41-year-old Sligo woman grieving for her son says playing GAA helps her 'immensely'

A 41-year-old Sligo woman has spoken out about how playing gaelic football has helped her grieve the passing of her son two years ago, writes Ciara Phelan.

Etna Flanagan lost her three and half year old son Rioghnán in January 2015.

Rioghnán had a heart condition and was awaiting a heart transplant.

 Pic: @JeromeQuinn
Pic: @JeromeQuinn

Speaking to GAA video journalist Jerome Quinn, Etna explained how playing football has helped her deal with his death.

"I went back to club shortly after he died but it was tough, I didn't go back to county (football), I found it too hard," she said.

"Your whole heart and soul has to be in county football and mine wasn't.

"Football has helped me through it all, it just gives you a reason to get out, just to black out everything out of your head just for an hour.

"Football helped me immensely through it all and still does every day."

Etna is the oldest player to be competing in the TG4 All-Ireland Championship.

The corner back and her team are one step away from Croke Park after their quarter-final victory over Roscommon at the weekend.

Despite being the oldest player, Etna said she would continue to play football as long as her legs carried her.

Before the game, the team were spotted wearing pink tshirts and Etna explained they were to encourage people to become organ donors.

"We have these tshirts to create awareness for organ donation."

"If everyone could have a donor card, I don't think people are aware of how important it is."

She explained how easy it was to become a donor by downloading an app on a phone or to apply for a donor card online.

She also urged people to tell their families about becoming donors.

"Your organs are no good to you if you're dead, and someone else can make use of them."


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