‘Mam is the positive one… and that’s what keeps us all going’

Five friends embark on ’32 32 32 Challenge’ to help battle MND

Brian Kelly, Eoghan Diffley, Emmet Burke, Ciaran McManus and Conor Murphy have embarked on an ambitious fundraising challenge. Their ‘goal’ is to kick points in all 32 counties of Ireland, visiting a different club pitch in each county.

A group of five friends aged 22/23 – Brian Kelly, Eoghan Diffley, Emmet Burke, Ciaran McManus, and Conor Murphy – have embarked on an ambitious challenge. Their goal is to kick points in all 32 counties of Ireland, visiting a different club pitch in each county. They’ve called it the ‘32, 32, 32 Challenge’.

The group, including four members from the St Barry’s GAA Club (Eoghan, Emmet, Ciaran, and Conor), along with Brian Kelly from the Newtowncashel club in Longford, have decided to take on a challenge to support Conor’s mother, Nicola. Nicola has recently received a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease, and the five young men are determined to raise funds for this cause.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord which means messages gradually stop reaching the muscles. MND can affect how you walk, talk, eat and breathe. Motor Neurone Disease is a progressive disease for which there is no remission.

While MND can present in various ways, Nicola is currently experiencing weakness in both her arms and legs to the extent that she has no function in some of her limbs and evolving weakness in the remaining areas.

The team of five got together in the middle of January to organise the fundraiser as their way of helping out and to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

The fundraiser will take place on the weekend from Friday, the 10th of May, to Sunday, the 12th of May, over 32 hours of daylight. A GoFundMe page has been set up and a percentage of all funds raised will go to a charity of Nicola’s choice. A launch night will be held in the Shannon Bar Tarmonbarry on Saturday, the 30th of March, at 8 pm.

“We have successfully gathered one club from each of the counties, including our own clubs, St Barry’s GAA and Newtowncashel GAA”, said Conor. “The overwhelming support we have received from clubs nationwide, as well as from local businesses and individuals, has been truly remarkable over the past few months.

“Special thanks to fellow club people Noel Rogers, and Club Chairperson Chris Burke together with County Chairperson of Roscommon GAA Brian Carroll who have supported us during the organisation of the fundraiser.

“Finally, I would like to thank Stephen Coy and our main sponsors for the fundraiser, CICO. Their generous sponsorship has provided us with sporting gear for the event”.

Conor continued: “From my own perspective, Motor Neurone is a horrible disease, but it’s only a disease you realise the implications of when it’s on your own doorstep. Mam is the positive one in our house and that’s what keeps us all going from day to day; her unyielding love and support for her family amazes me every day and now I want to do something for her.

“The lads and I want to do our bit to give back to Mam and I can’t thank them enough for their support during this time”, he concluded.

To support, find the 32 32 32 Challenge on GoFundMe.