When times are bad, positive news stories tend to hit home with even greater impact. That’s certainly the case in this worrying and deeply surreal period where the news cycle is almost universally dominated by negative developments.
This means that the story about Cathal Freeman’s quixotic marathon-with-a-sliotar, which he completed successfully earlier this evening, is even more uplifting and welcome than it could possibly have been in normal times. Little wonder, then, that RTÉ picked up on it on their website and in this evening’s news bulletin, with Pat McGrath bringing word of Cathal’s achievement today to the whole country.
Most of Mayo knew about it already, with many tuning into the Mayo GAA TV live stream hosted on the Mayo GAA Facebook page. A succession of commentators, including Mike Finnerty, Billy Joe Padden, Lee Keegan and Liam Horan, as well as Kilkenny legend Tommy Walsh and Aghamore doyen Joe Byrne, kept step – at least vocally – with Cathal as, hurl in hand, he completed the 1,400 laps.
The way this story has spread like wildfire in the last 48 hours – the ‘right kind of viral’ as Liam Horan put it – has helped to push the amount collected from the event in fundraising to impressive heights. The initial €5,000 target was exceeded yesterday and the €10k bar was topped earlier today. The running total now stands at €42,656 (as of 8.30pm) and, at this rate, it could easily end up the other side of €50,000.
That’s a seriously impressive achievement, raising as it will much-needed funds for PPE equipment for HSE health workers as well as funds for the Irish Cancer Society.
Fair play to Cathal for what he’s achieved today. It might have been a touch wet and windy where he was running (which, by the way, was close to his student accommodation in Limerick not the back garden at home in Mayo) but the Tooreen and Mayo hurler certainly cast a bright ray of sunshine across the country with what he accomplished today. Huge congrats to him.
If you still haven’t donated, you can still do so at Cathal’s Go Fund Me page – here.