Brave William, 13, plays his way into hearts of Limerick hurlers

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan

Limerick’s U-21 All-Ireland winning hurlers met William Crowe in September and now have signed a jersey for auction Picture: Brian Arthur

Limerick’s U-21 All-Ireland winning hurlers met William Crowe in September and now have signed a jersey for auction Picture: Brian Arthur

LIMERICK’S U-21 hurlers showed immense bravery and courage to win an All-Ireland but even they would concede it is nothing compared to what William Crowe displays everyday.

The 13-year-old from Castleconnell has a “life limiting condition”. The players met William when they visited University Hospital Limerick. He showed his love for the hurlers by giving them his pride and joy – his teddy – to put into the cup. 

When the hurlers heard the Crowe’s neighbours and friends were organising a fundraiser they all signed a jersey and it will be auctioned off in Herbert’s pub on Friday night, December 8.

Mum, Dolores said they were “honoured” when they were approached about the benefit night.

“We didn’t expect it at all,” said Dolores, who is originally from Kilteely. When William was nearly two he started having seizures. 

“He has a complex medical condition. He was never fully diagnosed - it was never pinpointed exactly. He has epilepsy, recurring chest infections and global development delay. He attends St Vincent’s in Lisnagry and is a full-time wheelchair user. He is fully dependent on family and carers for his 24/7 care needs.

"His condition is life limiting. He doesn’t have speech but he can give a beautiful smile,” said Dolores. 

When you see that impish grin matched with his gorgeous red hair, Dolores says, you know he is feeling well.

“The hurlers put the teddy into the cup. They gave him a great boost when they came to the hospital. His teddy and his bottle are his pride and joy. They are like gold dust to him. When he doesn’t want them you know he is sick. When he is back to himself he smiles and puts his hands up for his bottle and teddy,” said Dolores.

She and her husband Gerry have had a lot of extra financial costs this year. They gave up their bedroom to William years ago but this year €34,000 was spent on upgrading his room, bathroom and improving pathways.

“The council allowed us €25,000 so we borrowed the rest. Any monies raised from the fundraiser will go towards that,” said Dolores, whose grandfather Paddy Ryan, from Pallasgreen, is an Olympic gold medal winning hammer thrower.

From September to October, William was in hospital in UHL and Dublin which added hugely to their expenses.

“I stayed every day and Gerry spent every night with William,” said Dolores, who wished to thank everybody who has organised the benefit night and donated spot prizes for the monster raffle.

Tickets are just €5 and are available in Herbert’s on Friday, December 8 from 9.30pm, or from Catherine McCarthy, Joe Byrnes, Liam McNamara and Ann Coleman. Entertainment is from a group of local musicians under the name No Direction.