Home > Community Voices > Kevin Hanly: From Solohead to the TV Screen

Kevin Hanly: From Solohead to the TV Screen

Kevin Hanly is a long-time friend of AsIAm and has written for us multiple times. Like many of us, he struggled with the pitfalls of Covid-19 but he’s emerged stronger than ever as part of Supervalu’s latest campaign. Read his story below.

It’s still hard to believe I was selected as a ‘Bring It On’ GAA/SuperValu Ambassador for this year’s football championship just gone, but what an experience it was” From the start I was blown away when SuperValu contacted me with this idea about a national campaign to be a role model for Autism acceptance in the community. They believe that Community includes everyone. They wanted me to help show how it is important for different people from different backgrounds to be included and to highlight the need for more Diversity and Inclusion in society and in GAA. They wanted to show whatever ability you have or differences you might think you have in life, there is always a place for you in your GAA club no matter what. 

 

The GAA is a big factor of my life and without the GAA my social skills wouldn’t have developed to where they are today. I have progressed from a young person with autism and interested in sport, to now helping out with Tipperary GAA from time to time and giving my view on Tipp FM. 

In society there is often a misconception, that if you are autistic and low on self-confidence with poor social skills, getting involved in sports might not be the best option for you.  I am proof that is not true, I believe that if you have any interest you should go for it. It may be playing or supporting like myself, but I find it doesn’t matter and all that is important is to give it your all. I found people with the same interest and passion as me and have made really good friends from it. I cannot imagine my life now life without Tipperary GAA or Solohead GAA, I would be lost without it. 

 

One thing that always stays with me and drives me on is the Tipperary Football players they have been a huge support to me in my autism journey. They say to me “Kevin you are just one of the lads, you are part of the team, you are part of the furniture, you have been supporting us for over 10 Years through good days and bad, don’t ever forget that.”  For over 10 years I have been going to all the matches and many training sessions where I have always felt welcome and included. 

Kevin Hanly GAA

 

 

Solohead GAA- James Dee & myself.       Tipp GAA- Colm O’Shaughnessy & myself.     

It’s about their willingness to accept me and include me for who I am and that’s Kevin. Over the last 10 years, my journey to autism acceptance has often been challenging but I can honestly say the GAA has transformed my life and has given me self-belief and confidence. I have come along way with my social skills and learning in life and I will continue on this journey because for me like many autistic people it’s a work in progress. 

The last 18 months have been made so much harder with everything that’s gone on from Covid-19. But when SuperValu and AsIAm believing in me and encouraged me to keep up the good work I do around promoting autism awareness, it gave me the lift I needed. 

I remember the day of filming in the advertisement up in Dublin, I was so nervous as I was doubting myself if I would actually be able to do it, but the support I got from my parents, family and friends saying “good luck” helped, so when the lights and cameras went on, I did my best acting skills in front of the cameras. I am so delighted with how it all worked out and  it was an experience I will never forget!!

Kevin Hanly GAA Bring It On Launch

The day when we had the launch for the campaign in Croke Park, then it was getting real as the advertisement was going live on National television. I was worried about what people would think but it was a massive success, and everyone involved including the other ambassadors supported and inspired me massively.

As the Covid restrictions began to lift over the summer, I was delighted to be able to get back to helping and supporting Tipperary football as well as being involved with the Tipperary camogie PR team, making videos and helping with social media. I also got to interview David Clifford after the Tipperary versus Kerry championship game and share it on my twitter account which was a great experience for me.

As I look back on the Summer of 2021, my hope is that  the ‘Bring It On campaign’ with SuperValu will inspire a new generation to be involved with the GAA. As for me I’m very lucky to have such close bond with the Premier footballers as the lads said to me before ‘They just see me as one of the lads’ I couldn’t have come so far in my autism journey without the support of Tipperary GAA and  AsIAm. I am asking you to support them so that they can continue to support people like me to live their best life. 

 

This year wasn’t a successful year for my County of Tipperary but like in life when things don’t go in your favour you just work harder and get more motivated for the next year to see what it will bring…

 

SuperValu #BringItOn Adam Harris and Kevin Hanly

 

Watch the interview here:

by - 19 September, 2021

Last updated by - September 19, 2021

in Community Voices, COVID-19, Special Interests, Sport

Can this be improved? Contact webeditor@asiam.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
You May ALso Like
AsIAm adult wellbeing

Launch of AsIAm Adult Support and Wellbeing Programme

by - 16 September, 2021

Today, 16th September 2021, AsIAm is delighted to announce the launch of its new Adult Support an...[...]

AsIAm Launches Bridge Forward Programme

by - 3 September, 2021

Recently, AsIAm obtained funding from the Late Late Toy Show Appeal to the amount of €100,000 to ...[...]

AsIAm publish pre- budget submission for 2022 to the Government

by - 27 July, 2021

Ireland’s national autism charity are proposing ways the Government can achieve true inclusivity ...[...]

Autism Month Say Yes

AsIAm Launch ‘Say Yes Day’ Appeal to Raise Vital Funds

by - 21 April, 2021

As autism acceptance month comes to a close, the national autism charity of Ireland AsIAm, suppor...[...]

Say Yes To Autism Acceptance: AsIAm and World Autism Month 2021

by - 31 March, 2021

We are delighted to announce our events and webinars for the month of April as part of our World ...[...]

David O’Connell: One Year Since Covid

by - 19 March, 2021

David O'Connell is an autistic adult and self-advocate living in Mayo. He wrote the following blo...[...]

Autism, College and Covid Lockdown: Jenny Loughman

by - 19 March, 2021

Jenny Loughman is an autistic blogger studying social care in Limerick Institute of Technology. S...[...]

schools re-open

No consultation on changes to school re-opening plan that will negatively affect 20,000 children with additional needs – Disability and Family Carer Groups

by - 19 March, 2021

Representative groups waiting over a month for engagement from Government on special education is...[...]

New #ChildrensFuturesIRL campaign focuses on children’s right to an adequate education

by - 19 March, 2021

  New #ChildrensFuturesIRL campaign focuses on children’s right to an adequate education ...[...]

supplementary education

Explainer: Supplementary Education Programme

by - 19 March, 2021

What is this?  The Department of Education, along with relevant education stakeholders, has begu...[...]

return to special education

Partial return to special education ‘a mixed day’ for families – Disability, Children’s and Family Carer groups

by - 11 February, 2021

Seven leading advocacy organisations, AsIAm, Down Syndrome Ireland, Family Carers Ireland, Inclus...[...]

Support

Autism Community appeals for greater understanding and support in 2021

by - 15 December, 2020

Survey by National Autism Charity reveals high levels of structural inequality and discrimina...[...]

Students with additional needs face new challenges during COVID-19

by - 15 December, 2020

•   41% of families state their child’s needs more support •   22% of families state their chil...[...]

Football For All: Inclusive Sport in Ireland

by - 18 September, 2020

  Young people with additional needs have struggled during lockdown; along with the disru...[...]

Life Over Lockdown: Kevin Hanly

by - 18 September, 2020

Kevin Hanly – Being autistic and living through a pandemic!! COVID-19 has affected everyone’s li...[...]

Autistic families concerned about the return to school, survey finds

by - 18 September, 2020

Autistic families concerned about the return to school, survey finds 77% of families feel ...[...]

Autistic Pride 2020 Part One

by - 6 July, 2020

We hope you all enjoyed celebrating Autistic Pride 2020, especially our friends at Autistic Paddi...[...]

Adrian Carroll: Impact of COVID-19 on Autistic Employees

by - 25 March, 2020

Like many others facing difficult times, autistic people will largely have the same concerns abo...[...]

Autism and Covid19 Healthcare Information

by - 25 March, 2020

Here’s some specific information for the autistic community about the current crisis, developed b...[...]

Explainer: COVID-19 and Changes to Work

by - 20 March, 2020

UPDATE: changes have been announced to certain payments from the Government at this time of writi...[...]

Autism Behind the Wheel: Teaching Teens and Young Adults on the Spectrum to Drive- Carmen Adams

by - 9 October, 2019

*Editor's note: Carmen's piece, though helpful, is written in an American context. Not all situat...[...]

NCI Reaches Autism Friendly University Status This Month!

by - 2 October, 2019

We're currently  currently working towards Autism-Friendly Status with National College of Irelan...[...]

The Case for a Neurodivergent Holmes

by - 17 September, 2019

I’m hardly the first autistic person to take an interest in Sherlock Holmes and I’m sure I’m far ...[...]

Community Voices: Nóra Nic Oireachtaigh and Bullying

by - 2 September, 2019

The following piece is the final piece in our series covering bullying and autism. The first part...[...]

Community Voices: Autism and Bullying

by - 23 August, 2019

Hello all. If you haven’t seen our previous interview with Neil Kenny, I’d recommend checking it ...[...]

Kevin McLoughlin on University Societies as an Autistic Man

by - 25 July, 2019

  Hey everyone! I’m Kevin, I’m 19 years old, and I’m halfway through my first year exams ...[...]

The Clonakilty Commitment – Training Week!

by - 3 October, 2018

The town of Clonakilty in Co. Cork has undertaken a commitment to become fully Autism Friendly – ...[...]

Kevin Hanley: Back to Routine!

by - 27 August, 2018

Returning to routine after a break can be a tough one to get your head around, especially after a...[...]

Interview: Jody O’Neill – Autism & Entrepreneurship

by - 4 May, 2018

Jody O’Neill is a young self-advocate attending Castletroy College in County Limerick. She has se...[...]

Was this article helpful?