Fourteen year old Leixlip girl Abbie O’Leary has tonight completed her 1000km cycling fundraiser in aid of the Children’s Health Foundation at Crumlin Hospital.
Abbie, who began the mammoth cycle on April 1st, in line with her Easter break from school, amazingly reached her landmark only fifteen days into the month.
The sports mad Leixlip Gaa member, usually spends this time of the year immersed in Camogie, Football and competitive Swimming action but unfortunately like so many others, due to lockdown this hasn’t been possible in both 2020 and 2021.
Abbie’s competitive nature and love of exercise has seen her take up running and cycling in recent months, leading to her setting herself this challenge, while raising funds for CHI at Crumlin.
Speaking to Abbie earlier in the month, she explained her reasoning for choosing Crumlin; I’m a patient in CHI at Crumlin and am continually cared for by the fantastic Haematology team. I have also received amazing care from the medical team for various sporting injuries.
“I am so grateful for the care that I have received in CHI at Crumlin and wanted to give something back, and say thank you for all that they have done for me. I am combining my love of sport and gratitude for CHI at Crumlin in this 1000km fundraiser.”
Abbie was joined by her Mum Barbara, who is a healthcare worker and Abbie’s good friend Aoife for the cycles.
On Thursday, December 3rd 2020, Mark Dalton, his twin brother Tom, and three friends were involved in a serious car accident. Mark received exceptional care from the first responders, paramedics, staff at Cork University Hospital and the Spinal Unit of the Mater Hospital. Despite their efforts, he has been left with major trauma to his spine.
Mark is currently at the beginning of his rehabilitation journey which will continue in the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire for the next considerable period of time. Mark is a 5th year student in Pobalscoil na Tríonóide in Youghal, Co Cork, where he has made a lasting impression, as outlined here by school principal, Séamas Ó Ceallacháin:
“There’s one or two in every school and community; ye know the kind of young man I am talking about. Without ever trying to command attention, the guy who seamlessly gains the respect of his colleagues and whom you know is a team player. That fellow who never sets out to be the focal point of conversation yet is very popular with everybody. The person you know that will always be there for you if you are in a corner but doesn’t want to be over-powering. To the community of Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, Mark Dalton is that fine, decent, respected, and well-liked young man.”
Mark is an amazing teenager. His strength and determination have been obvious to all from a very young age, starting on the hurling field. He was born with a hurley in his hands and blue Waterford blood in his veins! Despite their relatively tender years, both Mark and Tom have achieved so much on both hurling & football fields. Just a few short days after the accident, both were due to represent their county, their club and their family in the Munster Minor Hurling championship against Tipperary in Páirc Ui Rinn, Cork.
“Mark is and was, along with his twin brother Tom, a very important member of this year’s county minor hurling panel. Armed with a relaxed but focused attitude, Mark developed into a fine young hurler who excelled in an attacking role. Mark’s contribution to the panel was immense and his searing pace, along with a superb eye for a score, was sorely missed in our championship outing against Tipperary.” Darragh Duggan, Waterford Minor Hurling Manager, 2020.
The main goal of this Go Fund Me page is to bring Mark back to a suitably modified home. In order to achieve this goal considerable alterations are necessary in the Dalton home, with immediate modifications required in order to bring Mark home as soon as possible. Alterations will include an accessible front door and hallway, open-plan accessible kitchen and living space and an accessible bedroom and bathroom for Mark.
We, his friends have set up this Go Fund Me to assist Mark on his journey. This is where you, the wider public can help us to help Mark, to ensure that his essential needs are met and that the entire family will be aided and comforted for challenging times ahead. You can help, and no matter how small or large your contribution is, we thank you with all our hearts. Help us to bring Mark to where he wants and needs to be- in his own home.
Last weekend we had the privilege here at Extra Time Sport of Lauren Magee taking over our Instagram page while on quarantine in a Brisbane hotel. We have put together a selection of YOUR QUESTIONS that Lauren thankfully went to great lengths to answer meticulously.
There is some excellent knowledge and advice below for younger players and indeed players further on in their careers.
Lauren is due to come out of quarantine along with fellow Dublin players Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy this Friday, January 22nd, when they will head to Melbourne to joint up with the Melbourne Demons AFLW team ahead of the new season.
*** Australia, AFLW & Quarantine ***
How are you keeping busy while in quarantine in Brisbane? It’s really important to get into a routine straight away here in the hotel room to help the days not feel so long. A typical day usually consists of: Bike session, yoga, skills, a walk, reading, painting, sudoku, listening to a podcast and learning Spanish (well trying too).
How long are you in Brisbane for? Only here for the remainder of quarantine (Friday 22nd) and then we fly straight to Melbourne.
Is this your first time in Australia and if so, what are you most looking forward too outside of the footy? I was in Melbourne for a short trip in March of 2020 and only got to see and do a few things so I am really looking forward to exploring more of Melbourne and seeing places like this (see photo)
Are you quarantining alone or can you mix with Sinead (Goldrick) and Niamh (Mcevoy) since you travelled with them? Unfortunately I am alone, we are are in separate rooms and don’t get to see each other.
What is quarantine like? Is it the hardest thing you have ever done? Not having any human contact or fresh air is definitely tough but keeping busy and having a routine definitely helps – I wouldn’t say it’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done but it’s something I wouldn’t like to have to do any again any time soon.
What hotel are you quarantining in? The Mercure. I really would love a hoover – they won’t give me one because of cross contamination!
What was your least favourite thought of leaving home? Not being able to see my family, especially not being there for my Mam following the loss of my Stepdad recently. I know this is something he was so excited for me to do though, as were all of my family, so I still had to pursue it.
Why did take the three of you so long to get out to Australia, did Covid affect your plans? I t wasn’t a choice really, were supposed to fly out on December the 26th or 27th but due to Covid there flight cancellations etc. So we were basically on a waiting list to get a flight into Australia. Luckily we got one, given how bad things are at home.
How did you start playing AFL? I was asked to take part in the first combine held in December last December and it was through that I got in touch with Melbourne.
What are you most looking forward to about playing AFL? I think the excitement to learn a new sport, especially in a professional setup, is definitely something I’m looking forward to. But I also can’t wait to be able to be more physical in a game and not get sin-binned for it!!
What’s the most challenging part of changing/adapting to Aussie Rules? Learning the rules of the game and adapting the oval ball.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge of playing footy in Melbourne? Definitely the heat for me, being a ginger, it will be a struggle.
What are you most looking forward to seeing once out of quarantine? Simply, just everyone in Melbourne.
How long do you plan to stay in Australia? The plan at the moment is to stay until the end of April/early May.
Are there any AFLW teams in Ireland I could play for? I would love to try the sport? You should check out AFL Womens Ireland, they will lead you in the right direction.
*** Dublin Ladies ***
When did you start playing for Dublin? I’ve been playing on Dublin underage teams since u14s and have been playing ever since thankfully.
Do you think it matters if you don’t play underage for your county? No, definitely not. Nothing is impossible. Cassie is a great example. She never played underage for Dublin and is now on the Senior squad.
What kind of training and preparation did you do on your own to get to county level? When I was younger I was always out with my Dad and friends practicing on days I wasn’t training or playing. *Tip for anyone is to get out and practice, but particularly on skills that may not be your strongest.
What would you generally eat before a big game with Dublin? It’s all about the carb load. Especially the day before the game for me. The day before would generally be like pasta or curry etc for dinner and to make up more carbs, I’d sometimes have a bowl of cocopops afterwards. Every meal for me the day before, contains carbs. The day of the game, it always depends on what time the game is at. If it’s an early one I’ll just have some porridge and fruit. Most my food for the game would be based on what I have eaten the day before.
Is playing for Dublin hard? I would be a dream come true to play for them one day. I won’t lie, it’s a big commitment to be involved in a setup like Dublin and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to play but if it’s something you love to do, which I do, it’s worth it all.There can be days that are tough, especially when you have other things going on in your personal life and you’ve to get yourself to training but it’s these times that I am lucky to have such a great bunch around me. And after the session I will always feel better.
What has been your proudest moment in a Dublin jersey? Winning the All-Ireland in late 2020 – especially after the tough year everyone had and personally after losing my Stepdad, being able to play and end the year with a win was definitely one of the best feelings ever.
What was it like playing in the games in 2020 with no supporters present? It was a bit strange for the final in Croke Park because every year for the last few years the crowd was getting bigger, so it was a weird feeling running out to nobody on All-Ireland Final day. But I think I the saddest part was not having our families there and being able to run over and hug them after the final whistle.
Best at running tests and best in the gym on the Dublin team? Nicole Owens for the running and Siobhan Woods in the gym.
You’re stranded on a desert Island, who are the three Dublin players you bring with you? For entertainment purposes, Eabha. Lucy Collins for the inspirational talks and to keep my dental hygiene in check. Muireann Ni Scanaill to get us through anything tough that would come at us. I won’t pick Sinead Goldrick or Niamh McEvoy because I have the pleasure of spending the next few months with them anyway!!
*** The Club, Advice & Memories ***
Who is your toughest opponent in club football? Definitely a toss up between Sinead Goldrick and Leah Caffrey. It’s never an easy game playing against either of them.
What’s your favourite memory playing for Kilmacud Crokes? It definitely has to be winning the Dublin Feile and getting to the All-Ireland Feile alongside girls that I had played with since Nursery. But also I am very proud of our current team making the semi final or final every year since we got promoted a few years ago – we haven’t got over the line yet but we’ll go again.
What player should we keep an eye on for the future? The little pocket rocket Caoimhe O’Connor.
Have you any advice for teenage footballers during lockdown? Get out everyday and do some sort of practice. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just a light kick around or hand passing drill to a family member or against the wall. It’s really important to get out into the fresh air, get some exercise in and help your mind during these difficult times. Most of all, mind yourselves.
What advice would you give to younger players? To keep playing. There is such a high drop out rate in teenagers, due to making new friends in secondary school or maybe having more of a social life but I promise you will alway ls have time for your friends and for a social life outside of sport. Many of my old teammates stopped playing just as they got to secondary school or just as they were about to play Senior. Thankfully most of them have missed it after they left and have since returned to play for Kilmacud Crokes Intermediate team, which was great to see. The most important thing is to enjoy it. Don’t pressure yourself into playing if you aren’t enjoying it or if you are playing for your first team and you feel it’s too intense or serious, then maybe drop down a grade, where you can continue to play and and not be under as much pressure.
Any tips for coping with pre game nerves? The day before a big game I try to keep as busy without doing anything too strenuous. Things like meeting with friends for a walk or a coffee or when the cinema was open, I’d go there the evening before. Things to keep my mind off the game. On match day I’d always listen to music and focus on that. Nerves for me wouldn’t kick in until the changing room when the headphones are off. But it’s good to experience nerves so don’t be too worried about them. As soon as the game starts, they’ll be gone.
Top three tips for any young footballer on a senior panel? 1) Go express yourself, don’t hold back. Go and show your ability but always work hard while doing it. 2) Don’t be afraid to speak up and give your opinion on things. 3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions when there is drills or tactics that you don’t understand. You won’t be judged for this. Management and older players will appreciate your willingness to learn and get things right.
Did you always play midfield? No, I’ve played in most positions in defence too.
Would you like to see any changes in the rules of the LGFA? Like the sin-bin or physicality. I would definitely love to see the sin-binning gone. I think it takes away from the game, whether it be your team or the other team that receives one. I also think that the way the game has progressed and is going with teams having S&C coaches, that teams are a lot stronger. So I think more physicality should be allowed.
Best memory in football? Finding my Dad and giving him a massive hug after the 2017 All-Ireland final victory.
How much of an influence was your Dad on your early career? My Dad Johnny Magee is definitely the biggest influence on my career. Watching him and my uncle Darren Magee play for Dublin made me fall in love with the game from a very young age. Dad has done so much for me over the years to allow me to play football. For example I was in the Gaeltacht in Galway one year but had the All Ireland Feile in Mallow in Cork. Dad drove from Dublin to Galway to collect me, brought me all the way to Cork, helped manage our team, drove me back to Galway, before driving back home to Dublin himself. Parents don’t get enough recognition for what they do to enable their kids play a sport. Like the lifts all over the county or country and waiting during training, sometimes for hours before bringing them home.
Moynalvey man Gary Dunne yesterday began his part in helping his team go ‘Around the Globe in 80 days’ 🏃🌍
Gary, who lives in Castlebar, County Mayo, took to his Facebook page just before his run to explain; “We will attempt to cover the distance of the globe in just 80 days! All the proceeds are for Western Care Association guys so please help me out with a small donation as they all add up! Ill be hitting the road this evening to start my journey!
Thanks so much for any support you can give my team & me! Best of luck to everyone taking part 🙂 ⬇️ You can donate Here⬇️
Today Tipperary man Keith Morris (28) is in a great place. Life is good.
A year on from finally giving in and accepting help for an addiction that destroyed everything in its path for the guts of ten years, a Gaa and Golf mad Morris reflects on the good, the bad and the ugly and the good again by way of looking back on some before and after photos.
Morris has a smile on his face nowadays that lights up any room he enters. Partly because of his joy at his beloved Tipperary ending an 85 year famine by winning the Munster Senior Football Championship with victory over Cork but mainly because of where the last year and his recovery has brought him.
He walked through the gates of Cuan Mhuire Athy on December 19th 2019, a broken man, whereas a day short of that same date in 2020, he now walks around a happy, content man, delighted to have been given a second chance at life and ready to face the future, a future free from addiction, a bright future.
Keith Morris; “One year clean, sober and gamble free today.
I look back now on the photos as a way of reminding myself of the effects that drugs, alcohol and gambling addictions can directly or indirectly have on you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Looking back at the first few photos makes me scared as hell to be honest. Embarrassing as it is to admit, as a young 27 year old man at the time, I was a clinically, chronic alcoholic and drug addict.
This is a vulgar picture to paint so I apologise, but waking up with soaking wet sheets, sweating profusely, shaking uncontrollably, urinating into a bottle beside the bed because you’re too afraid to go to the bathroom for fear of someone seeing you and literally tearing the skin off you’re face with anxiety and fear, due to withdrawal was a near daily occurrence for me in my last few years of active addiction. And all this at 27 years old.
It’s very hard to believe how much damage can be done in such a relatively short period of time (10 years drinking and using) due to the disease of addiction. I had virtually nothing left in my life. I lost my job, my house, all respect and dignity, my friends, my family, my relationships, my interests and most of all my peace of mind due to my addiction.
I take total responsibility and ownership of the fact that these things happened because of choices I made. At the end of the day nobody physically made me take that drink, snort that line or put that bet on. Things that are widely socially acceptable today, may I add and only a few years back it was just fun to me too.
But I never knew that eventually I was going to need these things just to actually feel like a normal human being. I just didn’t think it could happen to me.
It’s hard to comprehend for somebody who hasn’t been there but when you live on the edge of life for long enough like I did, eventually, that becomes the new normal.
Disease is a word that is commonly misinterpreted and frowned upon when associated with alcoholism, drug and gambling addictions (believe me I would have scoffed at the thought of it too one time) and there is still a huge stigma attached to it which needs to be changed, but if you break it down into 2 words, it starts to makes sense.
Alcohol, drugs and gambling had me at a Dis-ease with myself. Unless I took that drink, snorted that line, put on that bet, I couldn’t function.
On the 19th of December last year my family desperately brought me to the gates of Cuan Mhuire Athy and begged them to help me. I had lost all motivation to make the most of life at that stage and couldn’t beg myself.
The other option I had was to go to Merchants Quay in Dublin where I wouldn’t have lasted long in all honesty. Probably wouldn’t have been alive past Christmas such is the harsh reality of the life I was heading for.
The last few pictures are taken over the course of 2020 and paint a completely different picture thankfully. The last year I can safely say, has been the greatest year of my life. In the middle of a global pandemic I’ve managed to change more emotionally, physically and spiritually than all of my other years combined. And I couldn’t have done it without the help of Cuan Mhuire, family and friends, a lot of special people that believed in and saw the goodness in me when I couldnt see it in myself. Only for them I wouldn’t be posting this and I am eternally grateful 🙏
Now I feel the future is bright. I am currently still in Cuan Mhuire on a CE scheme, working as a facilitator with residents in the drug detox, preparing them for the rocky road to recovery that lies ahead. In the new year I will begin my studies in addiction counselling and strength and conditioning, two things that I am extremely passionate about and both play a huge part in my recovery today. Just over a year ago, even in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have believed this could happen.
Dont get me wrong though, recovery hasn’t been easy. The more I learn about this disease, the more I realise it has very little to do with just abstaining from alcohol, drugs and gambling and more to do with learning how to deal with more deeper rooted issues and building a life you dont need to escape from.
There is still a lot of harsh truths and realities you have to come to terms with and I still deal with anxiety, low self esteem, jealousy, self-pity etc from time to time, amongst a whole host of other things. But it is much better and easier deal with these things sober rather than in active addiction. It’s worth every inch of the struggle.
When I look back at the first few pictures now I don’t recognize that person anymore. A shell of a human being is all I was. But I know that I can always be that person again if I choose to pick up, use or bet again.
The difference is that I have a choice now. In addiction you lose the ability to have a choice. There is no other alternative in the mind of an addict.
I don’t want to glorify my accomplishments but to show people, especially with the rate of suicide, (3 that I have heard of in the past week) and relapse currently in Ireland, that there is way out of that deep dark hole of the depression that comes from struggling with substance abuse, alcoholism and compulsive gambling.
I’d urge people struggling to pick up the phone today, call a treatment centre, Pieta House, an AA, CA, NA or even GA member. Anybody I have met through recovery is more than willing to help people who need and want it because we have all been there before. We understand and I am more than willing to help anyone that I can too with my own experiences.
We all want to stop living the lives we were living in addiction, but the answer is never suicide. Reach out for help and have someone who has done it help you to do the same” – Keith Morris