Sixteen-year-old Liam O’Halloran Bryant, from Church Street in Miltown Malbay, is going to great heights to fundraiser for the Miltown St Joseph’s underage football club.
On September 11, he will travel to Dublin to the Irish Parachute Club to undertake a skydive, which he hopes will raise significant funds for the Miltown club.
Born in England, Liam returned to Miltown, where he resides with his mother, Pauline, who is a native of Miltown.
“At the age of three, Liam was diagnosed with autism and we returned home when he was five, as he was about to start school. He went to the special autism unit in Inagh and he was one of the first students to graduate into mainstreem education at fourth class at the school,” Liam’s mother Pauline explained this week.
Liam then joined Miltown GAA Club and was part of a juvenile team, under Maurice Reidy. “Maurice and his fellow officials were great and involved Liam as part of the team,” said Pauline.
Involvement in the GAA is nothing new to the O’Halloran family, although Pauline says that she wasn’t as GAA mad as her brothers and sisters.
However, that has all changed and Pauline now finds herself as secretary of the Miltown St Joseph’s adult club. “It’s fine and there is a great team involved,” she said of her new role.
Her brother, Tony, is actively involved in the promotion of Gaelic Games in London, while another brother, Thomas, is involved with the Miltown club.
Indeed, it was through Thomas that the decision to do the upcoming skydive came about. “Every year, the club comes up with some fundraising venture. Thomas asked Liam what they should do this year and he said jump from an aeroplane and thats how it got started.”
Miltown Malbay native, Martin Flynn, who lives in Kildare, has played a big part in making the arrangements for the dive. “We will travel up on the morning of September 11 and there will be someone jumping with him. There is a great response to the sponsorship appeal and we are fortunate that we have got great support from The Bellbridge House Hotel and David and Derek have been a huge support,” Pauline added.
Liam is a keen music follower and plays the banjo. Next week, he will begin third-year studies at St Joseph’s secondary school in Spanish Point. “Paul Reidy and the teachers in the school have been a great help and are very supportive,” Pauline said.
“This is Liam’s way of saying thanks to the Miltown club for the support they have shown to him. Sponsorship cards are available throughout the parish and we are all looking forward to September 11,” said Pauline, who admitted that she will be somewhat nervous on the day of the event.
By Seamus Hayes, sports editor