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Kevin McGeeney - a life less ordinary

GAA
Kevin McGeeney - a life less ordinary

By John Harrington

A chat with Roscommon referee Kevin McGeeney about his life has a way of making your own seem a little bit bland.

Hes won an All-Ireland medal, survived a kidnapping in South Africa, beaten cancer, and is now happily married after previously being a priest for 15 years.

Where do you start with all of that? Hurling is probably as good a thread as any to pick up first because its woven a way through his life from a young age right up to the present day.

Now a member of the GAAs National Hurling Referees panel, McGeeney took charge of this years All-Ireland Minor B Final between Meath and Down.

But before he took up the whistle, the Fuerty-man was a handy hurler himself with Athleague and Roscommon.

I hurled for Roscommon for three or four years, McGeeney told GAA.ie.

We won an All-Ireland 'B in 1994, which was great. That was when an All-Ireland 'B' meant something. I don't think it even exists anymore.

Then I went to South Africa, and there wasn't much hurling over there

McGeeney was 27 when his vocation as a priest brought him all the way to Johannesburgh where he would spend 10 years.

My house was robbed and I was kidnapped and put in a car

His time there was bookended by tragedy when his good friend Father Declan Collins was murdered by house-burglars.

Three days before that, McGeeney had a close escape himself when his house was also broken into and he was taken hostage before being eventually released.

My house was robbed and I was kidnapped and put in a car, says McGeeney. They let me out a couple of miles away from the house. They were looking for credit cards and thought I had them on me.

They let me out and didn't do anything to me thankfully. I'll be honest with you, at the time it happened I didn't think much of my own incident. I just thought, 'God, I was lucky to get away with that'.

It only hit me then when Declan died that I actually could have been in his situation. Then it really hit me.

I came back with Declan's body and family for his funeral. It was very sad, it took me a few months to get over it. I had a bit of counselling and all of that.

Kevin McGeeney and his fellow match officials pictured before the 2016 All-Ireland U-21 'C' Hurling Final between Donegal and Fermanagh.Kevin McGeeney and his fellow match officials pictured before the 2016 All-Ireland U-21 'C' Hurling Final between Donegal and Fermanagh.

On his return to Ireland, McGeeney worked in a parish in Athlone for four years before he decided to review his life and sought dispensation from Rome to leave the priesthood.

Not surprisingly, it was a decision that he wrestled with for some time.

It was, says McGeeney. From when I formally left the ministry in 2005 until I received the dispensation in early 2010, all that time was spent reflecting and wondering.

I did go on spiritual direction courses where you get people who can advise you on these things. I didn't just make a decision overnight. I sought spiritual advice and counselling so that I could make a proper decision, a holistic decision really on it.

I suppose at the end of the day I'd be still in ministry if celibacy wasn't mandatory for catholic priests. I just felt the need in myself to share the journey of life with another person. I felt that was important.

I was lucky enough to meet my wife Teresa and we're very happy together now and are seven years married. Once you're positive about things, they work out.

Obviously, it was traumatic at the time for family and friends, it was a big decision, but people come around. I'm very thankful to my family for all the support they gave me down through the years.

Without them, nothing is possible. Your family are central to the whole thing, your family and friends.

And, to be fair, that's one element why I am passionate about the GAA, is because it has helped me to find support in those times as well, the GAA family gave me that support.

So I'd be very thankful of the GAA community for all it has done for me down through the years.

While I got great enjoyment out of it, I'd like to think I'm giving it back some service as well in terms of the refereeing.

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GAA

Joe McDonagh Cup: Laois outlast Offaly in thriller

GAA
JOE MCDONAGH CUP LAOIS 4-22 OFFALY 3-21By Kevin Egan at Bord na Mna OConnor Park Laois struck a major blow in the race to win the 2019 Joe McDonagh cup this evening as they outlasted Offaly in a breathtaking midlands derby at Bord na Mna OConnor Park, eventually making their
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Bord Gais Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final – Cork 3-26 Wexford 0-13

GAA
Cork defeated Wexford by 3-26 to 0-13 in the Bord Gais Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final on Saturday August 4th at Nowlan Park Kilkenny.Match Highlights All over here in Nowlan Park in the All-Ireland U21 Hurling Championship Semi-Final. Here are your full-time highlights.OfficialCorkGAA 3-26 OfficialWexGAA 0-13 pic.twitter.com/g4KnKhVFWI
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Column: Tommy Walsh on hurling

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GAA
By Tommy Walsh Over the course of my intercounty career, the same sort of remark was made to me in many different ways.It's some commitment. You make some sacrifices. You miss out on so much. You never get to go on a summer holiday. You can go nowhere.And always followed
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Connacht FBD League round-up

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GAA
Connacht FBD League Galway 0-13 Sligo 0-10Leitrim 5-20 GMIT 2-10NUIG 1-21 Mayo 2-16Roscommon 6-21 Sligo IT 0-14Holders Galway finished strongly to defeat Sligo at Enniscrone. Eddie Hoare and Barry McHugh rifled over important late points for Kevin Walsh's side, who were 0-6 to 0-4 behind at half-time.Johnny Duane, Fiontan O'Curraoin,
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Peter Casey expecting a 'helter-skelter' Munster U-21 Final

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GAA
By John Harrington This evenings Bord Gis Energy Munster U-21 Hurling is a shot at redemption for many of the Limerick players preparing to do battle with Cork.A large chunk of the team were also part of the senior panel that made an early exit from the All-Ireland Championship after
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Job Posting – Gaelic Games Development Officer

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GAA
Cumann Luth-Chleas Gael Comhairle na Mumhan / Aireana na hOllscoile Gaelic Games Development Officer Applications are invited for the position of Gaelic Games Development Officer at UL Sport University of Limerick.The successful candidate will be responsible for the organisation, co-ordination and development of specific programmes with regard
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GAA

2007 AISHC Quarter Final: Waterford v Cork

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Pupils of Scoil/Coláiste Eoin vist St. Jude's GAA Club for GAA National Inclusive Fitness Day.

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