BY KIERAN McCARTHY
WEST Cork GAA has left a lasting impression on Tipperary man Kevin O’Riordan.
O’Riordan (24) spent the last few days touring Cork GAA grounds, including in Carbery and Beara, as he endeavours to kick a point in every GAA club in the country to raises funds for the Hope Foundation and help their work with street children in Kolkata, India.
Whether it was hopping on the ferry to Bere Island or getting help from Cork and Castlehaven footballer Brian Hurley, O’Riordan was blown away by the positive response from GAA clubs in West Cork.
‘I got around pretty well, the weather was kind to me and the scenery was just fantastic,’ said former Tipp minor and U21 O’Riordan, who kicked his last point in Cork (Mitchelstown) on Wednesday evening.
‘I had a route planned out before I came down, the Cork County Board had emailed all clubs to let them know I was coming, and I had a great few days touring West Cork, meeting some great people and continuing this fundraising drive. The clubs have been absolutely brilliant and I got a great boost and encouragement from everyone.
‘The GAA is such a huge community, and it’s great to have inter-county footballers like Brian (Hurley), and many others, coming on board to show their support for such a great cause.
‘The main thing is that we can raise awareness of the great work that the Hope Foundation is doing in Kolkata in India, which was previously known as Calcutta. I knew very little about the work that the Hope Foundation do in Kolkata until I went out there and experienced it for myself first-hand.
‘Apart from doing this mammoth task, which is a great novelty, the main reason is to raise funds for the Hope Foundation and make people aware of the great work being done to change the lives of children.’
Travelling around Bere Island, Allihies, Urhan and Garnish took O’Riordan’s breath away, and by the time he has kicked a point in all 1,616 GAA clubs in the 32 counties, the JK Brackens Temeplemore clubman will have one of the best kicks in the football world.
‘There are a few shots I kicked into the wind that Bryan Sheehan would do well to match,’ he joked.
Kerry is next up on his to-do list after Christmas and the plan is to finish this fantastic voyage on St Patrick’s Day in Croke Park when he will kick the final point on All-Ireland club finals day.
• Follow Kevin’s journey on www.facebook.com/kickforkolkata and on Twitter (@KickforKolkata)