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Greece offers to fly Irish Celtic fan to Brazil for upcoming World Cup game

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Best buds: Jay Beatty and his hero Giorgos Samaras
Best buds: Jay Beatty and his hero Giorgos Samaras

An Armagh boy and his family have had to turn down an offer from Greece to be flown to Brazil for their forthcoming second round game.

Eleven-year-old Jay Beatty from Lurgan has become an overnight internet sensation in Greece after his father uploaded a video of him celebrating the country's winner against the Ivory Coast. 

Beatty, who has Down Syndrome, was dressed in Greece's trademark blue and the video gained a lot of attention after being shared widely on social media. 

A Facebook page in Greece, which has attracted over 90,000 'likes', was set up to request that young Beatty be brought to Brazil for the country's second round game against Costa Rica. 

The eleven-year-old is a massive Celtic fan, and only last month the team's striking legend Giorgos Samaras carried him around Celtic Park following their triumph in the Scottish Premiership. 

Speaking yesterday the Greek striker said: "Jay, I want to thank for you for the strength you give me. Your smile and support give strength to everyone in the national team. I hope to see you soon. I’m very, very proud that you are my friend.

“This boy gives me so much strength, it’s incredible,” Samaras said.
 
“There are no words. I feel his love so much. This love I feel, is also felt by many people in Greece."
 
He said that the Greek footballing federation offered to pay for Jay and his family to travel to Brazil for their upcoming game. 
 

Unfortunately, the family already had a holiday planned and reluctantly rejected the generous offer. They were in the airport about to depart when they got the call but said they were humbled by the offer. 

“Naturally we were unable to take up the offer and are so gutted, but truly grateful that people would do this for Jay. We cannot believe that this has happened and are so humbled and would like to wish Greece all the best in the World Cup,” father Martin Beatty wrote in a Facebook post. 

However, the humbled eleven-year-old had the following message for his favourite player: "Hi Sammy, I hope you win the World Cup. Sammy, I'm sorry I won't be there but I still love you very much. C'mon Sammy."