The former Galway footballer opened up about the death of his girlfriend Mairéad Meehan in 2007 on Thursday night’s upcoming episode of Laochra Gael on TG4.
Former Galway footballer Kieran Fitzgerald says he struggled for years to come to terms with the death of his girlfriend Mairéad Meehan in 2007 aged just 25.
Fitzgerald, who won an All-Ireland football title in 2001, met Mairéad after the National League final earlier that year. She was the sister of Galway footballers Declan, Tomás, Michael, and Noel Meehan.
By that time, she had already been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of cancer which starts in the bones.
"When I met her, you would not know she had that trauma behind her," he said.
The 25-year-old died after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of cancer which starts in the bones
"Over the years, she had to have surgeries of various types. Following the surgeries, she would have undergone various different types of treatments, radiotherapy, chemotherapy,” he explained.
"She never let that hold her back and she had a personality that was so full of energy, enthusiasm and drive for life. She didn’t allow it to get in her way.”
Mairéad is the sister of his fellow Galway footballers Declan, Tomas, Michael and Noel Meehan.
"We didn’t let it overpower us,” he said.
“We were always aware it was there, she was always aware it was there but we didn’t really talk about it unless we had to talk about it.”
“There was always a cloud of an upcoming scan or a test looming."
In 2006, Mairéad got the news that her prognosis was not good as her cancer turned terminal.
"So, yeah, that was tough.
"As the weeks went on, Mairéad’s condition deteriorated and sadly [she] passed away at the end of January 2007.”
"I found time by myself was really tough,” he said.
“I found it really hard to come to terms with how somebody could be there one minute, and gone the next. The finality of that, I struggled with for years.”
"I wasn't mentally prepared or ready or able to play football. I was afraid to let that go, I was afraid to step away from football because I was afraid of being alone really, to be honest with you.”
Kieran retired from inter-county football in 2010 before going on to win four All-Ireland’s with his club, Corofin.