GER LOUGHNANE HAS criticised the person who sparked reports of his death from cancer last summer, saying that they “just wanted to be the one with the story.”
Rumours of the Clare hurling legend’s passing spread across the internet as he was finishing his hospital treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia last July.
Senior Clare officials subsequently made contact with the family and confirmed that the reports were false, but not before word had reached his son in Australia.
The whole incident was greatly distressing and came at one of his weakest moments, Loughnane revealed in an interview with Seán Bán Breathnach which is to be broadcast on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta tomorrow.
“My son Conor was in Australia, and he called very early the following morning because someone had called to sympathise with him on my death after another friend had seen the message on Twitter and passed the word on,” Loughnane said.
He spoke to my wife Mary and she told him that it was a rumour and that it wasn’t true, but he didn’t believe her. So she had to wake me at 7.20 am so that I could call Conor and he would hear my voice and know that the rumour wasn’t true.
Loughnane, who won two All-Star awards as a player and two All-Irelands as Clare manager in the 1990s, has already been critical of the insensitive manner in which some members of the media have approached his illness.
Asked if the person who started the rumour had apologised, Loughnane said that they were too afraid to speak to him in person and had just left a voicemail message instead.
“The person didn’t have the guts to call me to speak to me, they just dialled directly into my voicemail and left a message.
There’s no excuse for it. It was just a rumour, and that person should have known better from their own experience and profession. They just wanted to be the one with the story, that’s all they cared about.
“If it had happened while I was in the hospital it mightn’t have been as bad, but that was the day when I was weakest, when I had just left the hospital and was preparing to get back to life outside, and it was extremely difficult. It didn’t help me at all.”
The full interview with Ger Loughnane will be broadcast on SBB Tráthnóna on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta tomorrow, Friday 9 March, at 2pm.