Legends of league fundraising game organiser Pat O’Doherty.
Legends of league fundraising game organiser Pat O’Doherty. David Nielsen

Ipswich boys ready to help

IT IS a time-honoured saying – you can take the boy out of Ipswich but you can never take Ipswich out of the boy.

When you add the ties that bind sporting clubs – and rugby league in particular – you get a magnetic force of good feelings.

That’s the emotional bedrock beneath the fundraiser for flood-affected junior league clubs on Saturday.

Two “legends” games will be played at North Ipswich Reserve, followed by a fund-raising function.

The first game at 4.30pm will be Ipswich State League and Diggers Legends versus Titans Old Boys. The main game at 6pm, featuring the Ipswich NRL Allstars against the Broncos Legends.

For organiser Pat O’Doherty, as it was for many Ipswich people, January’s floods were a terrible reminder of what happened in 1974.

But it was also a reminder of the strong community spirit that helped Ipswich sporting clubs back on their feet after the those floods.

Even though Pat and his brothers went on to play for other clubs, the O’Doherty family is Norths juniors through and through.

“Dad and mum were on the ladies’ and men’s committee and they used to come down and help in the canteen and behind the bar,” the former Ipswich Jets and NRL player said.

“They gave their time as a lot of the families did here.

“My family is still involved here; my niece plays and other people in my family help in the canteen and work on the bar.

“Allan’s mother Rita Langer still helps out here, and so does his sister Desley.

“Until a year or two before my mother passed away in 2007 she was still coming down here.

“My brothers all grew up playing football for Railways as it was called first and then Norths and so did my father and he coached here and managed here.

“I played here from 1970 when I was four through to 1983.

“I went to Brothers because I went to St Edmund’s and my brother Hughie and three of my other brothers played for Brothers.”

Pat said the O’Doherty family’s involvement in Norths juniors went back to the 1960s, even before the clubhouse was built. “We had the house up in Lowry St and they used to play bingo and hoi under the house to raise money to build the clubhouse,” he said at the clubhouse this week.

“Dad built a bar under the house and it didn’t matter whether you were Norths, Brothers, West End, Goodna, whoever, you’d come back for a hamburger and a beer.

“Football hasn’t changed much; everyone likes a good drink and everyone hates each other on the field but they get together when something goes wrong.”

“I just hope everybody supports this.”

General entry to the fundraising event will be $5, with corporate tables available for $105 a seat or $1000 a table. For inquiries, call 0405 267 530.

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