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'The rattler' a true gift to hurling

Now that Prince Philip and President Obama have, presumably, taken to practising with those nice hurleys the nation gave them, how about a follow-up gift?

Hurling is now, officially, the ultimate symbol of our nationality and in Thurles on Saturday night, one of the game's legendary old soldiers had his career formally recognised.

Mick 'The Rattler' Byrne jostled with the likes of Ring and Mackey in his day without ever contemplating a backward step.

Famously, when Ring scored a winning point against Tipperary in a National League game, 'The Rattler' is said to have observed, "By God Christy, we'll have to shoot you!"

And Ring's response? "Oh sure ye might as well, Mickey, ye've tried everything else!"

In front of a star-studded audience of 450 people on Saturday, 'The Rattler' (who will be 88 in September) was accompanied on stage by Ring's son, Christy Jnr, for the launch of his biography.

Written with the highly respected Michael Dundon, the book opens extraordinary windows into an Ireland long since blurred by the mists of time. If Moneygall can have Obama, why not 'Rattler' Byrne for the White House?

Irish Independent