again for a while, but it’s definitely where we want to be.
“These are the good days. Win lose or draw, we’re proud of the three teams involved.”

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