Friday 26 May 2017

Not only a great actor, but a fine footballer too Páidí ó Sé recalls the day Mick Lally performed heroics between the posts

Michael Lally was a not only a fine actor and a household name, but he was, in his youth, a very good footballer.

Michael was in goal for Tourmakeady when I played against him for Corca Dhuibhne in the Comortas Peile na Gaeltachta in the 1970s.

The pivotal moment of the match came when the referee awarded us a penalty, which I was given the task of taking.

I struck the ball hard and low to Michael's left. He dived full length and managed to get a hand on it just inside the post. A great save.

But the sequel to it was that Mick broke bones in his hand, possibly as a result of colliding with the post. In later years, I often discussed the incident with Mick.

"A great save," I would say. "Maybe so," he would reply, "but I paid a heavy price. It ended my football career."

True, Mick, but your great career on stage and screen surely compensated you for that?

Though I'm not so sure. John B Keane used to say that he'd swap all his theatrical success for one All-Ireland medal.

Perhaps Michael Lally felt the same way.

He was no believer in the afterlife. "A lot of codswallop is talked," he would say.

But wherever you are, Mick, thanks from us all for the great memories. And may you rest in peace.

Sunday Independent

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