01 October 2007
**Those of you who would like to learn more about Padre Pio, a Catholic saint, might want to check out some of these links here
Derry footballer Liam Coyle has revealed how a prayer to Padre Pio saved his football career.
In a new book charting the miracles of Padre Pio, football hero of Derry City F.C. Liam Coyle has admitted that he was cured after his mother Sheila prayed to Padre Pio about his knee injury.
“My mother was the one that prayed to Padre Pio and got the mitts,” said Liam.“She would put medals in my bags and boots when I went to play games.Whenever she got his mitt I used to have to go and get a rub of it. That was even before my injury.”
In 1989, a 21 years-old Liam Coyle was injured while playing for Derry City in Dundalk. He was told that if he didn’t stop playing football he would be in a wheelchair by the time he was 30.
“The injury turned out to be an athletic condition, not really an injury as such,” he said. ”The bone was wasting away in my knee and there was a hole in my bone. Bits of bone were breaking off. The hole was getting bigger and bigger.”
At that time Liam had been told that Benfica manager Sven Goran Erikson was interested in signing him and there was also talk of interest from Manchester United, Celtic and Paris Saint-Germain; “Because of the injury it never materialised,” said Liam. “Every doctor in the world told me the same thing – there was really no way I was ever going to play again.”
Despite what the medical professionals said, Liam’s mother Sheila kept praying
“I heard of a lady in Derry, Betty Beales who was supposed to have seen a vision of Padre Pio,” said Liam. “Hundreds of people were going to see her.
“I was sent up to see Betty around 1990.
“She prayed with me and put her hands on me and told me that Padre Pio was
looking after me because my mother had prayed to him for so long. She told me that I would be alright.
“From that minute I never had another bit of bother with my leg.Two years after I had stopped playing I was back playing football again. Since then I’ve won the league twice, I’ve won three cup medals, I’ve won player of the year awards, I’ve played for the League of Ireland. For the injury I had, I have had a pretty decent career. And Padre Pio has had a very big role to play in that.
“I’ve also never forgotten Betty Beales. She wouldn’t take money off me but she said to me once, ‘At some stage you will acknowledge me.’
“I’ll never forget that when I won the player of the year award in Dublin I went up and I said, ‘I just want to mention a woman who had a lot of faith in me and her name is Betty Beales.’ She knows what she did for me.”
Padre Pio, The Irish Connection is out Oct 4.