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Ciaran Launders, centre, with Shamrock Rovers players Peter Smith, captain, Mikey Steven, Martin Launders and Aaron Delaney in part of the all-pink kit they will wear against Wanneroo City. Photo by FotoEnzo

Rovers in the pink for charity fund-raiser

Football West News

It’s a refrain known to Irish football fans around the world: “Come on you boys in green!”

Well later this month it will be a case of “Come on you boys in pink!” for the followers of Shamrock Rovers when they take on Wanneroo City.

That’s because Rovers players will be donning an all-pink strip for the State League Division Two match as part of a club charity fund-raiser for research into breast cancer.

The driving force behind the initiative is Shamrock Rovers committee man Ciaran Launders, who lost his wife Linda to the disease in October last year.

Ciaran and Linda got involved with Rovers six years ago when their son Martin moved from Wanneroo City. Previously they had run the Roos canteen for the best part of five years and Ciaran had been on the committee there too.

Which is why the Dublin-born postman sees the June 23 fixture as the perfect way to pay tribute to Linda and do his bit in the fight to find a cure for breast cancer.

Ciaran Launders and his late wife Linda

He said: “It’s quite fitting. Both myself and my wife were involved with both clubs and it’s a nice way to remember her. We’re in the same league so why not have a go.”

Ciaran, who moved to Australia with his family 15 years ago, added: “I started up just watching Martin train at Wanneroo and asked if they needed a hand with anything, and soon I was asked if I wanted to join the committee. Then I asked Linda to come and help me and lo and behold we’re running the canteen on a Sunday morning.

“And when Martin moved to Rovers we got on board here. So plenty of people would know Linda.”

Money raised on what Ciaran acknowledges will be an emotional day will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

“If we’re raising money then let’s give it to the people who are looking through the microcopes trying to find a cure for this,” said Ciaran.

“It’s going to be a rollercoaster day but for the people who turn up it will be a good day.

“Wanneroo have been great and myself and Linda were also involved with the Celtic Supporters Club … a lot of people will be coming down with their wives. It’s going to be a laugh on the day as well.

“We’re setting up a couple of tables for making donations and people will be issued with receipts so they can claim it back on their tax. There will also be a raffle on the day with plenty of prizes and Rovers are giving a percentage of their canteen on the day.

“Onside Sports, where we got the strip, donated the socks for free; some of Linda’s friends are having a coffee morning and one of the lads is going to do a training session at his gym beforehand to raise money there.

“However much we raise will be great – we’re not putting a target on the day, we just want people to enjoy themselves.”

Ciaran’s efforts to publicise the Go Pink For Linda fund-raiser also gave him an insight on how best to share the message thanks to son Martin, 22, and daughter Sarah, 25.

He said: “We’re very old fashioned but the kids told me social media is the way to go, putting posts on and spreading the word. It seems to be getting a steady build-up.”

Hopefully the sun shines on Harold Rossiter Reserve in East Victoria Park a fortnight on Saturday and a healthy crowd helps boost the coffers. But what about the Rovers players – how keen were they to sport an all-pink kit? It seems they didn’t have a choice.

“The lads at Rovers were told ‘You’re wearing them! That’s it’,” laughed Ciaran.