Sunday 23 October 2016

WATCH: Two Irish teachers shoot to fame in India after unforgettable rickshaw ride rallying for their GAA team

Catherine Devine

Published 24/07/2016 | 16:44

Irish teachers Annette McGroary and Elaine O'Leary with two Indian police officers in Bangalore
Irish teachers Annette McGroary and Elaine O'Leary with two Indian police officers in Bangalore

Two Irish teachers became media sensations in India after an unforgettable rickshaw ride in Bangalore to generate support for Donegal's gaelic football team.

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Elaine O’Leary from Limerick and Annette McGroary from Donegal were in Bangalore volunteering with Cork-based charity SERVE when they took the extraordinary rickshaw ride from a ‘Mr Nathan’ to generate support for Donegal ahead of their clash against Tyrone last Sunday July 17.

“We decided to go around the city putting up green and gold things for the craic. We wanted to get funny photos of the Donegal colours to support them in the game,” Annette told

“We decided to get a rickshaw ride because they were green and gold and we were getting videos with the driver shouting “c’mon Donegal”. It was all a bit of craic,” she said.

When the girls got back to their house Annette realised she had left her camera in the rickshaw and was devastated.

“I thought there was no way I was going to get the camera back because we didn’t know anything about driver, just that he was lovely,” said Annette.

Chancing their arm, the girls brought a video of the driver taken on Elaine’s phone to the police and asked to keep an eye out in case he dropped the camera in.

At the same time, Annette said that ‘Mr Nathan’ was desperately tying to find the girls to get the camera back to them.

“He had spent the day trying to find us. He went to an internet café and tried to see from my photos on my SD card where we were staying. He handed the camera into police when he couldn’t find any information about us.”

Police instantly recognised ‘Mr Nathan’ when he walked into the police station to hand in the camera.

“The police rang me and asked to come down to the station. I couldn’t believe it when they said that the driver had handed in the camera,” said Annette.

The girls were reunited with the driver and the camera at the police station and the story was featured in the national Indian media.

“The police tweeted the picture and we were interviewed on four TV stations in India. It was priceless.”

The teachers are currently volunteers in Bangalore with SERVE, a development and volunteering organisation working with partners in India, the Philippines, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

The girls are working and living with children and adults with disabilities and people affected by leprosy and HIV.

“You share the lives of people who wake up every day and suffer from hunger, people who suffer injustice every day because of their gender, because they have leprosy, because they suffer from HIV and because they live in extreme poverty,” said Elaine.

Annette added: “Incredibly, though we may speak different languages and have different customs we share our colours and the craic! A smile crosses all boundaries and  green and gold represents local pride as much here as in Donegal.”

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