JJ Long, Chairman of the Mid Cork divisional board, who suffered a farming accident last April, shares a ward with the Charleville man.
Long, whose son Liam was part of the 2007 Cork Munster MFC winning side that also featured current county seniors Aidan Walsh, Ciaran Sheehan, Paul Honohan and Barry O’Driscoll, is a Kilmurry native with a lifelong involvement in the GAA.
Cork chairman Bob Ryan signalled out Long for best wishes during his inauguration speech at last December’s Cork GAA convention.
“JJ is a great GAA man,” says Fitzgerald. “We’d chat away about club and county matches. He’d understand how big it is for Charleville to be in an All-Ireland final. I downloaded the C103 local radio app on the phone and I’ve been glued to it for every game that Charleville played in the county and in Munster. I’d have JJ and the whole ward inside listening to the games at this stage. I think there was one game against the Manchester crowd that they didn’t have commentary on the radio. So I was on the phone to my dad for the whole thing, getting him to do a running commentary. I was heartbroken not being there, never mind not being able to hear it so I had to find another way. The GAA community is unbelievable in sticking together when something like this happens.”
* For more information on the golf classic being organised in aid of Dessie Fitzgerald see www.charleville.cork.gaa.ie or contact club officers Mike Walshe (0872909620), Tadgh O’Connell 0872691996 and Kieran Carey 0863155464.