Reception for Keith Higgins and Hurling for Hope crew in Ballyhaunis will make you proud to be part of the GAA 3 months ago

Reception for Keith Higgins and Hurling for Hope crew in Ballyhaunis will make you proud to be part of the GAA

The Hurling for Hope convoy is in full swing. It won't be too long before they land in Roscommon town.

'Hurling for Hope' is a fundraising event that, having started in Castlebar on Wednesday, concludes in Roscommon town today. In between, a group of friends, players mentors and teammates from Ballyhaunis GAA have been walking the 100km journey in support of two local charities. Those charities are the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Mayo-Roscommon Hospice Foundation.

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Their inspiration is Pierce Higgins.

Pierce Higgins is a former Ballyhaunis hurler, a winner of 14 county titles and a man who, over a 14 year career, represented his county with distinction. He is the older brother of Keith Higgins and it was in late 2017 when Pierce was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

As happens with MND, Pierce's muscles have been slowly broken down by the condition but his mind has not. As he said in a tremendous interview with Christy O'Connor earlier this year, 'you have to have some bit of hope.

“It is what it is,” he said. “I don’t see the point in being down and out about this because I’d only drive myself mad. I just look forward to the simple things. Watching a match on TV. A few beers.

“I don’t look too far down the line. I can only deal with today and see what tomorrow brings. Look, who knows. You have to have some bit of hope. Keep my eyes open. I can’t do any more.”

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You can be guaranteed he'll be a proud man today. As he must have been yesterday, when he saw his friends and team-mates receive a powerful reception in his home village of Ballyhaunis.

That's the GAA at its best.

You can donate to the two brilliant causes here.