By Madeline O’Connor
Niall Horan, the Mullingar-born member of boy band One Direction, hosted The Niall Horan Charity Football Challenge at The Power Stadium, home of Leicester City FC on Monday afternoon.
Proceeds from the event went to three charities: the Foxes Foundation, Irish Autism and UK Heart and Minds Challenge, also an autism charity.
The celebrity kick-about was organised by Niall, himself a Derby County fan, but the quaffed singer didn’t take part in the match as he is currently recovering from major knee surgery.
His fellow One Direction heartthrobs Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson joined him in the Midlands town for the match, as did Olly Murs, Rod Stewart, Robbie Fowler and Pierce Morgan, who was managing one of the sides.
Also playing on the day were comedian John Bishop , actor James Corden, former footballer Mark Wright and cricketing legend Freddie Flintoff.
More than 10,000 tickets have already been sold for the Niall Horan Charity Football Challenge..
Cheryl Broadfoot, ambassador for UK Heart and Minds Challenge, said: “The more names that get added, the more gob smacked I became. It is amazing the amount of support we have been given.
“The money is going to make a fantastic difference. It will be used to continue to support families affected by autism.”
A Leicester City club spokesman said: “Leicester City are delighted to be hosting the stars of One Direction at King Power Stadium for the Niall Horan Charity Football Challenge this month.
“The money raised will go to a number of worthy causes, including our own LCFC Foxes Foundation, which supports numerous charities in Leicestershire and beyond.”