Cliftonville Football Club Chaplain, Reverend Dario Leal, has written a letter to our supporters this Easter Sunday.
In it, he acknowledges the frustrations we are all facing through both the loss of routine that football brings and, indeed, the upheaval many of us have experienced in our working and home lives.
Through it all, however, he is keen for players and fans of all ages to take encouragement from the promise of better days ahead and believes that the message of Easter can inspire hope through these challenging times.
If you are like me, then you are missing Saturday afternoons.
At 3pm, the whistle is heard, the ball is kicked and things began to roll. The chanting of our supporters, the expectation that the afternoon was going to be a memorable one. The Reds and the Red Army together as one voice – We are Cliftonville…
What happens in the Irish Cup Semi Final remains to be seen, but I’m still dreaming about an Irish Cup Final. I believe this is to be our year!
Cliftonville is a family and as a family, we look after one another as families do. We have our own culture and style. We believe in our youth academy, both boys and girls, and we take great pride in their achievements.
Both of our senior teams have made us proud this year and this season is not over yet.
But, right now we are part of a bigger ‘game’ where we all need to play our part by keeping safe, by caring for those who are in isolation, by mourning together over the loss of a loved one and by rejoicing when our friends and family come through.
At three in the afternoon on Friday, Jesus said “It is finished” – but the game was not over. Saturday was like an extended half-time. He was to come back strongly in the second-half on Sunday morning and won the game forever – death defeated and life won!
We will see each other again at Solitude.
Rev Dario Leal
Chaplain, Cliftonville FC
Minister, 1st Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church