NI captain Davis signs for 'MEA United'

Steven Davis.
Steven Davis.

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has given his support to Mid and East Antrim’s very own 'Match of the Day'.

The local footballing legend signed for MEA United last night, giving his backing to a charity football match aimed at tackling ovarian cancer.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Paul Reid, Deputy Mayor Councillor Cheryl Johnston and Councillor Timothy Gaston ahead of the MEA United match.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Paul Reid, Deputy Mayor Councillor Cheryl Johnston and Councillor Timothy Gaston ahead of the MEA United match.

The inaugural 'MEA United - Tackling Ovarian Cancer Together' showpiece is planned to take place on May 3, 2018.

The players include local councillors from a range of political parties, council staff and community representatives.

The match has been endorsed by the borough’s three largest football clubs: Ballymena United, Larne and Carrick Rangers.

The Cullybackey-born Premier League star said: “It’s great that Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Northern Trust are tackling ovarian cancer together and highlighting ovarian cancer through this game.

“I wish both teams good luck and I hope it’s a great occasion. Enjoy the match.”

Organisers have encouraged participation from all backgrounds, abilities and ages, and the match is aimed at raising awareness of ovarian cancer as well as boosting funds to support the crucial work of a leading cancer charity.

MEA Mayor, Councillor Paul Reid said: “This event will be an informal, relaxed evening of sport, camaraderie and friendship. But at the forefront of our thoughts is the journey on which those who live with this cruel disease and their families endure.

“In a very small way, we will be coming together to show them they are not alone and to raise awareness and hopefully a few pounds for the incredible work of ovarian cancer volunteers.”

Deputy Mayor Cllr Cheryl Johnston said: “Many of my constituents and members of council staff will unfortunately know all too well the devastation this can cause.

"Awareness of ovarian cancer is low, both among women and GPs, with two-thirds of women diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, according to experts.

"The MEA United event will raise awareness of this life-threatening condition and I am delighted so many people have already pledged their support.”

Cllr Timothy Gaston added: “I look forward to what promises to be a fantastic event and thank all those who have pledged to take part for their support.”

Tragically, MEA Council's Chief Executive Anne Donaghy lost her sister Geraldine to ovarian cancer just over a year ago.

“My family's world fell apart when my sister Geraldine lost her life to ovarian cancer last year, aged just 45," Ms Donaghy said.

"I want to pass on my sincere gratitude to our elected members and staff for organising such a great event, which will be a wonderful tribute to Geraldine and all of those who have been victims of ovarian cancer.

"If this match creates enough awareness to save one life then it has been a fantastic success.

"It is so important everyone knows the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

"I never want any family to have to suffer in the way mine has as a result of this horrendous disease."

The game will take place at Ballymena Showgrounds from 6pm until 8pm.

Members of the public are welcome to turn out to cheer the players on.

An informal post-match conversation will take place in the Des Allen suite at Ballymena Showgrounds straight after the game, with specially invited guests highlighting the risks of ovarian cancer, and the treatment, care and support on offer to those with the condition, and their families.

Experts from the Northern Trust will provide information, as well as a leading local cancer charity.

A range of sponsorship activities are available, including match endorsement, sponsoring footballs, and the use of logos at the event.

For more information on this, contact chris.kilpatrick@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or megan.mackay@midandeastantrim.gov.uk