Last night you were celebrated in the local GAA club.
You would have really enjoyed it.
€6000 was donated in your name to the Cork Leukemia Association.
That makes over €25,000 raised in your name so far.
All your football team were there. All except one.
Those boys are growing up before our eyes, even since November they have changed.
At fourteen you would expect that.
Sometimes I look at them and wonder at what stage would you be at. Despite the chemotherapy and transplant you had really begun to grow.
One of your team members spoke about you, finishing up by saying “sure how could we ever forget you Dan, you were unforgettable”
It was announced in the GAA, that there is a new Cork football league under 12 named after you.
It is somewhat fitting for you to be associated with under twelves, as that is the last year you played football. And what a fantastic year you had.
Your uncle told a story last night about you. He said there were many he couldn’t tell, such was your character, but he shared one with us all.
It was during your last year playing football. You traveled to play in Croke Park.
To anyone who does not know Croke Park, it is the mecca of GAA. That day you had a fantastic game, scoring two goals and a couple of points. You were thrilled.
As you made your way into the dressing room, followed as always by a posse of your friends,
your uncle held the door open for you and your team. It was the mannerly thing to do.
As you breezed through you smiled mischievously, looked at your group and said,
“Do you see that boys, that’s the treatment you get when you score two goals and a couple of points in Croke Park”.
Your family were delighted to see you remembered and honoured last night. A great crowd came to support you and them. There was also a second announcement. Our attention was drawn to the club house wall.
We hadn’t noticed before but a blind had been put up. As they pulled up the blind we were met by a large photograph of a smiling Dan.
The photo was taken the day you were in Croke Park. You are beaming.
As we shed a couple of tears we also had room for a smile. Because you were exactly where you would have wanted to be. Centre stage in the clubhouse. Privvy to match results, postmortems, gossip and craic.
By putting up your photo your club are making sure you will never be forgotten.
Your family need no such reminder, they carry you in their hearts every day.
Best wishes Dan. May you continue to shine on.