Hurling legends visit Pat

Top Kerry hurling fan receives house visit from the most coveted silverware in the sport

Sinead Kelleher

Not many hurling fans can say they have held the nation's three most important hurling cups at one time but for avid Kerry hurling fan, Pat Fitzpatrick, this dream became a reality recently - and in the comfort of his own South Kerry home!

The Ballinskelligs man got a major surprise when his friends organised for the 87-year old to hold the Liam McCarthy cup, the Irish Press Cup and the Allianz Hurling League Trophy.

Pat's friend, Tom Connell, also from Ballinskelligs, helped organise the surprise guests to Pat's house through a friend of his, Vincent Mullins, in Ardrahan hurling club in Galway.

Vincent arrived laden with the silverware to Pat's house on a very special visit that the entire parish, not just Pat, is unlikely to forget for a very long time.

"Pat is an avid hurling fan and he was absolutely thrilled to bits to have the cups in his house," says his daughter, Ann O'Leary.

"They had a great chat about hurling. It was a proud moment."

Though it may be unusual for a Kerryman to be such a hurling fan given the county's roots in football, for Pat hurling is 'the greatest game ever played'.

Pat and his late wife, Katherine, would regularly travel to hurling finals, so a visit from all three hurling cups to his home was a highlight.

Back in the day he can even recall his friend, Bernie Connell - possibly an even bigger fan - cycling from Valentia to Thurles for hurling games.

Though hurling is Pat's first love, he has never forgotten his football roots either and was a regular at all games.

"He was a GAA man all his life. Hurling was his passion but football too. I think part of him prefers hurling to football though!" Ann said.