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Westport to host mammoth suicide-awareness auction

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Westport United charity match to  be broadcast live on Setanta Sports


Anton McNulty

WESTPORT United have knocked AC Milan off the top billing on Setanta Sports Ireland when their suicide awareness charity game against Bohemians will be screened live on the channel.
The Mayo Superleague Champions will take on the Airtricity league giants in Westport on October 28 as part of a unique charity fundraiser with all proceeds going towards Irish Mental Healthcare Services.
The football match will also be linked with attempting a new Irish charity sports memorabilia record by collecting together for the first time ever, all the signed jerseys of every top stream Irish sports team to compete in 2012.
If the record attempt is successful, it will create the biggest collection of signed Irish jerseys ever assembled with an estimated total of more than 140 jerseys containing 2,000 signatures with a total value in excess of €250,000.
Setanta Sports Ireland have agreed to broadcast the game live after deciding to move the Serie A clash between AC Milan and Genoa to Setanta Sports 1.
“To demonstrate our support for this important charity event, which we will broadcast live to 1.2m homes, Setanta Sports has shifted AC Milan from Setanta Ireland to Setanta Sports 1 to make way for Westport United,” says Trevor Twamley, Commercial Director of Setanta Sports Ireland.
The unique charity fundraiser is being organised by the suicide prevention charity Talkaboutit and is attempting a new Irish sports memorabilia record by collecting together for the first time ever, all the signed jerseys of every top stream Irish sports team to compete in 2012 from rugby to hurling, soccer to Gaelic football, camogie and boxing.
If the nationwide charity record attempt is successful, it will create the biggest collection of signed Irish jerseys ever assembled with an estimated total of more than 140 jerseys containing 2,000 signatures - from Brian O’Driscoll to Henry Shefflin and Katie Taylor to Robbie Keane.
“We have already started on this mammoth task and among those we have received fully signed jerseys from is the Irish national rugby squad and the Dublin Gaelic football team to whom we send out thanks. We have written to almost all the teams at this point and would ask any who have not yet sent their jerseys to get signing and post them to Talkaboutit,” said Talkaboutit founder, Joe McGuire.
Joe McGuire set up the organisation to encourage people to talk about suicide and to generate awareness on the subject, which is a particular scourge in Ireland at the moment. The three cases which were heard at yesterday’s sitting of Castlebar Coroner’s Court, all involved deaths due to apparent suicides.
The monster memorabilia auction will take place at the Westport Woods Hotel on Sunday November 4. Paul Walsh, of The Galway Auction Rooms who will be the auctioneer on the day believes the total value of the collection as being in excess of €250,000. The charity will give one buyer the opportunity to bid for the entire collection prior to the event.