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Athy Town AFC played a preseason game against Stradbally Town AFC at Aldridge Park this evening.

Prior to the game, both teams were joined on the pitch by members of Athy’s Ukrainian community, many of whom are members of the club, from walking football to academy.

One of our U17 players, Anton Budnyev, was visiting Ukraine, along with his mother, for a family event when the invasion began. Anton has played for the club since he was nine years old and news that he was caught up in the war was a worry for his teammates. Fortunately, Anton and his mother returned safely to Athy yesterday after a difficult journey through western Ukraine to Poland and on to Shannon.

While we can watch events in Ukraine unfold on Sky News and think that it is a long way away, Anton’s experience brings the impact of the war in Ukraine to Aldridge Park.

The players from both teams for tonight’s game raised money for charities working on the Ukrainian border.

Слава Україні! Героям слава!

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