Today is Halloween which initiates the triduum of Hallowmas, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.
“From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!.
All Hallows’ Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Most of us associate Halloween with costume parties and trick or treating for children.
From henceforth, our televisions will be blasting out advertisements about Christmas and telling us to spend money that a lot of families do not have, especially in these recessionary times. The clocks went back an hour last Saturday evening making our winter days even shorter. I suppose this confused our Australian visitors a little when the played Ireland in the second test of the Compromise Rules series in Croke Park last Saturday evening. At least they will return to their summer, some consolation for their annihilation in the series overall.
The series is struggling for identity. A lot of money has been spent promoting the hybrid game over the years. As I’ve already stated here, the game is too distant from the format that the Australians are familiar with in their own country. I thought that it was an empty win for Ireland. This does not in any detract from the prestige for our Irish players in representing their country and we are particularly proud of our Donegal trio of Neil McGee, Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty. So hearty congratulation to all the lads!
It would be remiss of me not to mention our local boxer Jason Quigley. He became the first male Irish boxer in history to claim a silver medal at the World Championships last Saturday. Jason is an affable young lad and is modest in every respect. We in the Finn Valley area are so proud of his achievements and he is a credit to his family who has supported him in every respect. He is a terrific role model for any youngster and indeed for us all. Well done to you Jason and to your family.
It has been a tragic week in the rural village of Kilbeacanty, Co. Galway when the young Galway hurler Niall Donohue died. It was death by suicide which is so very tragic for his family, friends and his community. News of his death will have touched everyone all over the country especially those in the GAA fraternity. Words are always too little and insufficient in these circumstances. Those families bereaved by suicide know all too well the anguish and the suffering that the Donohue family is suffering and will for a long time to come. The exact circumstances surrounding this tragedy have not been made public so it would be unfair to make any detailed comment.
The Gaelic Players Association to their credit has a helpline for players which is available 24/7 and 365 days a year. More information can be found on www.gaelicplayers.com Gaelic sport is predominately a rural sport where men are not supposed to show weakness. We were not encouraged to discuss our emotional or mental issues. It would have been a sure sign of weakness in a macho dressing room where players are frothing at the mouth before going on to a football field. Some players wear a mask, though. The mask comes off only when he returns to the security of his own home. High achievers in life and in sport are more exposed to mental health disorders than anyone. The pressure to maintain the high standards can be difficult to maintain and can become overwhelming for the individual. When we watch sportsmen and women perform, what you see is not necessarily what you get. Gaelic sport has reached a level which borders on professionalism with payment of course. The external physical wounds and injuries are easily fixed in comparison to those hidden internal scars that are not evident to the eye. Awareness is growing within the GAA and I cannot emphasis how important it is that managers and medical staff take a more cognitive stance on the mental welfare of our players. Niall Donohue’s tragic passing will serve to highlight an issue that in the past was hidden by not only the player but by those associated with team management. One death is one too many. May Niall Donohue Rest in Peace and may his death not be in vain.