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Monaghan GAA Health & Wellbeing Evening

April 8th, 2024

Monaghan GAA Health & Wellbeing Evening

On Wednesday 27 March, Monaghan GAA  County Health & Wellbeing Committee hosted a very successful Health & Wellbeing Evening in Cloghan GAA Centre of Excellence for Health and Wellbeing officers and for members of the public.  The meeting was also attended by Maura McMenamin, Ulster GAA  Health and Wellbeing Officer.

The main focus on the evening was to put a spotlight on Testicular cancer. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month and testicular cancer is still the most common cancer in young men aged between 15 and 34.   

The evening started with Ciara Ni Cionna from  Teach na nDaoine. Her focus is on making Monaghan a breastfeeding friendly county and on how easy it can be for all  GAA clubs to make their facilities accessible to mothers who are breastfeeding.

The key speaker on the evening was Alan Markey from Aughnamullen GAA, who  reflected on his own journey through cancer in 2022 and his current thoughts as he continues this journey into recovery. Initially, Alan described what he thought was a back injury caused when playing for his own GAA club. However, this continued to get worse and as the symptoms developed, he was encouraged to seek additional medical help. This developed quickly as Alan’s condition deteriorated, resulting in a prolonged period in hospital- including many weeks in a critical condition.  Ultimately, Alan recovered and spent many months receiving chemotherapy and  further treatment before he received the all clear.



There were many lessons to reflect on in the course of the evening. What became clear from Alan’s story was the need to consider testicular cancer as a possibility by everybody, rather than ignoring unexplained symptoms; it was also mentioned that Alan’s cancer specifically targets younger men, so it is vitally important  that  men make the decision to actively seek medical help.

Martin Maguire from Crocus Men’s Den in Monaghan was also present. After hearing Alan’s story, he outlined the work and supports available through Crocus, and reflected on how important it was for men to find a forum to talk together and to discuss any physical or mental issues.

The evening was completed by Michael McGinn who outlined the importance of the Safetalk programme. This is a suicide prevention programme which is being offered to all GAA  clubs  within the county who want to host it within their clubs or on a regional basis. This programme is intended to offer participants skills in dealing with people who may be thinking of suicide.


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