Northern Ireland legend, Pat Jennings, visited the new Newry Leisure Centre this week to surprise Ashgrove Rovers FC and deliver them a brand-new kit to the under 10’s team. The club received a free kit courtesy of local McDonald’s franchisee John McCollum and the McDonald’s and Irish Football Association Accredited Club Kit Scheme. The event was held to celebrate McDonald’s Kit Scheme reaching a new milestone, the provision of over 250,000 free kits to grassroots football clubs across the UK.

McDonald’s Head of Northern Irish Football, Pat Jennings, said: “It was a pleasure to meet with Ashgrove Rovers FC and hand over their brand-new kit. I always have great admiration for the passion that I see coaches and volunteers put into training so that young players can continue to enjoy the game. The McDonald’s Accredited Club Kit Scheme is an invaluable resource for these clubs, it’s more than a football shirt, it’s about a sense of pride and belonging to a team. The investment is also invaluable for the clubs, allowing them to focus on delivering other important areas such as coaching and facilities.

“I still remember what it was like putting on a new team shirt for the first time, it’s important that grassroots clubs are also able to give their young players that real feeling of importance and preparation. I’m proud to be part of a programme which helps teams continue to raise their standards of football and build upon their successes.”

Now in its fourth year, the McDonald’s Kit Scheme has reached its goal of delivering 250,000 free kits to grassroots football clubs across the UK, with 70,000 delivered this season alone. This year has seen a record number of applications from clubs across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with over 5,500 clubs receiving a brand-new kit, which come in a range of styles and colours.

Local McDonald’s franchisee, John McCollum who is a keen supporter of grassroots football said: “Ashgrove Rovers FC is a fantastic example of a grassroots club with a real community spirit. It’s important that we support local teams to help them create the best possible experience for young aspiring players. It’s great to see the McDonald’s Kit scheme thriving again this year.”

McDonald’s Accredited Club Kit Scheme is part of McDonald’s ongoing community partnership with the Irish FA. This year McDonald’s is celebrating its 15th anniversary of championing those who enable children and young adults of all genders, ages and abilities to play and enjoy football.

The programme focuses on supporting accredited grassroots clubs and their volunteers to raise the standards of grassroots football across Northern Ireland and improving the grassroots experience for young aspiring footballers.