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Vincent Hogan: Kilkenny's little big man

Slight but hard, fair but fearless, Noel Hickey is one of all-time great No 3s

Published 06/08/2010 | 05:00

Slight but hard, fair but fearless, Noel Hickey is one of all-time great No 3s
Slight but hard, fair but fearless, Noel Hickey is one of all-time great No 3s

Maybe the toughest man in hurling is skinny as a broom and, some say, identifiable only in ultra-violet light. Actually, that's a slight exaggeration. Noel Hickey may be slight, but his legs are sturdy as pit-props. And he IS notoriously strong.

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"Gotham needs Batman . . . Dunnamaggin doesn't!" runs just one of the reverential jokes recycled on KilkennyCats.com in celebration of a man now approaching cult status.

There is something emblematic about Hickey in the story of Brian Cody's team. They are rightly celebrated for the czars of the half-back line and the high priests of attack. Yet, nobody embodies the quiet humility etched deep into their DNA quite like the young farmer guarding the Kilkenny 'square'.

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