Belfast Telegraph

Cormac McAnalle's legacy eases family's pain

By Nick Bramhill

The parents of tragic GAA star Cormac McAnallen have spoken of the comfort they have drawn from saving the lives of other young people through the charity they set up in his name.

The former Tyrone All-Ireland winning captain was just 24 when he died suddenly in his bed in 2004 from the then little-known heart condition Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

In a TV documentary, to be screened on TG4 tonight, Cormac's parents Bridget and Brendan McAnallen open up about the devastation they felt at the time of Cormac's death.

But they also talk of their pride in the late GAA star's continuing legacy and, in particular, the "great lift" they've experienced from the many lives that have been saved through The Cormac Trust, the foundation they established in his memory.

In the programme, entitled 'Tocht na Mathar', Brendan said: "The day Cormac died we would have given anything to have had a defibrillator and someone trained to use it.

"But the charity has really taken off, particularly in the past couple of years. The training (in how to use a defibrillator) is happening everywhere - in supermarkets, churches, sports grounds. Anywhere where people gather.

"When someone's life is saved, there's nothing more positive and it gives us a huge lift to save a life in Cormac's memory," she added.

Tocht na Mathar is a four-part series, examining how mothers cope when their children die, and the strength shown in the face of huge personal tragedy.

The first episode, focusing on Cormac McAnallen, airs tonight at 9.30pm on TG4.

Belfast Telegraph

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