McGrath and Bonner to feature in Chick TestimonialAugust 14, 2012 - 8:24am
FINAL preparations are being put in place for the Eamonn ‘Chick’ Deacy testimonial in Terryland Park this coming Saturday night, which will see the ground officially renamed as Eamonn Deacy Park.
The night will see as Aston Villa Legends selection take on a Galway United XI for one half of the testimonial game, and a West United XI for the other half – the game kicks-off at 5.30pm, with the official renaming ceremony to take place before kick-off.
The Aston Villa legends squad – including Tony Morley, Ken McNaught, Colin Gibson, Allan Evans and Des Bremner, who were all part of the Villas squad with Chick which won the English First Division title in 1981 – will fly in to Dublin on Friday, where they will be met by Chick’s son, Jake, as well as Willie Grant and Eamon Howley of the organising committee, who will travel down to the city with them.
At the same time, legendary Aston Villa manager Ron Saunders will arrive in Ireland West Airport in Knock with his family to take part in the event, with Chick’s wife Mary and his brother Don – one of the main driving forces behind the Celebration for Chick series of events – accompanying them on their trip to Galway.
Former Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland star Paul McGrath will travel down from Dublin on Saturday for the game, when he will make a second-ever appearance on the Terryland Park pitch – he scored the winner when St Patrick’s Athletic defeated Galway United 2-1 at the Dyke Road venue on October 4, 1981.
Another former Irish international who will make his second appearance on the Terryland pitch will be Packie Bonner – he was part of the Glasgow Celtic squad who played Galway United in a friendly on March 2, 1986, when he lined out against his twin brother Denis.
The legendary goalkeeper will guest appear for West United on Saturday night, and the two Bonners will join Dave O’Connell on Galway Bay FM’s Galway Talks show on Friday morning.
The man who followed in Chick’s footsteps by leaving the city to join Aston Villa has also being invited by the English club to take part on the day – Daragh Sheridan, who joined Villa in 1996, will meet up with the Villa squad in Dublin to travel down from the game.
Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, is cutting short a trip to the US to be on hand for the official renaming ceremony, which will also be attended by Minister for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring. President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, is unable to attend due to previous commitments, but he did send a message for the 88-page souvenir match-day programme which is being brought out by the organising committee to mark the occasion.
Match tickets cost €10 for adults and €5 for students (secondary school and third level), with children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by an adults admitted free of charge.
Tickets are available from Terryland Park, and from Hanley’s Menswear, the former Zhivago outlet on Shop Street, Deacy’s on High Street, Ernie’s on Sea Road, Monroe’s on Dominick Street, Londis in Newcastle, Clybaun Stores, Lonergans and Cullinanes in Salthill, and Beauty Secrets in Westside.