GAA Football

Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney to get Championship haircut for Southern Area Hospice fundraising drive

Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney has out himself forward for the 'Hairless for the Hospice' campaign, after being nominated by former team-mate Justin McNulty. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

ARMAGH were due to open their Ulster Championship campaign against Derry on Saturday night, so this morning Kieran McGeeney would have been either eagerly looking ahead to a semi-final showdown against old foes Tyrone or Donegal, or plotting a route through the back roads.

Instead, he is doing neither as the GAA season remains in a state of stasis, awaiting some sort of green light if the series of roadblocks that line the way ahead can be overcome.

In the meantime, the Armagh boss has thrown his weight behind the ‘Hairless for the Hospice’ fundraising campaign, which has been backed by former team-mate Justin McNulty and Down players Kevin McKernan, Ryan McAleenan and Caolan Mooney as well as a host of other sporting figures.

The campaign, aimed at raising funds for the Southern Area Hospice, is the brainchild of Newry businessman Gary Boyd - part-owner of local fashion store Boyd’s Menswear - with thousands already committed.

McGeeney was nominated by McNulty, and a video of the Armagh manager was posted on the Hospice Twitter feed as he prepares to say goodbye to his locks in the coming weeks. Already, just days in, he has raised over £6,000 and looks well on the way to reaching the £10,000 target.

“I’m delighted to accept the nomination, and to go ‘Hairless for the Hospice’,” said the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain.

“It’s a great cause, a cause that’s in our own community and it’s something we should all get behind and give as generously as we can. Just to my Justgiving page and give what you can, do what you can, raise as much money as you can and hopefully I’ll see you next week or the week after and I’ll shave this mop off.”

SDLP MLA McNulty had been nominated by Kevin McKernan, and is now sporting a number one all over – “I’m looking pretty scaldy” - with a baseball cap never too far from hand.



And he hopes the involvement of his former club and county team-mate can help give the campaign a big push.

“Kieran’s determined to make a big go of it and he didn’t take any convincing to get involved. Now that he’s committed to it, he just wants to raise as much money as possible.

“Gary Boyd got the ball rolling, and it’s a really positive campaign, a real good news story in these downbeat times, and it’s been great to see the entire community getting behind it.

“The hospice has a special place in all of our hearts and that’s why Geezer and everybody else have been so happy to help in any way they can and play their part.”

It costs £7,000 per day to run the hospice but much of their fundraising efforts have ceased due to the pandemic.

The ‘Hairless for the Hospice’ campaign has raised over £40,000 and counting so far.

"We had a full itinerary of fundraising events planned in-store before the lockdown was put in place,” said Gary Boyd.

“Unfortunately, like everything else, those ideas had to be shelved, but we wanted to give back to a community that has always been so good to us down through the years, especially after the passing of our mother Terry”.

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