It’s something that veteran Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony has yet to figure out — how his eye fell on a young fan in the crowd just minutes after his team’s victory in the recent All-Ireland final.
In the throng of jubilant supporters milling around Croke Park, O’Mahony spotted Diarmaid de Bhillis at the fence in front of the Cusack Stand, instinctively went over to them, untied his boots, and handed them to the 11-year-old, whom he had not known prior to that.
“I’ve two lasting memories from the game — the final whistle and the smile on the lad’s face after giving him the boots,’’ said the Tralee-based garda.
“I’ll never forget that smile. I had my day and it was such a delight for me to make someone else’s day.’’
The barefoot defender then rejoined his celebrating team-mates.
With the Sam Maguire cup in tow, O’Mahony yesterday visited the Home from Home after-school service for children with special needs in Killarney, which Diarmaid attends.
The blue and red boots, which the five-times All-Ireland winner wore in all his matches this year will be raffled to raise funds for Home for Home which relies largely on voluntary fundraising.
The service helps families and children to cope through respite, giving parents and siblings a break from looking after a child with special needs. It caters for the 4-18 age group and facilitates 18 families in Kerry.
Meanwhile, despite ongoing speculation that he may retire, O’Mahony, who had a highly successful year in the green and gold, insists he has not yet decided.
“There’s a long winter ahead and I’ll have to talk to [team manager] Eamon Fitzmaurice. Between us, we’ll do what’s best for Kerry football,’’ he said.
The 34-year-old also has some injuries to treat and must undergo three operations to his nose, fingers, and ankle.
“I’m hoping to get all the operations done together and would be out of football for about six weeks while that’s going on,” said O’Mahony.
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