By Louise Hogan
SAVING the hay may be a chore, but it's the sort of work teenager Paul Minchin would scarcely have been able to dream of doing a year ago.
It's just over 12 months since the 19-year-old from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow made history by becoming the first cystic-fibrosis patient in Ireland to undergo a double-lung transplant.
The young farmer has enjoyed his time since the vital operation by immersing himself in life on his family's farm.
The first anniversary of his five-hour operation in the Mater Hospital passed by in a flurry of activity on the farm as they rapidly cut, baled and stored the hay.
"I was nearly too busy to celebrate," he laughed, but there are still plans for a night out with some old school friends.
Paul has been in "great form" in the year since the operation in which he was provided with two new lungs, but he admits that the recovery has been gradual.
A year ago, he would not have been able to work outside on the farm -- with his diminishing condition he had started to use a breathing apparatus 24 hours a day.
But now Paul says he also has another ambition he hopes to fulfil next year -- a return to the hurling pitch alongside his brothers who play for the Ballinkillen senior team.
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