The importance of the GAA in times of sadness

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I grumble and have a moan about the GAA as much as anyone but this week made me realise how important the association is, in every parish in this country.

It has been a particularly devastating week for the GAA with the loss of so many members and players; young ones too in such tragic circumstances.

Earlier in the week my own club suffered a tragedy with the death of one of our young players. Our clubhouse was open that evening as players and supporters sought solace. It was the place we needed to go to; it was our sanctuary.

Over the days clubs from Longford and surrounding areas offered their sympathies and words of comfort to the family and friends of a fallen gael.

The GAA is a family. We all have a common bond; the love of our club and/or county. Club and county rivalries mean nothing in times of trouble and sadness. Everyone is there to lend a hand and give support. It’s what makes our association so special.

The men out directing traffic are involved in the club or surrounding clubs as are the ladies making tea and sandwiches and feeding the masses who visit the wake house. The GAA come together without being asked; it’s just something that members do.

Someone said to me the other day football means nothing in times of sadness and that’s true but I feel as the weeks and months go by, football is what will get us and the families through.

Their loved ones will never be forgotten and when the jersey is pulled on the players will be going out with heavy hearts but also with a reason to perform; it would be a fitting tribute to the memory of their fallen team-mate(s).

By Deniese O’Flaherty