Mid-Louth Youth Service, along with the Football Association of Ireland and An Garda Síochána, recently hosted its annual Late Night League football programme in Ardee.
The games were open to boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 years, and took place every Thursday night for a four-week period between November and December.
A diversionary initiative that was first introduced in various locations throughout Dublin in 2008, its purpose is to engage young people during peak anti-social hours, and provide them with the opportunity to socialise and play football in a safe environment.
In addition, it aims to break down barriers between young people and members of An Garda Síochána, and strengthen the overall relations within participating communities.
“It’s growing from strength to strength,” said Niall Newberry, who has coordinated the Late Night League in Mid-Louth for the past two years. “Over the four weeks, we engaged approximately 80 young people in the region. It’s a considerable jump on last year’s numbers, when the programme actually ran for an additional two weeks.
“One of the big pluses this time around was involving the young people from Dunleer, who we were able to provide transport for, thanks to the amazing staff at Mid-Louth Youth Service, as well as support we received from the FAI. The lack of rural transport is a huge disadvantage in this area, so it was brilliant to bus the Dunleer crowd to Ardee.
Drogheda United were again delighted to back the project and attended the awards night in Dee Hub as part of the club’s growing Community Foundation.
“These events are vital in terms of providing outlets for young people and as a club we are keen to support them. Niall and his team, the Gardai and the FAI do wonderful work and this is something that will only get bigger in the years ahead,” United’s general manager Hubert Murphy stated.