The tweet of pure grace that sums up the man that Rob Hennelly is 6 years ago

The tweet of pure grace that sums up the man that Rob Hennelly is

*With more than 86,000 page views, this was our 9th most popular story of 2016



None of us would be where we are in this world without a little grace.

No success story is without one moment of it. No-one has gotten to the top without someone, somewhere helping them along the way.

Yes, we're all masters of our own destiny but we all also need a door to open somewhere, or someone to hold it open for us. We all need someone to give us a leg up or put an arm around the shoulder and show us the way every now and again.

We all need a bit of grace.


Back in April, a Cork under-21 goalkeeper needed it. Anthony Casey made a mistake - a f**king mistake in a game of football - and he needed someone he looked up to to tell him that it would be alright.

When that fellow 'keeper was down, when that young man was down, guess who was there for him.


Rob Hennelly.

A fine 'keeper.

A big future.

Today won't define his career.


Today won't define him.

Listen to those words, Rob. They were true in April. They're true today.

Rob Hennelly is a 26-year-old. He's a Mayo man to the core. He's played in two All-Ireland finals already and he'll play in more.


On Saturday, he made a mistake. He was thrown in at the deep-end having sat cold since June and it backfired on the management and it backfired on the poor goalkeeper who made a few human errors and now has to live up to the regret that they probably cost his county an All-Ireland.

One of the proudest moments of my own coaching career is being able to look youngsters in the eye before a championship final and instruct them to go out and make a mistake. It'll be alright. Play with freedom. Play the full 60 minutes, a second won't cost you.

It goes without saying that the 'keeper could've put the ear muffs on for that talk. Those kind of words of encouragement don't really apply for your number ones. Mistakes in the last line of defence tell on the scoreboard unfortunately and there's not much you can really say or do to change that.

There's not much you can really say or do now that will cheer Rob Hennelly up.

Maybe though, slowly but surely, he'll start to get over as the fresh mornings of Spring beckon.

Maybe someone along the way will show him a little grace over the winter and over the next stage of his career. Maybe someone will act as the role model to Rob Hennelly that Rob Hennelly has been to the rest of Gaels.

Saturday was tough but it won't define this goalkeeper's career. It won't define him as a man.

*First published on October 2