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Friends and directors of Bohemian Football Club went to prison this week. Senior citizens who meet regularly at Dalymount Park and members of the club’s board spent Thursday evening (4 December) with inmates and prison staff at St Patrick’s Institution.

They were served a Christmas dinner prepared by prisoners and staff and presented on tables decked with the Bohemian colours. This was a ‘thank you’ from the St Patrick’s community to Bohemians for the club’s efforts in promoting and supporting football within the prison.

Bohemians have been coaching footballers among the 150 inmates and helping them run a 6-a-sideinternal league. More recently, the Ballymun club, Shangan/Sandyhill, have also been supporting these efforts, which are co-ordinated by Bohemian PR director, Thomas Hynes.


Members of the Conway family, strongly associated with Bohemians for several generations, have been prominent in this initiative. The Conways presented a Perpetual Cup for which Bohemians play the best of St Patrick’s players every three months.

The next decider is on Sunday, 14 December, when St Patrick’s bid to retain the trophy they currently hold.

St Patrick’s governor John Kavanagh says the football project has had many positive effects in the prison. “I’m a huge believer in the capacity of sport to solve disputes and arguments. When you introduce sport into a difficult situation, differences are put aside,” Mr Kavanagh told

As with any other prison, St Patrick’s has its factions but segregated wings come together for the football. “The effects of putting a team together to play Bohemians last for days. Any disputes are on hold and the event gives people here a sense of well-being. There’s a lot of talk about it coming up to the match.”

Mr Kavanagh and his deputy, Donncha Walsh, were delighted to welcome friends of Bohemians to St Patrick’s. “It’s nice to bring people in for something positive,” said John Kavanagh. “We don’t do anything else like this on the same scale. This is our biggest annual social event.”

Bohemian president Matt Devaney said the club was proud to be involved in this project. “This is unique, and tonight we are bringing together two parts of our community involvement, our association with St Patrick’s and our links with the senior citizens.”

Pic by Jamie O’Halleron: Donncha Walsh, Deputy Governor, Thomas Hynes, Bohemian PR Director, John Kavanagh, Governor, and veteran Bohemian volunteer Jimmy O’Connor, co-ordinator of the senior citizen group, at Christmas dinner in St Patrick’s Institution.    


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