A historic GAA match will take place at the home of Ulster Rugby on Saturday, November 15, aimed at raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Ulster GAA and Ulster Rugby have combined efforts in honour of former Antrim senior football captain Anto Finnegan, who was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in 2012.
#GameForAnto will see 2013 All-Ireland champions Dublin face an All-star Ulster select team – managed by current Ulster boss Joe Kernan and former Donegal manager Brian McEniff (pictured below with Paddy Jackson) – gather in support of Anto’s deterMND Trust.
Anto, who featured in the Antrim senior team for 10 years, and captained the county to its first All-Ireland success in 1999 (‘B’ Championship), revealed in August 2013 that he was suffering from MND, an announcement that was followed by a groundswell of public support.
The 41-year-old father of two said:: “I am humbled by the gesture that Ulster GAA and Ulster Rugby have made to support my cause to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease; to make this game happen at Kingspan Stadium.
“It will be a historic occasion for many reasons and I am proud to be associated with it. It is testament to the respective sporting organisations, my friends and family, that this historic match will take place at the amazing venue that is home to Ulster Rugby.”
Support for the ‘Game For Anto’ has also come from Stormont, and Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “I recall watching Anto play for Antrim – he played with great passion in the saffron jersey. He has applied the same passion in the jersey he now wears, one that represents his determination to make us aware of MND, and to educate us about the disease.
“The challenge Anto has set for himself will leave a positive legacy from this wonderful occasion on November 15.”
Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Shane Logan commented: “When Ulster Rugby was approached with the idea of having a GAA match played at Kingspan Stadium with the aim of raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease, and to support Anto Finnegan and the deterMND Trust, there was no hesitation in our response.
“It is fitting, as we celebrate the opening of our newly developed stadium that was once a GAA pitch, that its surface will play host to such a significant Gaelic football match and occasion.
“Kingspan Stadium is a wonderful venue for everyone to experience and enjoy; and the ‘Game for Anto’ will not only bring many new sports fans to the home of Ulster Rugby, but will further strengthen the great relationship Irish rugby and the GAA have built together.”
Dublin manager Jim Gavin, who led the county to All-Ireland success in 2013, added: “We are honored that Anto has invited Dublin to take part in this game. My players were told of the invitation and their rallying response was typical of that so often displayed in the GAA when one of its members calls for a helping hand.
“We are looking forward to arriving in Belfast on November 15 to be part of this great cause, and to support a great servant of the GAA.”
Tickets for the #GameForAnto are available to purchase online via Ticketmaster from today. Tickets range from £10 (adult) and £5 (child). To purchase tickets, please click here.
Tickets will also be available to purchase from the Ticketmaster outlets, subject to availability. For further ticket enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.