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Traditional visit to Children's Hospital held special importance for Dublin's Clarke


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The traditional visit of All-Ireland winning teams to the Children's Hospital in Crumlin means a little bit more to Dublin selector Paul Clarke than most. 

One of Dublin's All-Ireland winners in 1995, Clarke is another of that vintage now working alongside Jim Gavin in the senior set-up.

Giving much of his life over to the county team in one function or another, Clarke, in conversation with Off the Ball, described how a worrying spell in his family life informed his enormous respect for the work being done in Crumlin every single day.

"I would know first-hand the people and staff in Crumlin," he explained on Thursday's OTB AM. "My own son Ben was born with a heart issue."

Three years ago, Clarke and his wife Emer discovered that their new-born child's life would begin under a worrying cloud.

"The staff in the Rotunda noticed [the issue]," he recalled, "and Ben was rushed to Crumlin.

"Within four days, he'd had open-heart surgery.

"It wasn't how myself or my wife had prepared from looking at YouTube or reading books about parenting."

An agonising period, Clarke's son Ben would eventually come out of the hospital and begin life as his parents had expected. However, across those initial weeks of worry, Paul Clarke was afforded a first-hand look at the incredible work being done by those who seem to be in possession of boundless energy.

"You literally hand over your child to an ambulance man and he rushes him to Crumlin," explained Clarke.

"We spent a month in Crumlin while he was healing and recovering, and to see the staff first-hand, their compassion and emotion, they come in every day with the same amount of energy.

"Even when we would have been on edge in the room, like after a few bad nights sleep or if Ben hadn't been well, the nurse would come in and say, 'Off you go, you need to get out of here and get a coffee. He'll be ok with me'

"Those few moments away, you think you can't do that, but these people are just phenomenal and how they look after parents is unbelievable.

"They watch out for you all the time."

You can watch back Paul Clarke's interview in full here

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


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