Aidan O’Mahony rejigs the decor at kids’ leukaemia unit

Kerry football legend turned dance star Aidan O’Mahony waltzed into a Cork hospital with garda colleagues yesterday with a special presentation to boost the spirits of children undergoing cancer treatment.

The community garda, who was stationed in Cork’s Anglesea Street and Bridewell garda stations for several years before transferring to Tralee, was among several gardaí from the city, who, along with Assistant Commissioner for the Southern Region Anne-Marie McMahon, presented framed and signed sports jerseys to the Mercy University Hospital’s children’s leukaemia unit.

O’Mahony displayed some fancy footwork and excellent arm extension to almost nab a unique display spot for the Kerry jersey close to the ward entrance, but, after some light-hearted banter with nursing staff, a deal was struck to give the Cork jersey equal prominence.

Aidan O’Mahony and Valeria Milova dancing the American Smooth during the RTÉ’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

Detective Garda Ian Coughlan, who helped organise the presentation, said he and his colleagues wanted to recognise the work of the unit’s medical staff, and also brighten up the lives of its young patients.

“We just wanted to give something back to the staff and the patients who come in here,” said Det Gda Coughlan. “There is fantastic work done in here, and sometimes it goes unnoticed and we just wanted to give something back, to recognise what they do and, hopefully, brighten up the place.”

As well as the signed Cork and Kerry football jerseys, the gardaí also presented a Munster women’s rugby jersey, sponsored by Keane’s Jewellers and signed by the women’s interpro champions 2015/2016, a signed Cork City FC jersey, and an Ireland rugby jersey signed by Six Nations players.

Garda Patrick Harrington, from the garda dog unit, thanked the sports bodies.

“When they heard what the jerseys were for, we had great help and assistance,” he said. “It’s just a ‘thank you’ from the gardaí in Cork to the unit for the wonderful work they do.”

Mercy Hospital Foundation CEO Micheál Sheridan said they would make arrangements over the coming days to display the jerseys on the unit’s walls.

“The kids will get a real buzz out of it,” he said. “It’s almost like seeing their heroes, without actually meeting them.

“It’s great when kids get to see that their sporting heroes are thinking about them and wishing them well.”

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