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Sunday 29 May 2016

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Irish Olympic legend Eamonn Coghlan: tears flowed at hospital

Published 07/12/2013

Fan and friend: Eamonn Coghlan knows the real McDowell
Fan and friend: Eamonn Coghlan knows the real McDowell

Irish Olympic legend Eamonn Coghlan reacted as quickly as he once did to the starter's pistol. Asked if any specific moment or incident stood out from the 30 months he'd known Graeme McDowell, the former World champion answered in a flash.

"When G-Mac first came to Crumlin (Hospital) and went into the brand new intensive care unit, he was so touched emotionally by these children, who were hanging onto life by a thread, and what their families were dealing with, that the tears flowed," Coghlan recalls.

"That's when the real Graeme McDowell shone through. He said: 'wow, look what I've got and look what these people are dealing with. I absolutely want to help out here'."

The G-Mac Foundation, run for McDowell by his good friend and Horizon co-founder Colin Morrissey, has been working closely with Coghlan, head of the American arm of the 'Children's Medical Research Fund' for Crumlin Children's Hospital, since the two sports stars first met at The Players Championship in Sawgrass in 2011.

McDowell has played a hands-on role in helping Coghlan organise the annual 'Best of Ireland' Gala Dinner at New York Athletic Club, which in two years has raised $1m for the Intensive Care and Recovery Units at the Dublin hospital.

Next year's banquet takes place on January 30 with Paul McGinley, David Feherty, Robbie Keane and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan among the guests of honour. McDowell was especially attracted to Crumlin because it is the children's coronary care unit for the entire island of Ireland.

The G-Mac Foundation also brings, with sterling support from Aer Lingus, eight sick children and their families to Orlando each year for a lifetime trip to the Disney World Resort, a splendid effort for which McDowell hands much credit to Morrissey.

"A lot of organisation goes on behind the scenes and I get to take the credit for it," he says. "It's gratifying and puts things in perspective – that's not why I do it but it's just great."

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