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Israel Ilunga

I chose this tree because as a GAA player no person ever forgets the year or the time they walk out hallowed ground or holy grail of GAA, it was a great feeling to walk on that pitch never mind playing on it. And then to win an all-Ireland on the day you first play in Croke Park was the biggest and most important day of my life.

This tree was planted in the memory of the leaving cert class of 2013 but to me this tree meant more to me as every time I go pass it reminds me of that day in Croke Park.


A rising Westmeath football star, Israel has revealed he feared being “shot” as a youngster in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The 2013 Leinster minor finalist, full-back on this year’s Tommy Carr managed minor team, recently received Irish citizenship after eight years living in Westmeath.

“We think we have problems but every time I take to the pitch I say to myself, ‘God, I’m lucky to have this’. If you were to compare it to the Congo, kids have nothing, so I play as if it’s going to be my last time playing at any level. I realise how lucky I am.”

Israel is also being monitored by Aussie Rules scout Tadhg Kennelly and has been  tipped by Dublin legend Carr to move unto the U-21 and senior ranks.

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