Monday 22 May 2017

Joe Brolly's heartwarming Gaelic football moment of the year shows there's more to life than sport

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Yesterday's match in Croke Park put all the GAA's best virtues on display.

There was intense commitment, a savage pace to the game and some sublime scores, and afterwards both teams showed great sportsmanship in how they embraced each other.

Read more: Joe Brolly: Mayo keep finding new ways to lose - their manager could have saved them at half time but bottled it

The Dublin and Mayo teams are a credit to the sport of Gaelic football and have rightly been lauded for playing out two cracking All-Ireland finals.

But although the action on the field is what gets talked about the most, Joe Brolly drew attention to an equally uplifting story around the fringes of the sport.

Appearing on The Saturday Game to pick his Gaelic football moment of the season, Brolly decided against choosing a spectacular point or a courageous block, but rather highlight the triumph of a man bouncing back from adversity.

Read more: 'The most culchie thing ever said on The Sunday Game!': Tomas O Se got a good slagging for his description of a Kerry star

"Obviously there is a life outside Gaelic football," Brolly told Des Cahill.

"That is Shane Halligan from Mayo, who last year was on death's door and then received a lung transplant. He is the Mayo kitman so every match I go down and speak with him. That transformation from death to life."

Halligan was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth and it gradually worsened until he needed a lung transplant. Thankfully, he found a donor and his health has improved significantly.

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