The former Manchester United, Leeds and Irish soccer international was part of a Football Association of Ireland (FAI) delegation who visited Belmullet to thank SEPIL for its continued support towards grassroots football.

Since 2008, SEPIL has invested €350,000 in supporting local soccer in the Erris area. This has included over €145,000 being provided through the local grants programme, which has enabled football clubs to fund new equipment, cover transportation costs and to host soccer summer camps. Local soccer facilities have also been upgraded with the provision of two all weather soccer pitches at Erris United and Bangor Hibs football clubs.

In thanking SEPIL for their support, Johnny Giles presented John Egan, Director at SEPIL with a Republic of Ireland soccer jersey signed by Martin O’Neill, Roy Keane and Johnny Giles.

Johnny, who was voted the ‘greatest Irish soccer player in the last 50 years’ said: “Kids today need good facilities more than ever so that they can train and prepare for their various sporting programmes. Shell’s contribution in supporting local soccer in Erris has been terrific and on behalf of the FAI I want to say a very big thank you for all their efforts in helping local soccer players and clubs.

“Local lads such as Ronan Murray, who play for ‘Notts County’, have had to leave these shores to pursue their soccer careers. For every one lad who goes away there will be five hundred who stay behind and these players need good facilities so that they can improve their own skills and ultimately enjoy the great game of soccer”, said Johnny.

Addressing representatives from the local soccer clubs in Erris together with staff and contractors from SEPIL, Johnny reflected on the World Cup to date. “I think the 2014 World Cup has been one of the most enjoyable in recent years.

“There have been some big upsets which has made it a really exciting tournament. I am greatly looking forward to the knock out stages and am expecting some very entertaining football to be played over the next few weeks”, said Johnny.

John Egan, Director with Shell E&P Ireland Limited said: “SEPIL was delighted to host the FAI delegation not least as Johnny Giles is a sporting legend who continues to provide outstanding commentary on all soccer issues. Johnny’s work through the Johnny Giles Foundation is inspirational and SEPIL is delighted to be able to support and encourage grass roots soccer in Erris.”