Saturday 17 November 2018

Maeve Sheehan: Joy abounds as prayers at Katie's church are answered

Boxer's faith was a 'key factor' in keeping the hopes of a nation in check and delivering a historic gold, writes Maeve Sheehan

SHORTLY before Katie Taylor lifted the spirit of a nation, her own wholesome spirit was invoked in a church hall in south inner city Dublin on the night her dream came true. This was where her "family" in St Mark's Pentecostal Church gathered to will her to victory by force of prayer.

There was a giant television screen where the altar should be and at the back were tables laden with flasks of tea and coffee and plates of Marietta biscuits and custard creams. Volunteers from the Pentecostal church -- young men and women, stood at the door: "Welcome. You are all welcome," they said, to the office workers, Katie fans and television cameras.

With minutes to go, Sean Mullarkey, the pastor, jumped on the stage, an Ireland scarf around his neck, to pray for Katie, and in Christian spirit, her Russian rival for Olympic gold, Sofya Ochigava: "We pray for her opponent. But oh Lord God, we would love her to bring a gold medal home to Ireland."

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