Cahir Healy's incredible feat of stamina and skill for great causes
Laois dual-star Cahir Healy pulled off an incredible feat of sporting endurance yesterday to raise thousands of euros for three great causes, 'Do it for Dan', the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise PPE appeal, and the NHS.
Over the course of roughly nine hours in a local park where he lives in London, the Portlaoise man scored 1,000 hurling points, 1,000 football points, and ran a marathon.
The hurling points were shot from the 45 yard line with the football points from the '21 yard line, and Healy was impressively accurate from both, needing 2102 shots to complete his target.
It’s hard to imagine just how physically exhausting that must have been on what was a warm summer’s day in the English capital, but Healy is clearly made of stern stuff.
“I got through it better than I thought I would, to be honest,” he told GAA.ie today. “I did a four to six hour trial-run the week before and I struggled badly.
“I changed things around yesterday to be able to do it a bit better. The previous week I had left all the running to the end but it was better when I mixed it up yesterday.
“I actually just feel a bit hungover today, I'm just so tired, I actually couldn't sleep last night. My groins are probably the most sore from kicking a thousand points, but I'm just tired more than anything."
Last hurl! Last kick! pic.twitter.com/yGX8BGEOen— Cahir Healy (@CahirH) May 17, 2020
Healy’s achievement is all the more remarkable considering he has twice ruptured cruciate knee ligaments in the last two years and only nine weeks ago underwent further knee surgery.
“That one was only a cartilage operation so it wasn't a cruciate surgery or anything like that,” he says.
“The only time it really hurt me yesterday was when Kieran Lillis got in touch via the live video stream and said something like 'Where's the outside of the boot shot?'
“The lad who was doing the video was feeding me the comments so when heard that one I swung the left leg to kick it with the outside of the boot and I thought the bottom of my leg was going to fall off!
“Whatever way you extend when you kick that sort of a way, it pulled at the knee. Other than that, it was fine.”
A picture of him holding a stein of beer after he’d completed the challenge got the hundreds of likes on Twitter it deserved, but by then even drinking it was a challenge.
“I was nearly too tired to hold the beer, but once I got through half of it I started feeling a bit better!
“It was a good buzz to finish it, but there was a little bit of an anti-climax too because it's more relief than anything, you're just delighted it's over with.
“It's different when you finish a game and you win a game and there's a bit of roaring and shouting and jumping up and down. Whereas this was like, 'alright, thank God that's over, lets go home and have a beer'.”
Not surprisingly, Healy’s feat of sporting skill and stamina has sparked a flood of charitable donations to the three causes he’s supporting.
“It's unreal, I'm humbled by it,” says Healy. “I can't believe it, to be honest. I only picked £20,000 as a random figure. I was thinking if I got 2,000 donations for the 2,000 points and if the average donation was for a tenner that would make 20,000.
“It wasn't that I wanted to hit 20,000 money-wise, it has actually gone way past what I expected it to. It started out as 2,000 points for 2,000 pounds. It has surpassed my expectations unbelievably.”
£7,500 of what Healy raises will go to the DoitforDan fundraiser which is a cause especially close to his heart.
Dan Donoher is the one-year-old son of his friend and former Laois team-mate, Niall Donoher, who needs expensive specialist treatment in the USA for a rare muscular disease.
Thanks to the considerable efforts of so many people around the country, the $2.1M required for that treatment has already been raised ahead of schedule.
“I never played one a Laois football team from U-14 to senior that Niall wouldn't have been on as well,” says Healy.
“There would be that closeness there and a feeling of loyalty, I suppose, from my perspective.
“What I've learned out of it is that when every person do a little bit that makes something huge. As opposed to generally the way things seem to get done is you might have five people doing great work, pulling the whole cart along, pulling the whole train.
“Whereas this time every single passenger on the train did a little bit and it moved an awful lot further. Every single person contributed their own small little bit and they smashed through the target they needed to hit in terms of fund-raising.”
Healy is keen to pay tribute to all the people who have helped him with his own fundraising efforts.
“Sean Dempsey who has been doing a lot of work with the DoItForDan fund-raising committee was a great help for me getting it all set up and running and who to speak to and who to talk to get word out about it. He was a great sounding-board for me.
“There are so many people who have helped. My club Portlaoise shared it a good bit and Laois GAA were putting up the videos and St. Brendan's Gaelic Football Club here in London gave me savage support as well, there were loads of fellas down helping me yesterday doing a lot of videos.
“I got an awful lot of support. Work colleagues came down and I was kind of blown away really by all the help and support I got.”