BUNCRANA Pier Tragedy hero Davitt Walsh has spoken about how football has helped him come to terms with that fateful Sunday evening in March.
Walsh risked his own life by saving baby, Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty from drowning after her two brothers, father, aunt and grandmother all lost their lives in the devastating pier tragedy.
The Kerrykeel man admits that his life changed that evening, and as he says playing for Fanad United is important as he tries to get back to leading a normal life.
“It’s been very difficult and it’s a very traumatic life experience. My life will probably never be the same again.
“But you just have to get on with it and football has been massive for me.
“I’m back with my local club, and with my teammates and friends, and it’s a massive release for me.
“Those couple of hours at training on a Tuesday and Thursday, and a game on Sunday is brilliant for me.
“It just helps clear my head and to be honest, I don’t what I would do without it.”
Walsh is well known in soccer circles in Donegal and has previously played for Finn Harps, Bohemians, Shelbourne, Ballymena United, Lisburn Distillery, and Institute.
He is now back playing for Fanad United and will this week link up with the Ulster Senior League representative team for the Michael Ward Interprovincial Trophy in Cork.
Walsh admits that it’s a tough place to go, but he thinks they can be successful down south.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s probably the worst draw we could have got.
“It changes every four years, but for us in Donegal, it’s a huge trip and a huge commitment.
“But we have a very good squad of players and we’re looking to give it our best shot and try and bring back the trophy.”
Walsh has just opened a new cafe in Letterkenny – Café Davitt – and he is celebrating a month in business this week.
Despite this new venture, the 30-year-old is still very much committed to his football career, and he could have a big part to play for the USL this week.
He knows the management team well and feels they will be well organised for the tournament.
“Peter (Moran) is very professional and he has always promoted playing football.
“I played for Peter for Derry City Reserves many moons ago and I learned an awful lot from him.
“Peter won’t be leaving any stone unturned when it comes to preparation. He’ll know about the other teams and it’s going to be tough obviously, but he’s a good man at the helm, and he has Anthony (Gorman) and Gavin (Cullen) there as well.”
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