For the GAA-mad Gilsenan family from Bailieborough, Cavan, their son Daniel’s autism makes it difficult to attend many games together as a family.
Due to the severity of his condition and the difficulties that come with it, Daniel often has to stay at home with his mum Ashling, whilst dad Mark and Daniel’s siblings Abbi, 13, and Sean, 12, head off to matches the length of Ireland.
On Sunday however, Daniel was able to join his dad, brother and sister for a family match-day out as they attended the Allianz Football League tie between Cavan and Donegal.
Cavan County Board and their forward-thinking Health and Wellbeing Committee have installed a standalone ‘Sensory Room’ in Kingspan Breffni for families that have children with additional needs.
Mark spoke of the great match-day experience the family were able to enjoy together:
“All the family attended on Sunday together with Piper, our assistance dog. Though not the result we wanted, we had a wonderful day. The sensory room in Kingspan Breffni ensured Daniel had opportunities to enjoy the game when he wanted, and epitomised GAA for ALL.
“We thank most sincerely Cavan County Board and the clubs who collaborated to deliver this brilliant Sensory Room, and Kingspan who sponsored the room.”
Ciaran McLaughlin, Ulster GAA President, congratulated Cavan GAA on their excellent sensory space:
“The sensory space at Kingspan Breffni is truly wonderful. I encourage all clubs and counties to consider how they can accommodate those with needs in the same way Cavan have.”