London GAA: Kilburn cycle to honour Cathal

London GAA hurlers SADS cycle
Cathal Forde, pictured far right (No.2), with, LR, his brother Niall and cousins Brian and Colm

Hurling club to cover 396 miles over four days to raise funds for SADS

Four years after the death that shook London hurling, Kilburn Gaels are honouring the late Cathal Forde with a charity cycle, after the player died suddenly while training with the club.

They will be raising money for Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in his name from July 28-31.

The 28-year-old Gort native was corner-back of the 2010 Hurling Senior Championship winning team, the club’s first ever county title, and was one of four Forde family members playing with the Gaels.

In April 2012, he attended a hurling session at Kilburn’s Highgate training ground when he collapsed suddenly, and despite quick response from players, the police and ambulance, could not be resuscitated.

Speaking afterwards, his brother Noel, who was with him at training said: “There was no indication that anything was wrong until he collapsed.

“He wasn’t in any distress during the session. The first sign something was wrong was when he was on the ground. It was his heart.”

The tragedy, and other SADS deaths in sport, has prompted sports authorities to administer cardiac screenings for young players. Now the club, who were so heavily affected by Cathal’s passing, are doing their bit to contribute towards helping deal with the issues of SADS.

London GAA hurlers SADS cycle

Fourteen clubmen will embark on a four-day trip over 396 miles in July, as they travel from their Highfield hurling pitch to Cathal’s hometown of Gort. His brothers Niall and Liam, and cousin Brian, are part of the twelve cyclists who are travelling from London to Stratford-upon- Avon, to Corwen, to Holyhead, to Dublin to Gort.

We just wanted to keep Cathal’s memory alive

Also travelling are Stephen Lambert, Henry Vaughan, Seamus Richardson, Keith Kennedy, Kevin Campion, Paul Killilea and selector Francis Keating. Team manager Tom Bergin and Chris McAlinden will travel with the team also.

They will be raising money for The Cormac Trust and for MS Ireland. The Cormac Trust was set up after the sudden death of Cormac McAnallen in 2004.

The charity has four objectives

• To raise awareness of sudden cardiac deaths in young people, and its causes;

• To promote cardiac screening for young people, especially for athletes;

• To provide education and information to raise awareness at government level and among other authorities as to the value of providing facilities for the screening of young people;

• To provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for sports clubs in the local region, for the use of the entire local community, and to train people in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of defibrillators.

Kilburn are also raising funds for MS Ireland as Noel Harrison, an ex-player and who coached Cathal and the rest of the Gaels on the way to their first senior title in 2010, is suffering from MS. Funds raised will go to the Mid West regional office for MS, where Noel will be receiving treatment.

After Cathal’s death Kilburn also paid tribute to the integral team member by retiring his no.2 jersey for five years as part of club tradition, and since then the right corner-back wears 22 on his shirt. Francis Keating has been organising the trip and booking hotels with other club members for the past six weeks before the Facebook, website and fundraising page went live last week.

“We just wanted to do something to keep Cathal’s memory going. His family are delighted with what is planned and to be involved,” he said.

“I’m guessing there will be a lot of sore bodies by the time we arrive in Gort, we’re in training now hard for the next couple of months! “Thanks must go to the Cormac Trust who have been a great help in setting up the website with us.”

• If you would like to find out more visit

• To donate online visit:

What is SADS?

SADS stands for Sudden Arrhythmic Death and this is part of sudden cardiac death. At least 12 young people die suddenly each week in the UK of previously undetected heart problems. Most cardiac abnormalities, which lead to SADS, can be diagnosed by an ECG (electrocardiogram) test.

The non-invasive, painless screening takes about 20 minutes and is looked at by a cardiologist and examines the electrical conduction pathways around the heart. Defibrillators Defibrillators restart the heart if sudden cardiac arrest occurs, sustaining life until the ambulance arrives to take over.

They are portable and easy to use with the correct training, and the device measures the heartbeat via sticky pads attached to the chest and will deliver a therapeutic shock only if needed. It guides the operator giving clear and easy to follow instructions.

It is so safe it can be used with only a little training and in the case of an emergency anyone can use the automated defibrillator as it will give voice prompts.

Getting help in the first few minutes following cardiac arrest is very important and having a defibrillator readily available at the scene greatly improves the chances of survival.


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