Saturday 7 December 2019

Bill's 'GAA Gospel' jersey raises €4k for charity

A passionate young GAA fan from Glanworth has raised €4,000 for two Irish hospitals as part of a special jersey campaign to thank doctors who had treated his younger sister after she diagnosed with serious illness, which required vital surgery.

Bill O'Flynn, who himself survived a serious road traffic accident as a child, said with his younger sister, Katie, they wanted to pay a special 'thank you' to hospitals in Cork and Dublin.

He devised a special 'GAA Gospel' jersey which aimed both to honour his own lifelong love of Gaelic games and demonstrate that the true 'sporting gospel' is how individuals respond to adversity in life.

"The passion for Gaelic games has been a big part of my life," the Glanworth, Co Cork fan explained.

"I was involved with the Dr Harty Cup panels in St Colman's College and I go to all the Cork GAA matches."

The young man was involved with St Colman's Dr Harty Cup team management for three seasons, the highlight of which was the 2017 final.

He has also worked with a host of clubs including Glanworth and Bride Rovers as well as under-age sides.

Bill designed a jersey, available in a range of colours, which depicted the adversity of life through sporting themes including images of broken hurley's and a punctured footballs.

It was all part of what he called his "GAA Gospel" theme.

The broken hurley's represent the loss of someone close to you in life and the punctured footballs depicts trauma through both depression and anxiety.

Bill took his fundraising campaign to the National Ploughing Championships last September - and managed to sell a remarkable 520 of 570 jerseys and items of clothing produced, raising €4,000.

The funds were divided evenly between the Cork University Hospital (CUH) children's unit and the Beaumont Hospital children's unit where his sister, Katie, had been treated.

Both brother and sister said they were absolutely delighted with how the jersey campaign went.

The young girl has since made a full recovery and is now playing a star role with Fermoy Ladies GAA.

"It was my way of saying thanks not just for the support my family has enjoyed from doctors and nurses but also for the GAA and what it has given to me," Bill said.

He is the son of former double World and All- Ireland tug of war champion, Liam O'Flynn, and his wife, Catherine.

The family's GAA credentials are underlined by Liam having won a Cork county junior football championship medal with Grange in 1979.

Bill is also a nephew of long-serving Cork County Councillor Frank O'Flynn.