independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

100 reasons to celebrate Cats coach hails 1930s star

IRELAND'S oldest surviving All-Ireland senior hurling medal winner celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday with his old pal Liam McCarthy.

Martin White, who lined out in the black and amber of Kilkenny in the 1930s, toasted his centenary at home in Glasnevin on Dublin's northside with current Cats manager Brian Cody, star player Tommy Walsh and county board chairman Paul Kinsella.

And the trio representing the reigning All-Ireland champions brought along the Liam McCarthy Cup and the minor and U-21 trophies they also won in 2008.

Mr White, originally from Bonnettstown, outside Kilkenny city, did his county proud when he won three All-Ireland hurling medals in 1932, 1933 and 1935. He is still a keen supporter of his home county despite living in Dublin for more than 60 years, said his son Martin White Jr.

"He was very excited," Martin (58) said of his father's reaction when he was presented with the Liam McCarthy cup.

His home, where he lives with his wife Peg (92), remains a mecca for dedicated Kilkenny hurling fans who drop by on their way to Croke Park for big matches.

And yesterday it was the scene of day-long celebration as close family -- including his seven children and a dozen grandchildren -- and GAA friends toasted the milestone with cake and champagne.

The party is set to continue today as extended family and friends drop by.

Martin Jr attributes his father's longevity to good genes and an active lifestyle. Seven of Martin's 13 siblings lived to see their 90th birthdays while their mother lived to be 95, he said.

His time on the pitch, including clocking up six Leinster medals, didn't do him any harm either, he added. "He's always been active and has always had a full life."

Despite retiring from his job as a baker decades ago, Martin remains in good health and enjoys working in his garden and cooking -- when he's not glued to the television watching the current Kilkenny stars.

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