The power to bring contentment to so many people is a gift bestowed on but a few. Most of us live lives where even our most heartfelt endeavours reach out to but a few. However in that, they are no less valuable than those who effect so many.
To those who are asked to deliver contentment and happiness on a more grand scale, a special personality is required. A rare mixture of character, of knowledge, of empathy, of being able to look into the minds of those in their charge and see what they are capable of, even if they themselves have no idea of their unrealised potential.
We place this ability into the hands of people who we trust will respect us, who will do their utmost to deliver what is hoped of them, if not expected of them. To possibly deliver a sense of contentment to so many. As we go through life, we realise that wants are many but true contentment is rare, but attainable. Social history has shown us that there is no end of craving. We will never have everything we want, never, so why waste time on the chase.
Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. However, often contentment consists not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire. Hence Mícheál Donoghue.
We are still basking in the contentment that was thrown upon us like a maroon blanket of comfort on that day in Croke Park in September 2017. Welcome victories on those autumn days insulate us for the winter ahead; they give us warmth of the soul, they make us joyous at Spring and when summer comes around again, they give us a feeling of surprising strength.
In Mícheál Donoghue, who announced on Tuesday night that he was stepping down from the role, we had a gentleman whose quietly-spoken nature, took away some of the fire in the quest for the 'Road to MacCarthy.' Decades of disappointment carried their own weight, enough to crush many a person, but not Mícheál who knitted a squad capable of getting us over the line, while maintaining a strong sense of decency at every interaction he had.
On a human level, what Mícheál Donoghue represented to Galway was immense in the build up to that All-Ireland triumph. It was a time when Galway hurling was shaken to the core with the sudden passing of Tony Keady; yet Mícheál and team stood solidly beside the grieving family in those emotive days leading up to the decider.
The images that came out of that win — David Burke with his stirring speech; Joe Canning opting to stand beside Shannon Keady, the pictures of Margaret and family on the pitch celebrating joy while feeling great sadness inside; the images a day later of Mícheál and his father Miko at the homecoming in Ballinasloe — all smacked of a humanity at the core of this unique squad. A squad with feelings, with human failings, with character, with emotions….just like all of us.
Although there was a gap of almost 30 years since the previous victory, the win in 2017 brought unprecedented joy to Galway people right across the globe who reacted to it in ways they never imagined.
Schools, clubs, communities old and young, revelled in a grasp of the cup; its glint adorned many a function. I came out of an event two years ago and found my mother-in-law Theresa minding it under her cloak, having being deemed the most responsible adult in a room where it was the star attraction.
So Mícheál, as you step down from the role to which you have four good years, we thank you for doing what you did, we thank Siobhan, your children, and the rest of your family for the “loan of you” from them over this time.
For the contentment you have given so many, I hope you have kept a share for you and those close to you. Your name is forever etched in the history of Galway. You deserve to be feted as a legend for the rest of your days. Thanks for everything…and the best of luck with what you decide to do….and sure, you'd never know, we might see ya again, inspiring us in some other way. Enjoy the break...go raibh mile maith agat.
Mícheál, As ucht na sástachta a thug tú do na sluaite, tá súil agam gur choinnigh tú cuid den tsástacht sin duit féin agus dóibh siúd is mó a bhfuil cion agat orthu. Beidh tú luaite go brách le stair na Gaillimhe. Go gcaitear leat mar laoch an chuid eile de do shaol. Táimid buíoch díot as gach a ndearna tú dúinn...agus go n-éirí go geal leat amach anseo, cibé rud a thograíonn tú a dhéanamh... agus ar ndóigh, cá bhfios nach gcasfaí orainn arís thú, agus tú dár spreagadh ar bhealach éigin eile.