A GARDA escort was provided for a college GAA star so he could play in both the All-Ireland Club Championship and the Sigerson Cup – all in the space of an hour.
ieran Molloy, who plays for Galway club Corofin, had been expected to miss the Sigerson Cup Final with his college, NUI Galway, due to a clash in times.
The Sigerson Cup match threw in at 3.30pm on Saturday in Dublin, with the Club Championship game in Tullamore, Co Offaly, not ending until 3.35pm.
However, a 103km dash to Santry, Dublin, understood to be in the back of a Garda car, allowed Mr Molloy to run out as a substitute for his college in the 38th minute. This works out at around 50 minutes from when he left the O’Connor Park pitch in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
Mr Molloy is believed to have had the last touch of the ball in the match for Corofin and immediately ran off the pitch and out of the stadium to make his way up to Dublin.
It is not known who organised the escort to Santry, with NUIG GAA development officer Michael O’Connor insisting that it was not organised officially by the college.
Mr O’Connor said he was unsure how it was organised.
Corofin chairman Michael Ryder confirmed there was an escort from the Tullamore stadium to Dublin, but said it was certainly not organised by the GAA club.
Mr Ryder said they were happy for him to make the journey for the Sigerson match once he had no injuries.
“He made himself available. The club weren’t standing in his way,” he said.
Despite starring in Corofin’s narrow victory over Moorefield to reach the All-Ireland club final, it was a bittersweet day for Mr Molloy. His university was less successful, losing out to UCD by a point, with the substitute hitting the post late on in the game.
Despite Mr Molloy making a quick-trip to the capital to participate in the match, one of his Corofin teammates didn’t follow suit. UCD star Liam Silke – who is part of the Galway senior GAA panel – decided against making the journey to Santry for the game.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Molloy’s NUIG manager had not expected the young man to be involved. “It is a terrible situation for Kieran, for Corofin and for us, but the workload on players in these months is absolutely appalling,” he said.
“He’s an absolute hero. He wanted to play [in the semi-final] and the Corofin club have been very accommodating towards us. But he won’t be available on Saturday.”