herald

Saturday 14 December 2019

Today is about changing kids' focus - Jackies spread the joy

The Dublin Ladies team show off the Brendan Martin Cup to Alex Daly (6). Photo: Doug O'Connor
The Dublin Ladies team show off the Brendan Martin Cup to Alex Daly (6). Photo: Doug O'Connor

The Dublin ladies football champions may be celebrating three-in-a-row All- Ireland glory, but they made sure to share their victory joy with some very special youngsters.

Only a day after beating Galway in front of a record crowd of 56,114 at Croke Park, the Dublin team took the Brendan Martin Cup to the wards of Children's Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin.

Midfielder Lauren McGee, goalkeeper Ciara Trant and forward Lyndsey Davey were among those who made the day special for young patients.

Lovely

The visit was particularly special for player Rachel Ruddy, who will be returning to work at the hospital in a few days' time.

"I'm a physio here, so it's lovely to be able to come back to work and bring the cup back and show it to all the patients and my colleagues, it's lovely," she told the Herald.

"I'm here six years now, it's lovely working in Crumlin. It's a really special place."

Rachel said the win was the result of putting "the work in" and balancing work with training.

"You never really know what's going to happen. Galway are such a good team," she said.

"We knew if we put the work in we'd have a good chance, but you never know really what way it's going to go.

"I guess you're doing it all your life. Football has always been a part of what I do.

The team meet James Ryan (six months). Photo: Doug O'Connor
The team meet James Ryan (six months). Photo: Doug O'Connor

"I'm just used to putting work around football and football around work. You get used to it. I'll be back in during the week after the celebrations."

As the team made their way to each room, the eyes of excited parents and their children lit up.

Among them was six-year-old Alex Daly, who was admitted to CHI on Friday night after suffering an asthma attack.

His mother, Lisa Daly, said the ladies' and men's teams' visit to the hospital had been very exciting for Alex.

"The boys were here yesterday, so he got some great pictures with the cup. When he heard the girls were coming, he was delighted," she said.

"He had a bad asthma attack on Friday night, so this has been brilliant for him. We're hoping he can go home today."

Rachel Ruddy with little Lauren Knight and her dad. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Rachel Ruddy with little Lauren Knight and her dad. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Director of nursing Tracey Wall said: "It's very exciting. Yesterday, we had the men champions, and today we have the ladies. It's really important here, these visits.

"It's a tradition that's been happening for a number of years now.

"The children who are here, regardless of who they support, it's a fantastic opportunity for them when they're in hospital to see their GAA heroes.

"Some of these children are on very difficult journeys.

"They will recover, they will get better, but today is about seeing their heroes, changing the focus, changing the conversation and lifting their spirits.

Adore

"We're all about that here in Crumlin, and we're delighted to have the ladies' champions here today."

Speaking about Ruddy, Ms Wall said the football star is as committed to her football as she is to her job.

"She's a fantastic team member, she's completely committed to her profession, and completely committed to her football career as well," she said.

"She's an absolute lady, we adore her. We're delighted she's here today."

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