09 Aug 2022

OPINION: Hurling is hurling, but life is life - Shane Dowling

OPINION:  Hurling is hurling, but life is life - Shane Dowling

THERE is no denying that the thoughts of a Limerick v Clare final has everybody frothing at the mouth.

It has never happened in the history of the GAA before, and a serious rivalry has built up this year. But - that is the first and last thing I will say about it, and I hope everybody in Limerick will be the same.

Whatever happens in the first of the semi finals, quite frankly, I don’t really care.

That is for Clare and Kilkenny to worry about. All I know is we are 75 minutes away from being in an All-Ireland final. And in front of us lies a team who rattled us in the 2020 All-Ireland semi final, and beat us in the league earlier in the year.

While there is no point beating around the bush and saying otherwise, Galway's performances to date will not see them beat Limerick. In saying that, they are one team who are well equipped to take them on physically and hurling wise, as we saw in the league.

On top of that, lets not forget that every team that’s plays Limerick will up their game massively, again like they did in the league.

Galway will also be aware the last time they graced the Croke Park field it was less then impressive, and they will also want to right that wrong. So, somewhat form goes out the window here, and next week I will look at match ups and game plans etc.
On Saturday morning when I woke up, myself and a buddy decided to head back to west Clare, enjoy a summer dip and get a bit of grub and watch the games.

Just before we took off, I came across the news of Tyrone hurler Damien Casey’s passing.

I spoke about this earlier in the year when Paul Shefflin passed away from a heart attack, and the hole in leaves in communities when such tragedies happen.

Its fine to jot down on a piece of paper or talk about, and that will be it then.
But we only realise how hard it actually is until it happens on our own doorstep. I think of Kildimo /Pallaskenry who have had such desperate sad tragedies in recent years, and most recently the community of Ballyneety and South Liberties gaa club.

I saw this week on twitter the vigil held in Eoghan Ruadh, Damian Casey's club.

It would bring a tear to your eye watching it, in fact many tears. We all love our GAA, we have good days and bad days, giving out about it and talking about it, but that all becomes irrelevant when these situations land in our communities or clubs.

I think as humans, we don’t ever bat an eyelid or take reflection on how lucky we really have it. But what is amazing, or from what I have seen from clubs across Ireland, is really how tight knit we are when these things happen.

Family and friends of Damien in this case, will need every bit of help they can get, not just today and tomorrow, but for a long time to come.

Because what they now find themselves in is a real sad tragedy that unfortunately will never leave the club. We all go away on holidays, we all have a bit of craic, but we all expect to come back to our beds that we left before going away. Sadly, that’s not the case for Damien. I guess the reason why I am highlighting this is for people of GAA clubs to realise how important it is to keep supporting people when needed, and for everyone to realise that it is so important to mind people on all occasions.

As grown ups, we never really speak about it. Prime example, if I am going away with the lads for 3 or 4 days or whomever for a few days holiday and a bit of a laugh, none of us are going to turn around and say, ‘lets look out for each now lads’.

Yes, it is an automatic given of course, but it is probably no harm to mention it also. None of us ever want to get that text on our phone or that phone call.

For the family and community of Eoghan Ruadh, what they have to go through over the days, weeks and months ahead is heart-breaking, as it unfortunately is for many other clubs across Ireland.

Hurling is hurling. But, life, is life! Rest in peace Damien.

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