A young Everton fan whose emotional response to learning he would be making his dream first trip to watch the Blues play was widely shared on social media had a Goodison debut to remember on Sunday.
Ruairc, who will turn 11 on Wednesday, broke into tears of joy as he was filmed by his parents opening a letter explaining he would be travelling from his home in Cork, Ireland to attend the Toffees’ Premier League clash with Bournemouth.
The video gained a huge response from touched Evertonians and Ruairc’s dream day out was made even more special as the Club invited him to go behind-the-scenes and meet manager Marco Silva and his players.
Part of the Club’s ‘My Debut’ commitment which sees young Blues treated to a money-can’t-buy day out on their first visit to the stadium, Ruairc was also shown around the first-team areas of Goodison by former Everton and Republic of Ireland star Kevin Kilbane, watched the teams warm up pitchside and went into the home dressing room to chat with all the first-team players as they prepared to tackle the Cherries.
Full-back and Republic of Ireland skipper Seamus Coleman presented Ruairc with a pair of his boots, while the youngster also got his Everton shirt and a ball signed by the Blues’ stars.
Ruairc then took his seat in the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End to see goals from Kurt Zouma and Dominic Calvert-Lewin give Everton a 2-0 win, before returning pitchside for a one-to-one meeting with Toffees boss Silva after the full-time whistle.
"It's always been a dream of mine to come to Goodison," said Ruairc. "When I've been watching the team on the tv I've always hoped that someday I'd be able to come over and I loved it.
"Meeting the players was just brilliant, they were so nice, and it was good fun.
"My friends will be quite jealous when I show them the jersey and all the signatures of the players. I'll be bragging about it for weeks.
“It was once in a lifetime - I don't think I'll ever get a present like this ever again."
Ruairc's dad, Tim, who accompanied his son on the trip to Merseyside, is a lifelong Blue and said the day has left him with memories he'll cherish "for years and years to come".
"It was my wife's idea to film him reading the letter," he said. "She knew he'd be so happy and thought it would be nice just to keep it as a souvenir.
"But his reaction and the way he got so overwhelmed was absolutely amazing so we shared it with a few friends on a Facebook page and it just snowballed. It completely blew us away.
"We could never have dreamt in a million years it would lead to all this.
"The Club doing what they have done has just been absolutely amazing."
Manager Silva met Ruairc immediately after speaking at his post-match press conference and was delighted to learn the youngster had enjoyed his Goodison experience.
"It was great to meet Ruairc and his dad, Tim, and to see how excited he was on his first visit to Goodison. Obviously, it was great for him to see a win for the team and to take away special memories from his trip."
Watch a video of Ruaric’s day above or by clicking here
. User of the official Everton app can also navigate to the ‘Video’ section.
First time Season Ticket Members or match attenders are invited by the Club to enjoy a My Debut experience.