A top television pundit and former GAA star has earned nationwide praise after donating a kidney to a seriously ill friend.
All-Ireland winner Joe Brolly is recovering in a London hospital after coming to the aid of fellow GAA enthusiast Shane Finnegan.
Belfast 40-year-old Finnegan, a club mate of the former Derry star, had been preparing for the surgery for some months.
He told the Irish Independent he was bowled over by Brolly’s gesture.
Finnegan said: “Joe’s altruism is overwhelming and, of course, there are no words to thank him or his family for his wonderful gift.
“I know it’s early days, but I’m so relieved that it’s all going well for both of us so far.”
Brolly coaches an under 10 team with Finnegan at the St Brigid’s club in Belfast.
The transplant took place on Wednesday and both men are now recovering at Guy’s Hospital in London.
Brolly said: “I’m honoured to have been in the position to help Shane. He’s been waiting for a transplant for over six years and when I heard that the only possibility of one was through a live donor I contacted his medical team.
“And, of course, in my considered opinion it’s all going according to plan - and thankfully the doctors concur.”
A barrister who specialises in criminal law, Brolly has told colleagues he will be out of action for several months.
A friend told the Irish Independent: “He’s known about this for a while but he didn’t want it made public. Joe is a very good friend who would do anything to help his friends.
“To do this for a family member is one thing but to do it for a friend, that brings it to a whole other level.”
Brolly is one of the most popular and controversial pundits on gaelic games and features regularly on Irish state broadcaster RTE.
He was part of Derry’s first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winning side in 1993. He also won two Ulster Senior Football Championships and four National League titles.
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