Saturday 21 September 2019

Tony a most fitting inclusion in the GAA Hall of Fame

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

Brendan Furlong's Hop Ball

The Hall of Fame award is intended to award a person judged as outstanding in showing exemplary leadership, vision, energy, drive, and beyond what is expected with respect to G.A.A.-related activities.

It was fitting therefore that the legendary Tony Doran was one of four newcomers inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with John Connolly (Galway), the late Dermot Earley (Roscommon) and John O'Keeffe (Kerry), when they were formally acknowledged by G.A.A. President, Aogán O Fearghail, in Croke Park last week.

Born in Boolavogue, Doran first excelled at hurling in the Nickey Rackard League, going on to win an All-Ireland Minor hurling medal in 1963, Under-21 hurling in 1965, and Senior hurling in 1968, while he also played on three All-Ireland final losing sides.

He was also a member of the Leinster inter-provincial hurling team winning seven Railway Cups, with his success also extending to two National League titles, before bringing the curtain down on a distinguished playing career when winning the All-Ireland Club Senior hurling title in 1989 with his beloved Buffers Alley.

He was chosen as Texaco Hurler of the Year in 1976, nine years after he had established his claims for a permanent place in the panel and won his first league medal. His vast collection of medals and trophies include every major honour in the game, among them three Leinster Club championship medals, and twelve county championship medals.

Throughout his career, the red haired full-forward made 40 inter-county championship appearances for Wexford, during a time when the championship was straight knockout, with no qualifiers, which demonstrates the consistency and standards he set over those years. He won just one All Star award which was in 1976, and a Cuchulainn award in 1967.

Having watched Tony play through his entire career both at club and inter-county level, one would relate to the big full-forward as inspirational rather than classical, stout-hearted rather than stylish, brave rather than opportunist.

My stand-out moment was in the second-half of that marvellous recovery against Tipperary in the 1968 All-Ireland final when he carried the Premier full-back line on his back as he drove towards goal to palm to the net, a goal that ignited a great comeback.

That was the stuff of legend and folklore as his efforts were always herculean, but he also possessed the charisma to match the role.

In what can best be described as a superb career, this great warrior took over the mantle of Nickey Rackard in that now famous No. 14 jersey with such distinction that it's fitting that he should be honoured in this manner by the G.A.A.

One of the great full-forwards of his era, Tony ignited the Croke Park crowd on provincial final day with that famous leap in the air, as he entered the playing arena with his colleagues, an often repeated act once he found the back of the opposition's net. Thanks for the memories Tony, and congratulations.

Meanwhile, on the Wexford managerial front the clubs were given an opportunity to nominate their preferred choices for the roles of hurling and football bosses. Only Oulart-The Ballagh, the home of Liam Dunne, along with the clubs of his managerial colleagues and one other, gave consideration with the nomination of Dunne and his backroom team. But alarmingly no nomination was received from clubs for the Senior football role.

Now both the hurling and football committees will take their search further before deciding on a recommendation to bring before the county management committee, prior to ratification being sought at County Board level.

The men in black will always be in the spotlight, particularly on the domestic scene. Well, from the games attended there was little of note with Justin Heffernan giving a polished performance in the Kilanerin v. Taghmon-Carmross IFC tie, achieving four out of five.

John Carton saw little of note to bother him in Castletown v. Marshalstown in Junior football with three out of five, while Francis Neville got one sending-off call wrong in the St. Patrick's v. Craanford IAFC game, leaving him with three out five.

It was an easy 60 minutes for Eddie O'Sullivan in the Tara Rocks v. Shelmaliers JFC game with three out five, while Derek Murphy handled the Kilmore v. St. Fintan's IFC local derby efficiently with four out of five.

Wexford People

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