Gartland Discusses Charity Efforts Ahead Of PFAI Calendar Launch


The Professional Footballers Association Of Ireland (PFAI) will launch their 2014 Spot The Ballers calendar tomorrow.

The calendar which is funded by Ford is one of many charity efforts taking place to help Drogheda United striker Gary O’Neill, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last month.

The calendar will be available from various retail outlets including HMV, select clubs and the PFAI themselves. Calendars will also be available to buy at the Aviva stadium on Sunday as Gary’s current team Drogheda United battle Sligo Rovers in the FAI Ford Cup final.

All profits raised from the sale of the calendar will go to the Irish Cancer Society.

The calendar features 12 Airtricity League stars, one from each club, who opted to get their kit off for this worthwhile cause.

Ahead of the launch we caught up with Shelbourne defender turned poster boy Graham Gartland, a former team mate of Gary’s and a representative on the PFAI committee to discuss the charity efforts.

1)      How did the calendar come about?

The calendar came about through a PFAI committee meeting really. We just threw out as many ideas as we could and I think Aidan Price suggested a calendar. So it’s all his fault haha.

2)      How where the players chosen to take part?

James Chambers “volunteered” to help organise the players. I’m not sure how he narrowed it down to whom off each team. There was lads he picked himself and lads they thought would look well. There’s a few disappointed lads in the league who aren’t in it, we know that !

 3)Are you involved in any other charity initiatives for Gary?

Ah yea I was due to do the cycle, Balls on Bikes this Sunday (from Drogheda to Aviva Stadium , venue of FAI Cup final) but I can’t manage it. I’ve also agreed to fight Roddy Collins in February to try raise as much for Gary as possible. Fair play to Roddy as well.

 4)How would you rate the support the League Of Ireland family have shown for Gary?

I think this has shown the players in the league in a tremendous light and togetherness. The willingness to do things to help Gary has been amazing from players, clubs, and fans as well. The league as a whole can take great credit from this.

5) Is Gary the most underrated striker in LOI?

Haha underrated striker I told him I’d cane him for this question… He’s the best holding centre forward in the league and I know from talking to his strike partners they love playing beside him. He’s a great team player who’s very unselfish on the pitch. He’d always trouble me when I was playing against him when he’d back that arse in haha. A great fella, everyone who knows him has a lot of time for him.

Graham  Gartland is one of twelve Airtricity League players who features in the Spot The Ballers calendar.

The others are:

Bohemians – Luke Byrne

Bray Wanderers- Daire Doyle

Cork City – Gearoid Morrissey

Derry City – Barry Molloy

Drogheda United – Paul O’Conor

Dundalk – Peter Cherrie

Limerick – Stephen Folan

Sligo Rovers – Raffaele Cretaro

Shamrock Rovers – James Chambers

St.Patrick’s Athletic – Jake Kelly

UCD – Mick Leahy


Spot The Ballers goes on sale from Friday November 1st.


Image courtesy of PFAI.

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