It's a huge and emotional night for Sligo gaelic football. The county's U20 footballers won the Conancht title tonight in dramatic circumstances in the shadow of Knocknarea, beating Mayo by a wild scoreline of 4-04 to 1-12.
Captain Jack Lavin was the hero in more ways the one. He scored the goal in the 58th minute that put Sligo ahead by a point.
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) April 20, 2022
Amid the celebrations after the final whistle, Lavin's mind turned to matters beyond the football pitch. The entire GAA world was rocked by the tragic passing of young Sligo star Red Óg Murphy last month.
When asked by Mike Finnerty for his thoughts immediately after winning the match, Lavin - sounding wise beyond his years - dedicated the victory to his former teammate, and his family.
To be honest, the last week or two, I've been thinking a lot about Red Óg Murphy. I played with him two years ago on this team. He was the last captain of this team before me. He was an idol, to be honest. Just what happened, it was so sad. For his family, as well. This is for them. This is for Red Óg.
— Rory O'Brien (@rory_sligo) April 20, 2022
Lavin also spoke eloquently about how Red Óg's death affected the entire team, and reconsider their priorities heading into the match.
"We tried to keep the heads down and focus on football. It wasn't easy. We met up at the funeral as a group. It really brought us together. It just proved that there's more to life than football, and we wanted to enjoy this today instead of being nervous," he said.
It's a massive result for Sligo who won last year's minor Connacht title, as well. Sligo football is clearly both in a good place, both on and off the pitch, with young men like Jack Lavin leading them. As he said in his post-match interview.
We are Sligo. We are proud to play for Sligo. Some people might laugh at us but we don't care.