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We are being successfully conquered by ignoramuses and spoofers

Joe Brolly


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A demonstration to the media of the testing facilities in Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

A demonstration to the media of the testing facilities in Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

A demonstration to the media of the testing facilities in Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The respected Belfast-based physiotherapist Shea McAleer tweeted last week: "Does anyone know where I can enroll on a cure/faith healer course? This is quite popular currently among GAA club managers. A client with a G2 ankle syndesmosis went for 'a cure of the sprain' with a healer which didn't end well. 'Cure of the hamstring' seems popular too."

When the implacable Henry Downey was captain of Derry, he was struggling with an ankle injury and Eamonn Coleman, a devout christian, sent him to Brother Aloysius at Portglenone Monastery. The monk was a renowned 'healer' with supposed mystical powers. The fact that these healing powers had never been independently verified under laboratory conditions was neither here nor there.

The good brother laid hands on Henry, prayed with him, reassured him that God could see his goodness and that his faith would help to drive away the pain. He finished by sprinkling a liberal dose of holy water over the injured foot. After a few sessions, Henry arrived at the training one night and I asked him how did it go. He said: "He might as well have pissed on it."