Rugby star Johnny Sexton is raffling off the boots he wore during his historic 100th cap in Ireland’s 60-5 win over Japan to raise money for charity.
Cash raised by the draw for the size 9.5 Adidas Predator boots will go to Debra Ireland, which the Irish captain has supported for several years.
The organisation helps people living with the skin disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and their families, as well as funding research to find treatments and a cure for the condition.
The skin of people with EB blisters at the slightest touch, which means that painful bandaging must be applied at least every 48 hours – and sometimes daily.
The 36-year-old said: “My 100th cap was obviously a special day for me and my family and I really want to give something back for all the success and good fortune that I have had in making it this far playing for Ireland.
“The boots have the initials of my wife, Laura, and children, Luca, Amy and Sophie, on them.
“I have been working with Debra Ireland for some years now and I have been inspired by the bravery of those who live with the condition, such as Emma Fogarty and Claudia Scanlon.
“The charity funds support services for people with EB and their families, as well as exciting research into potential treatment and cures, which offers enormous hope to people who live with the condition.
“The researchers are on the cusp of major advances which will have life-changing consequences for people with EB in the coming years, so it’s very important that Debra Ireland continues to fund that research.”
The charity welcomed the gesture by the rugby international, who has been a Debra ambassador for more than a decade.
“We’re delighted that Johnny has decided to use this big moment in his amazing career to raise money for Debra Ireland,” said chief executive Jimmy Fearon.
Leinster star Sexton is only the seventh player to notch up a century of appearances for his country and capped the November 6 milestone in style, scoring one of Ireland’s nine tries and kicking 11 points at the Aviva Stadium.
He won his first international cap and Man of the Match in the Test against Fiji at the RDS in Dublin on November 21 2009, scoring 16 points from five conversions and two penalty goals in extremely difficult weather conditions.
The raffle opened on Monday evening and will run until Wednesday December 22, with the winner announced the following day.
Tickets cost five euro.