WHEN Westmeath footballer Ray Connellan sustained a horrific leg break in the Leinster final against Dublin earlier this month, hearts sank for the talented 22-year-old.
With a move to the professional ranks of the Australian Football League about to go through, the serious injury looked as though it may scupper his impending move to Melbourne.
One onlooker that day took such pity on Connellan, that he set about helping the young man make a speedy recovery.
Not seeking recognition for his generosity, the man – believed to be a pensioner – penned an anonymous letter and addressed it to Ben Dolan, brother of the late entertainer Joe, who was sitting nearby him on the day of the match.
"Dear Ben, you don't know me but I was sitting close to you in Croke Park,” read the opening line of the letter. “I would appreciate it if you could do me a favour…"
There's a lot of very decent people out there. This random supporter of GAA being one of them. Incredible gesture pic.twitter.com/qOB934vdt0
— Ray Connellan (@connellanray) July 26, 2016
Inside the envelope was a cash donation to put towards Connellan’s medical expenses for Dolan to pass on.
The letter was simply signed: "Thanking you in anticipation, a GAA supporter.”
Dolan duly passed on the envelope and the gesture raised the spirits of the Connellan, who posted a picture of the note on his Twitter account, calling it an "incredible gesture".
“It was completely random, no connections and, from I what I can gather, he wasn’t even involved with Westmeath football, just a GAA supporter who felt sorry for someone getting a bad injury," said the midfielder.
“This man was quite elderly, and this was not something that you would see too often in sport or anywhere else. It was a very touching and unexpected gesture.”
AFL side St Kilda have since confirmed they have signed Connellan on a two-year contract, so the youngster will still get his dream move to Melbourne despite the injury.