Wednesday 22 November 2017

Brave Brolly donates kidney to seriously ill friend

Derry all-Ireland winner Joe Brolly (left), 42, who has donated a kidney to Belfast PR executive and fellow GAA enthusiast Shane Finnegan (right).
Derry all-Ireland winner Joe Brolly (left), 42, who has donated a kidney to Belfast PR executive and fellow GAA enthusiast Shane Finnegan (right).
Shane Finnegan: clubmate of Joe Brolly's and long-time friend
GAA pundit Joe Brolly
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

GAA pundit Joe Brolly, is recovering in a London hospital after bravely donating a kidney to a seriously ill friend.

The RTE football analyst donated his kidney to a club-mate from St Brigid's GAC in Belfast. Shane Finnegan (40), from Belfast, also coached an under-10 team alongside the GAA star.

The transplant took place on Wednesday and the two men are now recovering in Guy's Hospital in London.

Yesterday, the former Derry star said it has been "an honour" to have helped. "I'm honoured to have been in the position to help Shane. He's been waiting for a transplant for over six years and when I heard that the only possibility of one was through a live donor I contacted his medical team.

"And, of course, in my considered opinion it's all going according to plan -- and thankfully the doctors concur."

Mr Finnegan said he was overwhelmed by the gesture.

"Joe's altruism is overwhelming and, of course, there are no words to thank him or his family for his wonderful gift," he said.

"I know it's early days, but I'm so relieved that it's all going well for both of us so far," he added.

Mr Brolly, a father of five, recently confided to friends that he would be out of commission for a number of months as a result of the surgery.

Mr Brolly (43), a barrister who specialises in criminal matters, is not expected to return to work until the New Year.

It is understood that the GAA pundit has been preparing for the operation for the past number of weeks.

A friend of Mr Brolly's said he had quietly been making arrangements for the operation for some time.

"He's known about this for a while but he didn't want it made public. Joe is a very good friend who would do anything to help his friends.

"To do this for a family member is one thing but to do it for a friend brings it to a whole other level."

The popular player spent most of his career with St Canice's in Dungiven before transferring to St Brigid's GAC in Belfast.

Yesterday his club did not want to comment on the matter.

Brolly is a popular radio and TV pundit, who is best known for his work with 'The Sunday Game' on RTE. He also writes a column for the 'Derry Journal'.

He was part of Derry's first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winning side in 1993 and also won two Ulster Senior Football Championships and four National League titles.

Irish Independent

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