GAA Football

GAA stars' Change of Heart for Magheracloone's Milly

 Tyrone legend Peter Canavan supporting the 'Change of Heart' fundraising campaign by wearing an Armagh jersey

SWAPPING jerseys may be a sporting tradition – but donning those of your greatest rivals has led to an astonishing fundraising effort.

The Magheracloone Mitchel’s club in Monaghan organised ‘Milly’s Mini Marathon’ yesterday to raise funds for Heart Children Ireland’s Blue Ribbon fund, on behalf of one of their greatest supporters, little Milly Byrne, who requires a heart transplant.

As part of raising awareness (and money), ‘Change of Heart’ nominations were issued on social media, leading to the likes of Tyrone legend Peter Canavan wearing an Armagh jersey and Orchard County hero Diarmaid Marsden briefly bearing the Red Hand, after claiming that he couldn’t find a Crossmaglen jersey…

Kerry great Kieran Donaghy also put on a Tyrone jersey, the one he’d swapped with Joe McMahon after the 2008 All-Ireland Final (although he’s half a Tyrone man anyway). McMahon himself, an Omagh clubman, put on a Killyclogher shirt, on the direction of former county colleague Ryan McMenamin, who’d deigned to wear a Trillick top…

And so it goes on – and on to almost E120,000 raised at the time of writing yesterday afternoon, all in a great cause.

Milly is currently in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, prompting Magheracloone members to plan a sponsored solo run yesterday of 475km, the distance from her home to the hospital.

Milly suffered heart failure on March 5 and was transferred from Drogheda Hospital to Crumlin Children’s Hospital within a matter of hours. On St Patrick’s Day she was taken to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, underwent further tests and was diagnosed with a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Milly is now waiting on a heart transplant and will have to stay in the UK until she gets one.

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GAA Football