I don’t normally comment on stuff outside the realms of Waterford GAA, and was not going to say anything about the death of Michaela Harte. I didn’t know the woman or anyone belonging to her, and to have expressed sympathy to a complete stranger feels a bit trite. But then I read this testimonial from the website of UTV presenter Mike Nesbitt, and the sheer calibre of the Harte family and what has been lost was hammered home:
Lynda and I met Michaela Harte when her father brought her into the UTV studios some years ago when he was there for an interview. It is easy to say now that they were the perfect father-daughter combination, but you get a sense of these things, and I trust mine almost as much as I trust Lynda’s – and we both thought the same.
What a shock to hear that Michaela has gone. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hartes and the McAreaveys.
Mickey Harte did the most wonderful thing for me once. I asked if he would help a young man who was dying of cancer by letting him watch Tyrone train ahead of the 2003 All-Ireland Final. He did, and he ensured the team treated young David Gillespie as a superstar. But that is what decent people do. Mickey went the extra mile. He let it be known he did not want to read of David’s passing in the papers; he wanted a call. And I am afraid he got it the weekend after he took his Tyrone team to Croke Park.
Mickey visited David’s mum and dad during the wake. Anne could not believe it when she saw Mickey Harte in his match day suit at their front door – so imagine how she felt when Mickey stood back to reveal the entire Sam Maguire winning team were also there, in their match day suits, to pay their respects to a boy they had met for only half an hour.
It was an act of uncommon humanity in the midst of terrible grief for the Gillespies and unprecedented celebration for Tyrone GAA.
It is hard to take on board that a man who did so much for a mother and father who suffered the loss of a child now has to experience even more sudden and unexpected loss himself.
H/t to nrico2006 over at the GAA Discussion Board for the link. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.