Belfast Telegraph

GAA hero Joe Brolly's kidney donation to fellow coach fails as complications arise

By Caroline Crawford

A transplant operation which saw former GAA star Joe Brolly donate a kidney to a fellow coach has failed.

Mr Brolly (42) donated his kidney to PR executive Shane Finnegan (40) earlier this month at Guy's Hospital in London. However, it had to be removed last Friday as a result of complications.

The All Ireland winner had only known Mr Finnegan for over a year when he offered to donate his kidney to the father of three. They met while coaching an under-10s team at St Brigid's GAA club in Belfast.

Mr Finnegan, from Belfast, had been receiving dialysis three nights a week for the past six years, and has suffered from kidney problems for the past 20 years.

Mr Brolly, a popular sports pundit on RTE, revealed earlier this month how he approached Mr Finnegan when he heard he needed a live donor.

"I knew he was sick and I said: 'Look, I'll give you a kidney.'"

But complications arose within days of the operation. A statement from the Belfast Trust, which is caring for both men, confirmed that the kidney had to be removed on October 12.

"This is a rare and unfortunate occurrence after kidney transplantation, (most kidneys from a living donor work successfully for many years)," the statement said. "Whilst both families are naturally devastated, they are hugely encouraged by the massive wave of goodwill and support from the community and the resultant increased public awareness of the critical importance of organ donation."

Mr Brolly is recovering well and both he and Mr Finnegan hope to support the Belfast Trust's campaign for organ donation and will spearhead a drive to increase the number of donors "when fit and ready".

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