The following newspaper article was written by Paul Deening and appeared in the ‘Sligo Champion’ on 31st December 2003:
‘Loftus Road and Second Division football may not have quite the same appeal as Old Trafford and the Premiership but for one Sligo fan, the home of Queen’s Park Rangers will become his theatre of dreams next month when his two sons run out on to the pitch as mascots before a vital promotion match against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Lifelong QPR fan, Kieran Dineen from Ard Na Veigh, is absolutely thrilled that his sons, Kieran (7), and James (5) were selected as mascots for the match.
“I’ve been a QPR fan for the past 35 years and it will be a great honour for me to see my two sons become mascots,” said Kieran.
The club has fallen from the dizzy heights of the 70’s, when Loftus Road played host to some of the biggest stars in the English game but Kieran doesn’t mind supporting what has become one of the smaller clubs in the game now.
“They’re my team and I’ll always support them,” said Kieran.
There’s a five-year waiting list to become mascots at Loftus Road and when the Dineen’s turn came around Kieran chose the game against Brighton to bring his sons and wife, Margaret, too.
Such is his love for the club that he didn’t mind shelling out 600 euros for the privilege of having his sons as mascots for the big match.
“That’s the cost of the mascot package we chose and with flights and accommodation on top of that it will be an expensive weekend but it’ll be worth it,” said Kieran.
He reckons there are about ten QPR supporters in Sligo and he hopes to establish a supporters’ club in next week or so. “There’s a few of us around,” laughed Kieran.
He has been a regular visitor to Loftus Road over the years and was delighted when Sligo’s Paul McGee joined QPR in 1978 from Rovers.
“I don’t think he ever got a real opportunity at the club and he was gone far too soon,” said Kieran.
His favourite QPR player of all time is Les Ferdinand, currently playing for Leicester City: “He was simply top class, the best I have ever seen,” said Kieran.
Despite the likely distractions on the day, Kieran is looking forward to enjoying the match itself and seeing his side collect three points to keep them in the promotion chase.’
The following year on 4th August, it was reported that: ‘The Sligo Branch of the Queen’s Park Rangers Supporters Club will meet in the Harp Tavern on Monday night at 7.30pm for the game versus Watford.’
As for the Brighton match, the R’s won it 2-1, with goals from Martin Rowlands and Kevin Gallen.
(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me the articles)