Gaoth Dobhair 'Raw And Numb' After Death Of 'Talented Player' Mícheál Roarty

Gaoth Dobhair 'Raw And Numb' After Death Of 'Talented Player' Mícheál Roarty

The past fortnight has been one of sadness in north-west Donegal. The Gaeltacht community was hit with tragedy on January 27th when four young men from the area - John Harley and Shaun Harkin from Falcarragh, Daniel Scott from Gortahork and Mícheál Roarty from Dunlewey - died in a car crash. All four were in their early to mid-20s.

Mícheál Roarty was a member of the Gaoth Dobhair GAA club, who next weekend play in the All-Ireland Club Football Championship semi-final against reigning champions Corofin.

"I think none of our players were thinking about Corofin this time last week, it was all about shock and trying to process it," says Gaoth Dobhair veteran Kevin Cassidy, who was speaking at an AIB media event ahead of the semi-final.

"Since then we've kind of regrouped, we went back training the night after the funeral. It was good to be back with the boys and get back to something that feels normal to you.

"The last couple of days were something I've never ever experienced before in my life. The parish was just completely raw and numb. To get back to the sanctuary of the GAA pitch was good.

"Since then we've just rolled with it. Obviously, when it happened you don't really care about football, to be honest. But then in the back of your mind, you're thinking you've the biggest game of your life to play in a week or so time, so you have to get ready. That's really what we've been doing."

Cassidy knew all four who died in the crash.

"Mícheál Roarty was a teammate of ours," says the 38-year-old.

He trained with us that Saturday morning, so he would have been around our squad. A very talented player, a serious character. Everybody knew him. If there was ever a night out, he was always there.

You're still waiting to see him pop up or you're still waiting to see him come out of a changing room. It's tough for us but for the family it must be really, really tough. All we can do is try and do as much as we can to try and help with that.

While Mícheál will always be in their thoughts, Cassidy says the club cannot turn this All-Ireland campaign into a crusade in his memory.

"I think it's important to distance the two.

"Obviously Mícheál was a good friend but I don't think you can go and make a crusade out of something and try to say we're going to do this.

"All we can do is next Saturday in Carrick-on-Shannon is try and put on a performance that our supporters would be proud of, hopefully Mícheál 's family would be proud of. That's all we can really do."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

PJ Browne
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