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Shanley relives golden memories of Foley era

THE men in the white coats have been on centre stage recently. It was the same story 20 years ago.

The vice-chairman of the Dublin County Board, Seán Shanley, was a selector with the Dublin hurlers back then. The one and only Lar Foley was the manager.

The man in the farmer’s cap. The King of Kinsealy didn’t believe in dressing his words with salad cream. He gave it to you straight.

“Yes, Lar was a great character alright,” recalls Seán, who is urging the Blue army to head for Tullamore this Saturday.

He’s hoping for a better roll of the sliotar than in 1989 when the Dubs faced Galway in the National League semi-final at Croke Park.

“There was a bit of controversy surrounding that game. We were behind by a point and time was running out,” explained Seán. “MJ Ryan hit a shot that was deflected. It should have been a ‘65’, but the umpires waved it wide.

“If we had got the ‘65’, we might have equalised, but it wasn’t to be.

“I’ll always remember Ciarán Hetherton’s point from under the Cusack Stand. It was a super score.

“I have a recording of it, and Jimmy Magee says on the commentary that it was one of the best points he had ever seen.”

That era under Lar also saw Dublin produce a memorable comeback against Galway in the National League in Salthill.

“I think we were 13 points behind at one stage, yet we still managed to win, so that was a remarkable recovery from the lads.”


The Dubs had some noble hurlers back then. “It’s sad to think that MJ Ryan is now gone. He was a great hurler. And very sad too about Anthony Costello. ‘Gossy’ was also with us back then,” said Seán.

“He played at full-forward. He gave it everything. He won great ball, and the likes of Seánie McDermott and Brian McMahon thrived on that. Brian was our All-Star. He took some stick from the Galway defence the day of the semi-final, but he kept at it. He had a wonderful game.”

Seán is a huge admirer of Daly’s Dubs. “They are a great bunch of fellas. They are very dedicated to it. The addition of Conal Keaney and Ryan O’ Dwyer is a major asset.

“The big difference today in comparison to when I was involved is the strength in depth of the squad.

“In Lar’s time we just didn’t have that. If we got an injury, we were in big trouble.

“But this year Dublin brought in four or five different fellas and they all performed.”