Heroes on memory lane

Published 30/01/2013 | 13:59

Bertie Courtney, Brendan Courtney, Stan McCarthy, Joe Stack and Martin Ferris TD at Ardfert GAA's 25th anniversary celebration of their 1987 Junior County Football Championship victory, at the Ballyroe Heights Hotel on Friday.

HEROES of a 1987 county finalwinning side enjoyed a rare reunion on Friday in which they took a warm and often hilarious walk down memory lane.

Ardfert 1987 Junior County Football champions gathered in the Ballyroe Heights Hotel on Friday to celebrate the historic high point.

Captain Pat Dowling, Philip Healy, Neilus Kearney, Christy and Sonny Walsh, Pat Crowley - these were just some of the 1987 victors present who brought all the action and joy back to life.

Somehow they remained seated through all the reminiscing, rather than bursting onto the dancefloor with a ball - as the recollecting was so spirited. They beat Finuge that year to take the Junior title in a massive achievement for Ardfert football; it was in the doldrums ten years earlier with the parish dominated by hurling and football by the St Brendan's District League structure.

"It was a fantastic night and Martin Ferris did a brilliant job as MC," Chairman Joe Wallace said. "Martin's a Churchill man of course and when he likened the outbreak of peace between Churchill and Ardfert to the Good Friday Agreement it went down a bomb!"

Christy Walsh - originally a Kilmoyley hurler - remembered Ardfert football as a fantastic opportunity that allowed him see the entire county (hurling being confined to a number of neighbouring parishes in this county).

Meanwhile Pat Dowling spoke of how delighted he had been to captain the county victors and of how much the victory meant to Ardfert back then - at a time when football had finally emerged from the shadows of hurling in the parish.

But Pat's reminiscing was as nothing compared to his D'Unbelievables-style double act with Brendan Griffin as the pair channelled the voices and personalities of Mícheál O Muircheartaigh and Liz Howard.

"It was hilarious, one of the highlights of the night!" Joe said. "Pat was amazing as Mícheál and Brendan as Liz and the pair of them did a skit based on the famous Kerry Roscommon League Final when Paudie O'Mahony came out of the goals to take a penalty."

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