"I have nothing but admiration for him" - Madden hailed for his courage and mental strength
On Friday, Dublin and Ballyboden St Enda's hurler James Madden laid his father Noel to rest.
On Saturday, the right half back played a stormer in the Dublin hurling team's most powerful performance in years. It's a testament to the 25-year-old's mental strength and his determination that he didn't just play the game but played well and as he did so, there's no doubt that his late father was smiling down.
Colm Parkinson and Brian Carroll played tribute to Madden's courage and his character on Monday's GAA Hour Show.
"He was outstanding in the game. It was incredible mental strength for him to be able to play in Croke Park the day after burying his father," says Parkinson.
"You always hear of these players and I have nothing but admiration for them, how they can do it. I'm not sure I would have been able to do it and while it's what his father would have wanted, that doesn't make it any easier.
"The week he would have had there, and to be able to go out and perform, mentally and physically - like I said, he's a tougher man than me because I don't think I'd be able to do it."
"It shows you the type of person, man and player he is."
As his son starred for Dublin in their Leinster semi-final victory Galway, James Madden's late dad Noel will have been smiling down.
A top class tribute from Mattie Kenny 👏pic.twitter.com/4iciRfm34W
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 4, 2021
Carroll, who lost his own father when he was three years of age, says Madden's family's support would have encouraged him to go out and play.
"You'd be emotionally drained. Inter-county hurling can be emotional in its own way, there's a lot of pressure on as well just to add on top of everything. Mattie Kenny spoke so well about how supportive James' dad was of him, and how he would have wanted him to play. Obviously James was very determined and I'm sure his mother and his sister were very supportive of him from that perspective.
"Not that it makes it any easier, but when you're getting their support and they're willing you on...Sometimes, life just has a funny way of working out. You'd just be so glad for him on a personal level, that he did win, that he did play well."
As we watch on from our seats, there's no point in denying that, at times, we're in danger of taking players and their performances for granted but it's after hearing about players like James Madden when it all hits home. It can't have been easy for him to line out on Saturday but the commitment, the determination and the power of it all would have you standing back in admiration.