The proceeds of this year's Yopra Cup will go to Ella Donlon, age 15.

Mullingar men step up fundraising game for special cause

On December 26 every year, a charity soccer match dubbed ‘The Yopra Cup’ takes place to raise some funds for charities in the Mullingar area.

In years gone by, monies raised have been donated to: The Irish Cancer Society; St Vincent de Paul; and Meals on Wheels. In 2019, the charity chosen was the North Westmeath Hospice and a total of €20,000 was donated.

This year, the two teams involved will donate all money raised to a little girl named Ella Donlon. From County Roscommon, 15-year-old Ella needs our help to urgently access vital health services that are unfortunately not available here in Ireland.

Ella can’t eat or drink anything orally and can’t tolerate enough through traditional tube-feeding methods to give her the nutrition she needs. Ella is now reliant on IV fluids, which means she can’t go home and has been in Crumlin Children’s Hospital for many months.

Ella is scheduled to travel to the UK on December 5 and the money raised by this fundraiser will be used to pay transport, medical and accommodation costs associated with assessments and treatment there.

5k fun run and walk

In addition to the match on December 26, a 5K fun run and walk been organised in Mullingar on Saturday December 4. The run will start at 9.30am from the Newbrook Bridge and will link up with the Mullingar parkrun.

Everyone is invited to take part with the lads and tea, coffee and refreshments will be provided at the finish line.

The players who took part in a previous edition of The Yopra Cup.

The Yopra Cup

In the lead-up to Christmas 2017, a group of Mullingar men organised a nine-a-side soccer match to be played on St Stephen’s Day. All players gave a sum of money on the day which was donated to St Vincent de Paul, Mullingar.

After such a successful and positive day in 2017, it was decided that this game would be organised on an annual basis, and all monies raised would go to a different charity each year.

Niall Claffey, 2021 captain of ‘The Dogs’, said: “What started out as a bit of crack a couple of years ago has now turned into a great opportunity to raise funds for charities and people in need.

“What happens on the pitch is important to both teams – and tensions can run fairly high on the day! but we all realise that the bragging rights are only a small perk for doing what we can for charity, and this year, for Ella,” he said.

The match will be contested at the Mullingar Shamrocks grounds on Stephen’s Day, at 10.30am.

Coffee and refreshments will be provided by Hatch.23 on the morning of the match for those wishing to come down and watch, and all profits will be donated to Ella.