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A day of reflection in Westport

Sport

Ger Flanagan

EVERYTHING can change so quickly.
When Joe Lawless spoke to The Mayo News a few weeks ago for the interview elsewhere on this page, he said Westport United’s famous win over Usher Celtic in the FAI Junior Cup had left the whole group ‘riding a crest of a wave’.
But in the space of only seven days, Lawless and everyone in the club were rocked by the news that their friend and team-mate, Adam Mulchrone, had died suddenly.
“Everything was going so well,” Lawless told The Mayo News yesterday (Monday).
“We had a few good results, training was going really well, and the mood in the camp was good.
“But literally a couple of hours before kick-off against Carbury, we got the text saying things aren’t good and the game was off. And to go from that to hearing what happened, it was like we were riding a crest of a wave, but suddenly hit a brick wall.
“Football was now on the back burner and it was tough. Especially on the younger lads who grew up with Adam. When we were that age, us older lads experienced something similar and it takes a lot of time to get over something like that.”
But life must go on and Lawless and his team-mates know that.
Last Sunday’s Connacht Cup game against Carbury FC was all about ‘getting over the first hurdle’ since the tragedy. But it put everything into perspective for the Covies.
“There’s no easy or nice way to say it, but it was good to get the first game over and that’s the good thing with sport,” he said. “For that group of lads, they have to get back to playing football because at the end of the day, you’re playing because you enjoy it. So try and do it with a smile on your face.
“Sometimes it might not be as enjoyable because it becomes all about winning, sometimes you need to take a step back and say it’s nice to enjoy a game every now and then. This puts it into perspective.
“Adam used to come on and he would do his tricks and flicks and sometimes we’d be roaring at him. But at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about because you don’t know when could be your last game.”
Next Saturday the team travel to Thurles to face Peake Villa in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup and Lawless is hoping it will help the team get their edge back.
“I’m not making excuses because Carbury were a good side, but there was something missing on Sunday, we just didn’t have that bite,” he mused. “There will always be that void there with this group of players and Adam will always be remembered. But you just have to keep going and try to do as best as you can.
“It was nice to get back into the dressing room. It was a step on the road to recovery… and we’re looking forward to getting together for next Sunday. Hopefully there’ll be that extra bit of edge to us, I’m sure there will.”

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