Thursday 19 April 2018

Where are they now?

Gary Fahey (Former Galway footballer)

In 2001 Galway became the first team to win the All-Ireland through the back door, recovering from their defeat to Roscommon in the Connacht championship to beat Meath in the final. Killanin's Gary Fahey was captain for that history-making campaign thanks to a noble gesture by Corofin.

"We were runners-up to Corofin in the championship in 2000 and in Galway the county champions propose a player as captain. Corofin didn't have a player in the starting 15 so they put my name forward. It was a very selfless thing to nominate a player from a rival club. I was very privileged. Sometimes in life you get lucky breaks and things work out," he says.

The full-back didn't want to tempt fate and hadn't prepared a speech before the final. Afterwards, his focus was not on what he said but on lifting the trophy. "It was a fantastic feeling to captain the team to win the Sam Maguire. It's the stuff you dream of and for things to line up the way they did and fall into place was unbelievable. It was great for the family, the club and the parish."

Fahey was one of three Killanin players on the victorious team, along with his brother Richie and Kevin Walsh, the current Sligo manager.

The two-time All-Ireland winner studied mechanical engineering at UCG and while studying for his master's, Fahey was part of a team involved in developing a carbon fibre hurley. He is now a technical director of Teleflex, a medical diagnostics company based in Athlone.

Fahey made his Galway debut against Mayo in 1992 and won five Connacht medals along with his Celtic Crosses. He retired from inter-county football in 2004 and shortly afterwards a serious shoulder injury ended his playing days completely. He remains involved in the GAA and is the coach of the Killanin under 8 football team.

He will be at today's game against Roscommon and says there is an atmosphere of realistic optimism around Galway. "It's been a very good start to the year for the new management team. They did well in the league and were unlucky to concede that last-minute penalty against Kildare which cost them a place in the final.

"There is an air of positivity around the place. People are realising that there is no one-year fix. It is a process over a number of years to see if players can develop and win at the highest level."

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