Revealed: The heartwarming story behind this hurling team’s ‘selfie’ after Leinster JHC victory
A picture published in this week’s Wexford People of a junior hurling team celebrating victory has a far more poignant story behind it than readers may have realised.
St Mogues junior hurling team recently won the Leinster championship and a photo captured the team taking what appeared to be a selfie during the celebrations.
However, it has since emerged that the players were actually facetiming a 13-year-old clubmate who is suffering from a rare illness.
Rory Whelan, from Fethard-on-Sea, was admitted to Temple Street Children's Hospital earlier this year having been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
GBS is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.
The picture on the front of the sport section is captioned “selfie time for the new Leinster champions”, but it turns out the young hurlers were actually trying to help their clubmate join in on the action.
They beat John Locke’s of Kilkenny on a scoreline of 1-17 to 2-11 to claim the Leinster Club Junior Hurling Championship.
Rory Whelan is a “highly valued member” of the club and represented Wexford at county level on the u-14 panel before being diagnosed with GBS.
Doctors initially thought he had a chest infection when he fell ill in April, but his condition quickly deteriorated and he is now under heavy sedation as he receives treatment for the illness.
“Rory is a hurling fanatic and is still recovering from serious illness in hospital. A lovely moment for the team to be able to share with him,” the club tweeted.
His aunt, Ann Marie Bates, set up a Go Fund Me campaign to help raise money for his rehabilitation.
"His local school and the GAA club have also done other fundraisers, we're very thankful for the support," she told Independent.ie.
You can donate to Rory's cause at https://www.gofundme.com/rorys-road-to-recovery.