Sunday 17 December 2017

'She lived to see her dream through' - GAA world 'devastated' by loss of Clare Clarke

Mother-of-two Clare Clarke passed away aged35 after a battle with cancer.
Mother-of-two Clare Clarke passed away aged35 after a battle with cancer.
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association has hailed the "huge impact" Clare Clarke had not only in sport, but also in Irish society, after the 35 year-old lost her battle with cancer.

The long-time staff member of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association was behind the Climb4Clare initiative which helps children whose close family relatives have been diagnosed with cancer.

Clare passed away on Saturday evening and is survived by her husband Ciaran and two daughters Ava and Katie.

Initially diagnosed with cancer five years ago, she got the all clear before it returned for the second time two years ago.

Well known throughout the country for her good humour and commitment to the sport, more recently she was responsible for introducing the Climb4Clare initiative to the Republic of Ireland last year.

"Kids are often forgotten about but she put them front and centre," a Ladies Gaelic Football Association spokesperson told Independent.ie.

"She went to Helen O'Rourke, the LGFA CEO, and the Association was quick to back the programme. It is an issue that impacts so many.

"It helps kids deal with the gravity of the situation before the event, though of course not all cases are terminal, it has such a positive impact for families."

A popular member of staff among GAA players, Clare built up strong bonds during her time involved in the Association and that was plain to see by the response to the Climb4Clare programme.

"The reaction has been incredible," the spokesperson said.

"The Galway, Mayo and Monaghan ladies teams raised funds by climbing Croagh Patrick, all the proceeds from the annual Dublin Stars v Dublin Senior Ladies match went to the foundation while the Wexford junior team that claimed the All-Ireland held a successful collection at their celebration banquet within hours of claiming the title in Croke Park for the worthy cause."

The spokesman admitted that the loss is being keenly felt by he work colleagues in the LGFA.

"The staff are devastated," he added. "She was so popular and so positive."

Poignantly, the first facilitators for Climb4Clare qualified on Saturday, hours before the mother-of-two passed away.

"She lived to see her dream through," the spokesperson added.

Clare was hailed as being "incredibly positive" throughout her cancer battle.

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