11-year-old Aimee from Listowel has experience of lifetime at the Aviva Stadium

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One lucky 11-year-old from Listowel had a moment that she’ll never, ever forget this day last week when she was one of the lucky few children that were chosen to greet the Republic of Ireland men’s players in their Nations League match against Armenia at the Aviva Stadium last Tuesday evening.

imee O’Connell, an avid soccer player with the Listowel Celtic U11 team, won the opportunity through a competition to be a mascot run by the FAI Summer Soccer Schools after attending the camp at Listowel Celtic’s grounds, which is an official venue for the FAI camps.

With her luck most definitely in, Aimee and her parents, Johno and Sheila, were given tickets to the match and were given the VIP treatment on the day as Aimee was kitted out in Ireland gear – which she said she was delighted to be allowed to keep afterwards – and was given the unique honour of walking out onto the Aviva pitch ahead of the team where she waited to welcome them on.

Speaking to The Kerryman afterwards, Aimee’s mom, Sheila, said that the whole thing was a “fabulous experience” for Aimee and something that she’ll never forget.

“The brought us in under the Aviva into the tunnels, through the media box and into the changing rooms where they had the kits lined out for all the kids and they then brought the kids onto the pitch to be ready for the team; they were brought out onto the pitch just prior to the team coming out and they had them lined up on the pitch beforehand,” she said.

“There was a team of boys from Sligo who were in the Armenia jerseys and then they had 11 others in Ireland jerseys and Aimee was one of these. They stood then for the national anthem on the pitch and we were able to stay for the match afterwards too. Aimee and the rest of the kids, they just loved it. Walking out onto the pitch, it was so funny, it was almost like they thought they were there to play the match themselves. The crowd was clapping for them and waving at them, it was just unbelievable for her to get to experience that,” Sheila continued.

“It was a fabulous experience for her. It’s something she’ll never forget. For her and the other kids to get to walk out onto the pitch and stand in front of the teams for the national anthems, it was fabulous,” Sheila added.

As for Aimee herself, she spoke to The Kerryman as well afterwards and told us that she had a brilliant time.

“Walking out to the crowd and the noise was my favourite part,” she said.

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