Dotsy eye opening visit to Cheshire Children’s Home

Dotsy eye opening visit to Cheshire Children’s Home

By Aideen O'Flaherty

FORMER inter-county GAA dual player David ‘Dotsy’ O’Callaghan has described his recent visit to a children’s home in Zambia as “eye opening”, after the Tallaght community got behind him and raised over €10,000 for the Cheshire Children’s Home.

The Springfield man, who returned to Dublin on Thursday, April 12, spent 12 days in Zambia with other sportsmen, including former Galway inter-county hurler Alan Kerins, helping Gorta Self-Help Africa.

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St Mark's player Dotsy O'Callaghan meeting children on his visit to the Cheshire Children's Home

The Cheshire Children’s Home has been supporting children with disabilities for over ten years.

The home provides surgical interventions – primarily prosthetic limbs – for the children, and care plans are put in place to include nutritional, medical, educational and development goals for each child.

David told The Echo: “The kids’ joy and enthusiasm was nearly overbearing at times, but the passion, and the raw and authentic fun we shared with them was fantastic.

“I think the simple things really shone through – these kids could create their own fun, they didn’t need iPads or computer games or anything like that.

He added: “Cheshire House provides a fantastic service, and two Presentation Sisters from Ireland are really the driving force behind it.”

The 34-year-old and his fellow sports stars also took the opportunity to play football with the children, who relished the experience.

Talented children

“It was quite joyous, and it was genuinely a lot of fun – there are a lot of talented children there.

“I think you’d have to be in the presence of the children to see how inspirational they are.”

The community in Tallaght backed David’s fundraising efforts to raise €10,000 for the children’s home, and the talented sportsman held a raffle in St Mark’s GAA Club and accepted donations through a fundraising page ahead of his trip to Zambia.

Expressing his appreciation for the community’s support, David said: “I want to say a massive thank you to all of the people who supported me; local businesses, GAA clubs, schools and people in the area.”

David, who retired from hurling in November, will soon be facing into his first All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship away from the pitch after 15 years of playing at inter-county level, but he’s looking forward to it.

“It will be a funny feeling [when I watch the championship], it will be the first time, in a long time, that I won’t be amongst the panel.

“I was happy to step away from inter-county hurling last year, but I’ll be keeping a keen eye on how the lads are doing.”