James Lawton: Quinn and Kelly the rarest of footballers

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The Independent Football

Gary Kelly, the splendid Leeds United full back whose frequent exclusion from the team is a source of mystery to many underwhelmed by the defensive skills of his club-mate Danny Mills, is accused of being a copy-cat.

Some are saying his decision to donate £500,000 of his testimonial match proceeds to cancer research in memory of a beloved sister is the mere aping of a similar gesture by his Ireland team-mate Niall Quinn. Kelly says: "I know some people will say that we are only following Niall's lead and that's fair enough. But it's irrelevant as far as I'm concerned."

Irrelevant indeed, but more interesting is the speculation that Quinn has somehow cut through the materialistic values of life in the football fast lane. Could it be that money previously assigned to the amassing of country mansions and Ferraris will now be transferred to medical centres in Rwanda and irrigation projects in the Sudan? Probably not, but this is no reason not to celebrate the brilliant instincts of Quinn and Kelly. They shine like diamonds in murky days of greed, and those sufficiently impressed can buy a non-attendance ticket for the Quinn game between Sunderland and Ireland by phoning 0800-5877566 in the UK and 1-800-509238 in Ireland. It would help children's hospitals in the north-east and Dublin, and also deepen the threat of football acquiring a good name.

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