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€10,000 raised in charity game for All-Ireland winner who retired after battling throat cancer

The testimonial for Cian Smith, a 2006 All-Ireland winner with Roscommon, took place yesterday in Boyle.

Cian Smith at yesterday's testimonial in Boyle.
Cian Smith at yesterday's testimonial in Boyle.
Image: BoyleToday.com

OVER €10,000 WAS raised yesterday at a testimonial for a 2006 Roscommon All-Ireland minor winner who has been forced to retire from Gaelic football after throat cancer caused him breathing problems.

Several inter-county players played in the game which saw a Boyle selection managed by former Roscommon player David Casey take on a Roscommon selection managed by former county great Fergal O’Donnell.

The game in Abbey Park in Boyle was a tribute to Cian Smith, a Boyle native. Proceeds from the day will be shared between the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice and the Kyle Casey Fund.

Cian Smith, whose brothers Donal and Enda both played for the Roscommon senior footballers in championship this summer, was part of the Roscommon squad that claimed a famous win in Ennis in a replay of the 2006 All-Ireland minor football final.

Roscommon squad 23/9/2006 Cian is pictured in the back row, second from the right, before Roscommon's 2006 All-Ireland final replay win over Kerry. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Players in action included current Roscommon seniors Niall Carty, Niall Daly, Michael Finneran, Colin Compton and Donal Shine. Ex Roscommon players Sean Purcell and Nigel Dineen along with David Conway (Laois), Ross Donovan (Sligo) and Michael Moyles (Mayo) also played.

A year later after that minor win, Cian started to suffer a constant sore throat and after going to a doctor, he was subsequently referred to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin where Cian was diagnosed with throat cancer. He had a tumour removed in October 2007 and after seven weeks of radiotherapy, he started his recovery.

Cian Smith 4 Cian Smith with his brothers Donal and Enda yesterday. Source: BoyleToday.com

“Beforehand I was told that I mightn’t make it,” says Cian. “But I got over it quite quickly. The cancer is gone and it hasn’t returned.”

Unfortunately the surgery and radiotherapy had an effect on Cian as his windpipe is too narrow and that has effected his breathing capacity. Later this month he will undergo a tracheostomy that will see him exhale through a tube instead of breathing out through his mouth.

The breathing problems effected Cian’s ability to stay playing Gaelic football but he still made an amazing comeback to play for his club Boyle. Last year Boyle won the Roscommon intermediate football title with Cian playing centre-forward as they defeated Tulsk by 2-12 to 2-9. They went on to reach the AIB Connacht club final but lost out to Mayo’s Kiltane.

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Source: BoyleToday.com

Cian Smith 3 Source: BoyleToday.com

Before Cian undergoes the operation later this month, he played some part in yesterday’s game. His club teammates Mark O’Donohoe and Liam Conroy were the chief organisers of the match.

“I’d like to thank the two lads, they’ve put in a huge effort,” says Cian. “I’m really humbled by the reaction. I’ve received unbelievable support from my family, friends, Boyle GAA Club and the wider GAA community over the last seven years. These people mean everything to me.”]

This article was first published on November 6th at 3.55pm.

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