Mayo GAA club to pay special tribute to late Garda
Swinford GAA club are set to pay tribute to the late Garda Robert McCallion with the hosting of an inter-county challenge game between Mayo and Donegal this weekend.
McCallion passed away in April 2009 as a result of injuries received in the line of duty in Letterkenny. It was a death that caused massive shock and a huge outpouring of grief in Robert’s hometown of Swinford, where he was a proud and very active member of the GAA club and the community.
An extremely popular character, McCallion was part of the Swinford team that won an Intermediate title in 1999 and represented Mayo at under-21 and senior level.
Swinford will honour McCallion by dedicating their new all-weather pitch in his memory ahead of an inter-county challenge match between Mayo and Donegal this weekend. The community in Swinford intend to make the pitch reopening a day of celebration for their club and activities will start on Sunday, May 6, with a game between Swinford and a Garda Selection at 12.30pm.
An official reopening ceremony will take place prior to the Mayo v Donegal encounter at 2.30pm, with Swinford and Mayo GAA legend Dr. Padraig Carney flying in from America especially for the occasion.
Carney, known as ‘The Flying Doctor’ was a part of the last Mayo team to win an All-Ireland in 1951 and is one of the finest footballers to have ever donned the green and red jersey.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat recently, Swinford GAA Chairman Michael Murtagh said of McCallion: “Robert was a huge part of the club and the community and was an extremely nice person. He always had a smile. He was a truly dedicated member of the Swinford team and brought that same dedication as a player.
“He was a totally different person on and off the pitch. He was on the successful Swinford minor team of 1997 which won every match they played that year. He would have been a driving force on that team.
“He played mainly centre half back. He travelled from Donegal to Swinford all the time to train and never transferred clubs.”
For more information on the event, check out the Swinford GAA website.