• Home
  • /
  • GAA
  • /
  • Roscommon's Enda Smith Opens Up About Brother's Illness

Roscommon's Enda Smith Opens Up About Brother's Illness

Roscommon's Enda Smith Opens Up About Brother's Illness
By PJ Browne
Share this article

"Really, I suppose, why I play is 90 per cent of it is for him," Enda Smith said as he choked up in front of his Roscommon teammates earlier this summer.

The Roscommon panel had been tasked to tell their teammates why they play football. Smith chose to speak about his brother Cian who had been diagnosed with throat cancer ten years ago.

The scene is captured in Episode One of AIB's mini-documentary 'Behind The Gates' which takes a look at Roscommon's 2017 Championship campaign.

Speaking on Newstalk's Off The Ball on Thursday night, Smith said that members of the panel would have known about his brother's illness but it wasn't something which would have been discussed. Standing in front of the room, he knew he had to reveal something about himself that his teammates didn't know.

I did think it did hit a chord with lads. There were a lot of lads kind of in the same or similar situation, teary-eyed, and it did hit hard with lads and Kevin said it after that, 'That's real stuff, lads, that's going to be great to draw on now in two weeks time.'

A year before he was diagnosed with cancer, Cian Smith was part of the Roscommon team which won the All-Ireland minor title. If the illness had not entered his life, there's every chance Cian would be on the Rossie senior panel along with Enda and another brother Donie.


After Roscommon won this year's Connacht final, Enda met Cian on the Salthill pitch. It was a proud moment for his brother.


"The clip in episode three shows us embracing, that was a nice moment. You never think that you'll see your family after being engulfed by people on the pitch. I met him anyway, it was nice - he was probably the one person you wanted to see."

Enda was just 13 when Cian was diagnosed with cancer. He said it was years later before he realised how lucky he was to still have his brother in his life.

Throat cancer, it's not really something you associate with a young 19-year-old. It's more the 50 or 60-year-old who might have been smoking all their lives.

It was a bit of a shock at the time. At 13, you're in a bubble and you're thinking 'ah, he'll be alright, hopefully'. It's only when you get older that you realise he might not be here today. It happens so quick that you have no time to think about it.

We're lucky to still have him around and it's great to have them there.

Enda added that his brother is now in a good place and does a bit of coaching.


"Obviously, he doesn't play any sport. He'd be at all our club games and county games. He's a big football fan."

Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Watch: The Maniacally Bullish Roscommon Connacht Final Half-Time Attitude

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com