GAA Football

Donegal and Tyrone stars backing Mencap at Belfast City Marathon

Donegal's Ryan McHugh (left) and Connor McAliskey of Tyrone are calling on GAA fans to run the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and fundraise in aid of Mencap.

TWO Ulster GAA stars are lending their support to Mencap ahead of the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and calling on fans to support the official charity of the event.

Ryan McHugh of Donegal and Connor McAliskey of Tyrone are asking fans to sign up and raise money for Mencap ahead of Marathon Day, Monday May 1.

McAliskey, the Tyrone attacker currently side-lined with an injury, said: "It's an honour to be supporting Mencap ahead of the marathon this year. I have two cousins with a learning disability, so I am very familiar with Mencap's work and how crucial it is for families like mine.

"I encourage all GAA fans to get a relay team together or tackle the full marathon in aid of Mencap. Hopefully we can help the charity smash its goal of 2,000 participants this year"

2016 All-Star McHugh, who also plays for Ulster University, added: "As a GAA footballer I am always happy to shout about a deserving charity and Mencap is no different. The charity's mission is all about giving people with a learning disability a voice and making sure everyone is included.

"These goals mirror the values of the GAA as we also strive to ensure young people with a learning disability play a role in our organisation and that they are a part of our teams. I'm calling on all GAA fans to sign up in aid of this important charity."

Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap Northern Ireland, said: "We couldn't be happier that Connor and Ryan are encouraging GAA supporters to 'Step Up for Mencap'.

"We urgently need funds to support a number of critical initiatives, including our upcoming family support programme, which will provide guidance to families with a child diagnosed with a learning disability. Every donation helps – just £100 could pay for a Makaton language programme class so parents can learn to communicate with their children.

"I would like to thank Connor and Ryan for promoting our cause and we can't wait to see all of the GAA fans at the finish line."

The first deadline to sign up for the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is Friday March 31. To register in aid of Mencap, email fundraising.ni@mencap.org.uk, call 02890 691 351 or visit mencapbigstepforward.org

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