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'christmas miracle' Doctor speaks of 'kind hearted' Roy Keane's visit to children's ward

'Unannounced and without any fanfare Roy Keane came to visit the Children's Ward. And he gave that child the boost and the energy they needed to just keep going a little bit more I think.'

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Roy Keane

Roy Keane

Roy Keane

A doctor has spoken of a "Christmas miracle" which occurred 20 years ago this month when Ireland football hero Roy Keane gave a seriously ill child in hospital the "boost and the energy to just keep going a little more."

Dr Niamh Ni Loinsigh posted an appreciation video on her social media accounts where she described the heart warming exchange between Roy and the youngster.

She debated about whether to make the post but ultimately felt that "people need to hear something nice" in a time of much gloom in the country arising out of increased Covid cases.

Dr Ni Loinisgh issued a "trigger warning" before she told the story as she was discussing early childhood illness.

She jokingly added that Keane may also also be a “trigger” for some people.

Dr Ni Loinsigh said the closest thing she ever witnessed to a Christmas miracle was facilitated by the former Republic of Ireland and Manchester United player.

Around two decades ago she and her hospital colleagues were caring for a very sick child.

"It came to a point where we weren’t really sure if they were going to make it.

"And unannounced and without any fanfare Roy Keane came to visit the Children's Ward. And he gave the child that child the boost and the energy they needed to just keep going a little bit more I think."

A few weeks later Dr Ni Lionsigh recalled receiving a phone call from the hospital’s professor of pediatrics.

It was Christmas Eve and when she heard the professor in tears at the end of line she feared the worst.

"But no he said that this child was completely better and was going home. So thanks Roy."

Keane is a long time ambassador for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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The former Cobh Ramblers, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Celtic star is also frequent visitor to the Penny Dinners soup kitchen on Little Hanover Street in Cork city and has quietly supported the charity for years.

Penny Dinners is one of Ireland's oldest charities and traces its roots back to the early 19th Century.

Caitriona Twomey of Penny Dinners says that Keane is "very kind hearted" and "has time for everyone."

She said the pandemic has been particularly tough on the homeless.

"With the lockdown people had to walk around an empty city all day long and fall asleep in the freezing cold as well," she said.

"We have to keep positive and things rolling out because if they (service users) see us worried or fearful they become worried and fearful. We can see if people aren't doing well.

"You would nearly know by looking at them who is next to die."

"You are seeing things in a different light. You can see the deterioration. People who have always maintained an upbeat attitude and accepted their lot that is absolutely gone."

"People often don't see the point of living. There is a lot of despair."

Donations can be made to the charity at corkpennydinners.ie

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