Football hero tells of prayers on pitch
DUBLIN football star Ger Brennan never asks God for help to win the big games, but simply prays for the protection of his teammates.
Speaking at the launch of the Meath Diocesan Eucharistic Congress in Navan last night, the All-Ireland winner described his relationship with God throughout his life and how his faith had helped him conquer the world of sport.
The Belvedere school teacher, who once said his life's ambition was to "deepen his relationship with God", told the assembled crowd: "A lot of my students would ask me, when you are playing football do you ever pray to win? And the answer is no.
"What I pray for is the safety of my own teammates and the safety of the other teammates and then I just give thanks to God for my own talents and for having so many great people around me."
The 'Come and See' Eucharistic Congress is expected to attract about 1,500 people over its three days and will host more than 50 individual workshops on faith as well as talks and entertainment.
Singer Frances Black will give a workshop on conflict resolution in family life while Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte will deliver the keynote speech 'What My Faith Means to Me' tomorrow.
In his address, centre-back Ger told the crowd of about 300 young people that they represented the future.
"At the moment it's clear that we are going through a turbulent time between the various abuse scandals and so on," he said.
"But I would say to you that it's better to be here doing something about it than to be on the outside giving out about what the people on the inside are doing."
The football hero's speech dipped in and out of his early life growing up in the capital and his discovery of religion.
He also told his young audience about his life-changing volunteering experience at a Colombian orphanage which dramatically shaped his view on life.
"I came back a different person from the trip. I let go of a lot of the non-important things in my life and stopped giving out to my mother for giving me the wrong dinner."
Last night's curtain-raiser, which also featured live music, was aimed at the youth of the Meath Diocese, with the specific purpose of attracting more young people back to the church in an age when many feel it unfashionable.