Clonkill's Leinster clash with Ballyboden to go ahead after agreement from family of tragic Annabel Loughlin
In the greater scheme of things, sport is a wonderfully inconsequential diversion from the intrusions of real life.
That old truism will carry huge poignancy in Parnell Park tonight (8pm) for the refixed AIB Leinster club SHC quarter-final between Dublin champions Ballyboden St Enda's and their Westmeath counterparts from Clonkill.
But for the tragic accident that befell three-year-old Annabel Loughlin, daughter of former Westmeath hurler Enda, this match would have taken place on Sunday; the winners would have moved on while the losers reflected on a season that still delivered local glory to their club.
It has been a harrowing few days for everyone associated with Clonkill and Westmeath.
As manager of @Clonkillhurling senior team,I want to guarantee Enda and his family, that we will respect their wishes and tog out in the @AIB_GAA Leinster club tomorrow. And do our utmost to put in a performance everyone can be proud of. RIP Annabel.— Kev O'Brien (@kevobrien12) November 5, 2018
Ballyboden echoed the sentiments of the wider GAA community when, in a statement, they expressed their "sincere sympathy and condolences to the Loughlin family, to Clonkill GAA club and to the entire community of Clonkill at the very sad loss of toddler Annabel on Friday. We will keep the family and community of Clonkill in our thoughts and prayers over the difficult times ahead."
Read more here:
- GAA community in shock as daughter (3) of leading sporting figure dies tragically at home
- Annabel (3) who died in accident at home was the 'apple of her father's eye'
It's hard to comprehend how Clonkill will be able to play in such fraught circumstances, but it's scarcely ideal for Ballyboden either.
Clonkill confirmed they agreed the match will proceed after talking to the Loughlin family.
"Clonkill Hurling Club were consulted by the Leinster Council last Friday, November 2 and we agreed to play the match this Tuesday, November 6," read a club statement.
"Leinster Council and Ballyboden St Enda's contacted us about a further postponement until Wednesday night and asked if we wanted this.
"Clonkill consulted with the family and they wished that the game would proceed as planned on Tuesday."
Manager Kev O'Brien wrote on Twitter: "As manager of @Clonkillhurling senior team, I want to guarantee Enda and his family, that we will respect their wishes and tog out in the @AIB_GAA Leinster club tomorrow. And do our utmost to put in a performance everyone can be proud of. RIP Annabel."