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Pictured is former Mayo GAA and Ballina Stephenites footballer David Brady ahead of Episode Two of AIB’s The Toughest Summer, a documentary which tells the story of Summer 2020 which saw an unprecedented halt to Gaelic Games.
The series is made up of five webisodes as well as a full-length feature documentary to air on RTÉ One in late August. David Brady features in the second webisode that will be available on AIB’s YouTube channel from 1pm on Thursday July 30.
Pictured is former Mayo GAA and Ballina Stephenites footballer David Brady ahead of Episode Two of AIB’s The Toughest Summer, a documentary which tells the story of Summer 2020 which saw an unprecedented halt to Gaelic Games. The series is made up of five webisodes as well as a full-length feature documentary to air on RTÉ One in late August. David Brady features in the second webisode that will be available on AIB’s YouTube channel from 1pm on Thursday July 30.

Brady delighted to have offered some assistance during lockdown


By Cian O'Connell

When David Brady's phone pinged during lockdown, the proud Ballina Stephenites man didn't know what was about to unfold.

For the next couple of months the former Mayo midfielder kept himself busy, making calls to people cocooning.

GAA matters were the initial topic of conversation, but everything was discussed. Now reflecting back Brady is grateful for all the talk and tales encountered.

Brady's tweet highlighting his initiative gathered praise and respect for attempting to interact with people, especially those living alone.

"I suppose if I didn't have the reaction I had after the first phone call it would have culminated into nothing really," Brady admits.

"The reaction I got personally from the first phone call really resonated with me and from that I said, 'You know what this is definitely something bigger than just a phone call'.

"The positivity that I got from the end of the line from the recipient back to me was I have to say, very heartwarming."

That sense of goodwill and appreciation fuelled Brady's desire to try to assist the older generation in a simple, but thoughtful way.

"I was making phone calls to one person at a time but the amount of people that would come up to me or mention to me, say it to me, text me and say that's a fantastic thing to do," Brady adds.

"One gentleman I talked to and he talked about the ripple of positivity that actually spread throughout them phone calls. You drop one pebble in a pool and it ripples out and it affects others.

"I don't know would you call it kindness or what, but it did resonate and it did spread and I have to say it was one of the best things honestly that I've ever done.

David Brady enjoyed the conversations about sport and life during a demanding lockdown period.
David Brady enjoyed the conversations about sport and life during a demanding lockdown period.

"GAA was the conduit, but some of my conversations spread far wide beyond that. For me it didn't get me through lockdown, it carried me through lockdown, it was a lovely three or four months."

So how did this particular idea develop for Brady? "I hadn't a clue what I was going to do," Brady replies. 

"I work in the health sector from a pharmaceutical point of view. You'd always feel is there anything I can do and there's not. From the frontline I did consider going on the test and trace or volunteer for something like that. 

"It was just Easter Saturday I got a direct message on my phone. It was a son saying his father was cocooning down in Wicklow, not struggling but finding it kind of hard, look like we all were, it was the unknown, the isolation. 

"He asked me would I give him a phone call if I had time and to chat about GAA. He was originally from Mayo. 

"I always say strike while the iron is hot so I responded, his father's phone number was in the message and I just rang the number.

From there I had a conversation with Tom that was brilliant. It was brilliant. From that, I said if there was anyone that had Mayo roots, whether it was a mother or father that was cocooning, I'd give them a call."

Suddenly Brady was very busy, but discussing sport and life with so many dotted around the world provide a source of optimism.

"From that, sure it turned haywire altogether," Brady laughs.

"It was not just Mayo people, it was GAA people across the world, across the globe. From every province, most counties in the country. And again, it turned over to Manchester, London, Liverpool, New York, Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, you name it. I had conversations with people across the world in the context of 'How are you keeping? How's things? Would you be up to talk a bit of GAA?'

It is precisely what happened throughout a most worrying spell. Mayo football, though, continues to supply a drop of hope for everybody interested in the famous green and red county.

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