10-Year-Old Reunited With Lost Football After It Takes 124 Mile, 7-Day Trip Across Irish Sea To Wales
When 10-year-old Aoife accidentally kicked her football into the sea at Woodstown Beach in County Waterford, Ireland, she probably thought it was gone forever.
Aoife and her father, Ruairi Ni Niocaill, helplessly watched as the tide swept away the ball on January 10.
But remarkably seven days later, a local woman in the Welsh village of Llanrhystud found the ball washed up on a beach.
It had travelled more than 200km (124 miles) across the Irish Sea before finding itself on Llanrhystud beach in West Wales.
Ms Denton stumbled across the ball, which had Aoife's name written on it, during her daily lockdown excercise on the beach.
To try and find its owner, she used Facebook to make an appeal.
"If anyone knows Aoife Ni Niocaill, her football's just washed up on Llanrhystud beach - West Wales!" she wrote. "Wonder how long it's taken to get here from Ireland?"
It didn't take long for the Facebook community to rally behind the appeal and within hours, the post had received over 10,000 shares and thousands more comments.
As the picture of Aoife's ball went viral, her father Ruairi stumbled across the post and thanked Ms Denton for her help.
"I'm Aoife's dad. She's 10 years old and she lost her ball on Woodstown Beach in Co Waterford last Sunday," he replied. "It went in the water as the tide was going out and all we could do was watch it drift away.
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"I showed her the picture you posted - she thinks she's famous now. Thanks so much for posting it."
Ruairi later spoke about how the power of social media helped them find the lost ball.
"A friend of mine messaged me asking if this was Aoife's ball and then a second friend messaged me and it became apparent that they were looking." he told WLR FM.
"It shows you the power of social media when used for good. It only took five hours to find Aoife, it's very impressive what a powerful tool it can be.
"Aoife is a bit bewildered. She's impressed by how interested people are in her ball!"
Aoife's ball found in Wales pic.twitter.com/AJ3YOV53Af
- Andy Watters (@andyirishnews) January 17, 2021
Ms Denton, meanwhile, only posted the message privately for her friends to see before an ex-colleague who lives in Ireland said he'd share the post with the Gaelic Football Association.
That's where it really took off and within five hours, they had found Aoife.
"The ball hasn't deflated, there are one or two small chunks taken out of the ball, maybe where it has been bashed against rocks but it seems fine." she told BBC.
"It was really exciting and nice to make contact with Aoife's father, especially because Aoife was so excited to see that the ball had reached Wales.
"Some of the messages on Facebook were funny with people saying that the ball had travelled further than they had for a long time, and others mentioning Tom Hanks and the film 'Castaway.'"
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Aline Denton
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