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London champions take ’Celebrity’ spoils

London senior football champions Tir Chonaill Gaels warmed up for next month’s All-Ireland club quarter-final against Corofin with a 1-6 to 0-7 victory over ’Celebrity Bainisteoir’ winners Maryland on Saturday.
Managed for the day by comedian and former Down minor Patrick Kielty, the Greenford-based club overcame RTE personality Marty Whelan’s Maryland in a one-off challenge match for RTE’s ’Home for Christmas’ special.

In a close first half played on a heavy pitch in Maryland’s home pitch at Drumraney near Athlone, tempers ran high before the visitors pulled away after the break for a two-point win.

Maryland won the inaugural ’Celebrity Bainisteoir’ series earlier this year before going on to capture their first Westmeath intermediate championship in 28 years in October.

An RTE spokesperson revealed that the game was almost cancelled due to heavy rainfall on Friday.

She said: "There was torrential rain all across the country on Friday and they had to take 8,000 gallons of water off the pitch on Saturday morning so that the pitch was playable.

"It was a bitterly cold day but we had a great crowd out and about to watch the match."

The match, along with all the behind-the-scenes action, will be broadcast on RTE1 on Sunday, December 28 at 6.30pm.

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