Thursday 25 May 2017

Where are they now?

PJ MOLLOY

(Former Galway hurler)

For former All-Ireland winner PJ Molloy, hurling tradition can be simply explained.

"We were wondering for a while in Galway what tradition was but then we realised it's about never leaving the hurley out of your hand," says Molloy.

"It's when you go driving the cows and you've the hurley in your hand or when you go to Mass and you've brought the hurley to the church and left it outside the front gate."

And although Galway are now seen as a traditional hurling county, that wasn't always the case. They won their first All-Ireland in 1923 and despite contesting several finals, they didn't win another until 1980. Molloy was a key member of that winning team but had put in some tough seasons before finally claiming the Liam MacCarthy.

He made his Galway senior debut in 1971 and a year later captured an All-Ireland under 21 medal. The forward went on to contest seven All-Ireland senior finals, winning three (1980, 1987 and 1988).

Molloy also won five Railway Cup medals with Connacht during the 1980s and an All-Star in 1977 at half-forward. His club is Athenry and in 1987 he was on the team that won their first county championship and Connacht title. When he retired from club hurling at 43, he took over managing Athenry and in 1997 he led them to their first All-Ireland club title.

"It's easy to be a successful manager when you have a good team," says Molloy. "The club team in Athenry was great and I was very fortunate to be in charge when I was, they made it very easy to coach them."

He also managed his club camogie team for several years.

Molloy works in Arrabawn a farmers' co-op selling farm machinery and although he isn't involved in hurling directly anymore, he still plays a big role in the club and is a keen follower of Galway hurling. And he has high hopes for his county's prospects.

"We have a wealth of talent in the county, and we've had great success underage. We've won our fair share of minor All-Irelands and the recent crop look exceptionally talented. Not only do they have the hurling but they are all strong lads. I'd expect them to do well, Kilkenny and Tipperary will probably be the top two teams again this year but we definitley won't be too far behind them."

Athenry are hosting a 'Night with Sporting Greats' on March 10 and the panel includes Liam Sheedy, Davy Fitzgerald, Eric Elwood, John Maughan, Mickey McGeehan and Mary O'Connor.

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