On Wednesday, former Shelbourne and St Patrick’s Athletic midfielder Conan Byrne will undertake a marathon around the League of Ireland’s Dublin based clubs in a bid to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society.
Times are tough for many in the country at this time, with the Irish Cancer Society forced to cancel their annual Daffodil Day fundraiser as a plethora of charities feel the strain of the coronavirus outbreak.
Byrne, who plays for Glenavon in addition to teaching in Rush primary school has seen both of his occupations put on hold as a result of the crisis, but is keen to help those who require it the most.
The 34-year-old has been heavily involved in charity work in the past and on Wednesday he will attempt his latest League of Ireland themed fundraiser.
“I had been reading about the Irish Cancer Society and losing their fundraiser and I know other charities lost their events over the next couple of weeks too so I wanted to do something,” Byrne told Pundit Arena as he outlined how his idea came to be.
“I’ve done a lot of fundraisers before, I’ve gone to Zambia a couple of times, had my head shaved last year and a couple of other things so I always try and do something. I wanted to help the Irish Cancer Society because their main fundraiser was Daffodil Day and obviously it’s gone so then with the idea I had been thinking ‘what will I do?’
“I have loads of ideas that I will do in future years so I wanted to do something that’s not going to come back to me and involve loads of people when the majority should be indoors, so I knew it had to be by myself and a solo thing so I said I’d do a walk around Dublin but take in the League of Ireland stadiums.
“I was initially thinking it would be very long but when I worked it all out, the route I was going to take was exactly 42km which is a marathon so I was like, ‘right that’s spot on.'”
Byrne also explained the exact route he would be taking which will see him don the jerseys of each club as he walks to their grounds, with his intention to finish up at the Aviva Stadium before snapping a photo outside the Irish Cancer Society’s HQ in Ballsbridge.
“Basically I start in Tolka Park with my Shels jersey. Then I walk to Dalymount and put on a Bohs jersey, then Richmond to Tallaght, Tallaght to Stradbrook, Stradbrook to UCD, UCD to the Aviva and then drop up to the Irish Cancer Society which is actually in Ballsbridge and get a photo there.
“It’s going to probably take around 12 hours to get done but I’m not putting any time restraints on it. We checked the weather and the rain is supposed to hold off so fingers crossed.
Byrne set up a GoFundMe page to support the walk initially beginning with a goal of €750 but the support of people across the country led to him increasing it to €4000 with the current figure sitting at over €5000.
Follow the link for more info👇
— Conan Byrne (@conanbyrnecb7) March 15, 2020
He has even seen people volunteer to join him in the 42km trip but explained that given the current situation the walk is something that he must undertake alone.
“It’s incredible, it really is” says Byrne.
“I know it’s not just the League of Ireland people who are supporting me it’s everyone but I’ve always said the League of Ireland are brilliant at getting together and doing stuff like this. It’s a tough time but fans are reaching into their pockets, clubs are donating jerseys, players are sponsoring it as well and getting behind it.
“I’ve had to turn down 100 people to join me! The amount of people that want to join me and come with me has been great but unfortunately I had to say no. It’s been great though and there’s still a full day to go.”
Whether you believe Dublin is red and black, green and white, sky blue, green, red or red and white, on Wednesday the goal for Byrne is to make it yellow in aid of the Irish Cancer Society.