MICKEY Harte, the father of Michaela McAreavey, has described sport as a 'great connector and a healer'.
Harte's daughter Michaela, pictured, was tragically murdered while on honeymoon in Mauritius in January 2011, and the Tyrone GAA manager said sport has helped him deal with the personal tragedy.
"People need something to take their mind to different places when tragedy or difficulty befalls them," he told the Irish Independent. "I think sport is a great opportunity to do that."
Mr Harte said the support offered by the GAA and other sports organisations across Ireland helped him deal with his grief.
"The letters and cards we got in thousands relating to our tragedy was overwhelming.
"People from cricket clubs, tennis clubs, rugby clubs all offered support.
"When you're part of a sporting organisation, you are part of a bigger family."
Mr Harte was speaking at the launch of the Special Olympics Ireland Volunteer drive at Eircom headquarters.
Former rugby player Alan Quinlan as well as Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan were in attendance.
"We can't stress the importance of volunteers enough," Mr Brogan said.
A total of 3,000 volun-teers are required to support the sports charity's Games in Limerick in June.
The Special Olympics Ireland Games Limerick 2014 will see over 1,500 Special Olympic athletes compete for the chance to represent team Ireland at the World Games in Los Angeles in 2015.
CEO of Special Olympics Ireland Matt English described the launch as a 'call to arms'.
"Volunteers are the life blood of the Special Olympics and we need an army of them this year," Mr English said.
Members of the public who would like to volunteer for the 2014 Games can apply at www.specialolympics.ie