Ground strikes prove superior in Kick Fada tests
Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30
Those who believe that shots for points from frees should have to be kicked off the ground - and I'm among them - will be pleased to know that the All-Ireland Kick Fada competition, hosted by Bray Emmets, has always been won via this much more technically appealing route.
Longford's Damien Sheridan, who won the title with a massive 75-metre strike last year, bids for a third successive crown in what will be the 16th running of the event by the Wicklow club on Saturday week. It was due to be held last Saturday but Bray deferred it to support the nine club members, seven of whom started, on the Wicklow team that beat Meath in the All-Ireland U-21 'B' hurling final in Thurles.
It was a memorable win for a squad that featured three players - all from Bray - with family links to some famous GAA names. Jim and Pádraig Doyle are great grand-nephews of Waterford's John Keane, who was chosen at left half-back on the Hurling Teams of the Century (1984) and Millennium (2000).
Daire Henderson is a son of former Kilkenny star John Henderson, while Daire Lohan is a grandson of Galway's Mattie McDonagh, the only Connacht man to win four All-Ireland senior football medals (1956-'64-'65-'66). Mattie was also a very good hurler and holds the distinction of having played minor football with Galway and minor hurling with Roscommon in the same year (1953).
From Ballygar in north-east Galway, his club was deemed to be in Roscommon for hurling purposes.
The winner of this year's Kick Fada event will receive the Tom Walsh Perpetual Cup, named in honour of a Bray Emmets stalwart who died earlier this year.
Clans gather to honour Gerry Connolly
Today is a sad occasion for the hurling communities of Galway, in general, and Castlegar, in particular, as they gather for the funeral of Gerry Connolly.
A member of the famed Connolly family which anchored the Castlegar squad for many years, he played at right full-forward on the team that beat Ballycastle (Antrim) in the 1980 All-Ireland club final in Navan.
His brothers, John, Joe, Michael, Padraic and Murt also lined out on that occasion while another, brother, Murt was among the subs in what was a day of special triumph for the Connolly family and their colleagues.
It was the first All-Ireland win by a Galway club and came to be regarded as a major milestone in the county's re-emergence as a hurling power.
A few months later, Galway won the All-Ireland title for the first time in 57 years, with Joe Connolly as captain lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup, while John and Michael also played major roles.
Requiem Mass will be celebrated for Gerry in the Church of the Assumption and St James, Claregalway today (11.0), followed by burial in Renville Cemetery, Oranmore.