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Well done to all in world record 24-hour charity game

By Declan Bogue

You go to write a piece on a 24-hour Gaelic football match and the fascinating subject of how the human mind is capable of so much more than what the body tells you - and then Christy Toye, a man who made a mockery of injuries and illness in his 15-year career with Donegal, retires. The irony.

Anyway, back to Garvaghey and the weekend that saw two teams play a continuous game of football for 24 hours, even going on for another 20 minutes to break the previous record held by a Wexford club team, in the process raising funds for the Michaela Foundation - set up in honour of Tyrone boss Mickey Harte's daughter, who was murdered on honeymoon in 2011 - and Cancer Focus NI.

It's worth noting what went into the effort. In order to set a world record, Guinness, the curators of such events, were extremely stringent on the rules of engagement. Eight video cameras were dotted around the pitch recording everything, which all have to be reviewed.

Around half nine on Saturday night, a thick fog enveloped Garvaghey. Fears that the fog could obscure the cameras were allayed with the news that there was also an infra-red camera there. The show had to go on.

And so it did, with players being rotated constantly, those having a break getting a rub-down, a bite to eat and the option of jumping into a sleeping bag for 10 minutes before being plunged back into the fray for another four-hour shift.

According to witnesses, there was a shaky period in the dead of night when everyone had practically seized up, but the breaking of daylight brought a renewed sense that they were close. Along the sidelines, a dedicated group also rotated, recording every single score, who scored it and every substitution.

The project and ambition was a triumph of community, volunteering and mind over matter. Congratulations to all involved.

Belfast Telegraph


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