Sunday 26 May 2019

WATCH: Inspirational eight-year-old defies loss of both legs and fingers in right hand to keep GAA dream alive

Conball in action for Delco Gaels. Pic: Jerome Quinn.
Conball in action for Delco Gaels. Pic: Jerome Quinn.
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

His coach, Derry man Anthony Moore, succinctly sums him up as "an inspiration to everybody".

Moore is part of an Irish management team looking after Delco Gaels' Under-8s team in Boston, a club that epitomise the GAA spirit, A club that embraces everyone who walks through their gates to play the game they love.

The young man he is referring to Conall Harvery, an eight-year-old walking miracle and integral part of the Gaels' set-up.

He is a vibrant presence, bubbly and full of chat.

Three years ago, Conall suffered septic shock and underwent a life-saving operation. He lost his legs and the fingers in his right hand but that was never going to stop him running out on the hallowed turf with the Gaels.

In a separate, heartbreaking blow he was diagnosed with leukemia.

"One of the lucky things about me is they didn't do this to my left hand. I have always been a lefty," optimistic Conall tells Jerome Quinn in Boston.

Conall's mother, Christin, praised Delco Gaels for making her son feel like "a normal eight-year-old".

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"Delco Gales have helped us through the journey," says Christin.

"We started back with the team after he was diagnosed with leukemia. When he was initially diagnosed, he left for a year and then came back.

"He has been to three Feiles in Ireland and three CYC's (Continental Youth Championships). He is finishing it (leukemia treatment) this year and his legs are getting stronger every year.

"He is just part of the team. He may not catch up with the other children but he tries and he thinks he does which is the best part and he just loves coming to play. He feels like he is just a normal eight-year-old with this team.

"They automatically think of him and it's not a second thought to them. It's very sweet. They look out for him, they all do. Gaelic football is very unique, you don't see this in American sports."

"I've never seen anything like it before on a football pitch," says Anthony Moore, who runs the team with his cousin Liam.

"I have never seen anybody with the spirit he has. He comes and tries his heart out, he is just a bundle of joy. It's really great to see him out there playing gaelic football. He is an inspiration to everybody."

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