'We were immensely proud of her': Bohan shares moving story of Dublin mascot

'We were immensely proud of her': Bohan shares moving story of Dublin mascot
Dublin manager Mick Bohan introduces Niamh McMorrow to the Dublin team. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

- with reporting by Steve Neville

Dublin's All-Ireland winning manager Mick Bohan shared a moving story following his side's victory over Galway.

Dublin won their third consecutive title on Sunday in front of a record attendance but there was one person in particular in Bohan's thoughts.

In a post-match interview, Bohan shared the story of Niamh McMorrow - who overcame huge odds to be the champion's mascot.

"I don't know if you were familiar with her story but her father... she had an accident," started Bohan.

"Nine or 10 months ago she had an epileptic fit and fell down the stairs in her grandmother's house. She severed her spine.

Bohan continued: "I think I had done a football course in Trim or something like that, and her Dad made contact with us.

"At that time, it was quite bleak. Obviously she had to go through surgery and the chances of regaining the power of your legs is very slim.

"Her Dad, in fairness to him, set a goal quite quickly after she had surgery. If we were to get to an All-Ireland final that she'd lead us out.

"Even at that time, our medical staff and the girls who are involved in medicine themselves [Noelle Healy, a doctor, and Lucy Collins, a physiotherapist] would have said that it possibly was an unrealistic goal.

"She walked out with the match ball today."

Bohan added: "Gaelic games is her sport, was her sport, and we would have felt her achievement today was bigger than ours.

"The fact that people call on you for that type of stuff is just, I think, remarkable.

We were immensely proud of her and it did mean an awful lot to our group, for anyone that might have seen what happened outside.

Bohan also praised the "exposure to female sports" for creating a crop of new role-models for young people.

"I grew up with Jimmy Keaveny, Brian Mullins as our heroes. Realistically, a lot of girls have grown up with Johnny Sexton, Brian O'Driscoll, Paul Flynn as their heroes.

"Now, look what has happened. That's why that exposure to female sports - and we didn't come in banging a drum for this by any means - the bottom line is the knock-on effect of key role models like you have here is so important.

"I don't know how many hours in the gym that young kid had to do to try and mobilise again, to put her weight on her feet, but she needed help.

"Someone to aspire to, somebody who just would give her a bit of direction.

"The girls would have texted her and called into her, quite a number of the girls in the squad called in over that period of time, and kept in touch."

To see those things... as we all know, there's more to sport than just sport.

"That's one of the things that comes out of days like today.

"You win a medal or a trophy or whatever else, but there's so much more to life than that.

"If we can keep recreating that situation for everyone: good role models to aspire to, I think that's a massive success.

"But you don't see it unless the likes of Lidl or TG4 or you guys put it out there, you just don't see it."

The Dublin ladies team will join their male counterparts in a homecoming celebration in two weeks.

It was confirmed today that the victories of the two sides will be celebrated at a "special, free family-friendly homecoming" on September 29.

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