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Dublin: 6°C Monday 1 March 2021

The former Cork hurler battling on with a rare illness and more of the week's best sportswriting

Stick on the kettle and settle in to some of our favourite pieces from the last seven days.

Kevin Hennessy lives with a rare condition called SMART syndrome.
Kevin Hennessy lives with a rare condition called SMART syndrome.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

1. He was under attack from one of the rarest conditions known to medicine.

The day after his admission to Cork University Hospital, Hennessy suffered multiple seizures and, from there, an intense forensic led them to the answer. “It’s unbelievably bad luck to get it,” Una says now of her husband’s subsequent diagnosis as only the 44th known sufferer of SMART syndrome.

Walking is still a struggle, forcing him to reach, instinctively, for supports along the way. Chair-backs, a door-frame, anything. He is heavier than he wants to be too, but still here, still upbeat and resolute, still ardently, defiantly alive.

The Irish Independent’s Vincent Hogan speaks to former Cork hurler, Kevin Hennessy, about living with a rare medical condition called SMART syndrome.

2. Even the low points of that era weren’t particularly bad: runners-up in the league in 2013 and 2017, beaten finalists in the Setanta Cup final in 2014, two further FAI Cup finals in 2016 and 2017 and many more memorable European nights where a side from a small border town in Ireland went toe to toe with some of Europe’s finest and gave them a right old sweat.

As well as success on the field, that period brought in huge income off it, transforming the club from a small part-time operation to a professional outfit with some of the finest training facilities in the country.

It was fairytale stuff and Perth had played more than a bit-part role with an unbelievable work ethic in helping to prepare the side for the many big games they enjoyed over that period.

Then came the bombshell in November 2018 that Kenny was off to Abbotstown to take up the Republic of Ireland U-21 manager’s job and subsequently the senior role.

Following Vinny Perth’s departure as Dundalk manager, James Rogers looks back at the good and bad aspects of his time in charge of the Lilywhites.

3. It is the pornography du jour, shared from Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, thousands of times, millions of views, dashcam or bystander videos broadcast so frequently it is possible to watch Black people be killed, abused, harassed by police several times per day.

It is disseminated by the allies who want to show a kind of solidarity with Black pain without necessarily recognizing the traumatizing effect on a Black person of watching and rewatching the state kill them, by the outraged tired of being told America is post-racial, and by the antagonists looking for an opportunity to tell Black people they deserve the bullets they receive — but the one constant is the ready availability of images of Black people who wind up dead.

America has been fighting war for nearly 20 consecutive years, but military death is skillfully hidden from the public. Images of deadly force on African Americans are as common as lunchtime.

racial-injustice-nba-basketball The NBA playoffs are set to resume on Saturday following a boycott which was prompted by the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Source: Ashley Landis

In ESPN, Howard Bryant offers his take on NBA teams boycotting games following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in America.

4. With 250 metres to run, Robinson got back to Tobin’s slipstream and he tracked him around the last bend, feeling super confident as he turned for home. What was he thinking then?

“All the money’s on me here. I’m home and hosed.”

That thought proved premature. Robinson changed gears and edged past, but as he sprinted into the teeth of a gale he found his legs becoming bankrupt. Tobin would not lie down.

As they approached the line they were locked together, both trying desperately to hold form and get over it in front. Robinson had never dived for the finish before, but he did this time, crashing to the track, the impact leaving him with sore ribs for days after. Then the two just lay there, utterly spent, awaiting the photo finish.

Robinson had regained the title — by a whisker.

“I don’t think you could write it any better,” he says. “It was fairytale stuff.”

In the Irish Examiner, Cathal Dennehy speaks to Paul Robinson about his incredible victory in the men’s 1,500m final at the National Athletics Championships.

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