Limerick’s Sean is even better than Kilkenny’s King Henry with 110 All-Irelands
KING Henry the ninth may have garnered all the attention in Croke Park last Sunday, but in a quieter corner of the national stadium, a Limerick man was breaking records of his own.
Croom’s Sean Condon was attending his 110th All-Ireland – his 54th hurling final.
The 77-year-old from Rathbranagh, Patrickswell - in the parish of Croom - attended his first ever All-Ireland in 1952 - the football final draw between Cavan and Meath.
“I was 17,” recalls Sean who went on to attend 55 more football finals.
While he describes each final as “special” in its own right, the high scoring final of ’63 between Kilkenny and Waterford stands out.
“Kilkenny won it by 4-17 to 6-8...imagine to score 6-8 and still lose,” he points out.
Despite attending an amazing 110 finals - he has a cabinet full of match programmes to prove it - Sean has missed a few along the way.
“Sometimes it’s hard enough to get tickets,” he says. “I missed the football finals of ’94,’96, and ’06 – couldn’t get tickets. And I missed the hurling finals of ’64 and ’91. I much prefer the hurling.”
For Sean, All-Ireland final day begins with breakfast.
“I fill up before I go. I wouldn’t worry about eating then at all for the rest of the day.”
He never has a fry and opts instead for a classic ham sandwich. Two of them in fact!
“I would have McCambridge’s bread. I first put honey on it and then butter or one of the spreads and then the cooked ham. I have two of those sandwiches before I head out.”
He gets the train up to Heuston from Limerick, usually on his own.
“I would have to get Mass. Sometimes I get it in Dublin, other times I get it here in my local church in Croom and I got it several times here in the Augustinians in Limerick.”
Sean always carries a radio – “a small little pocket radio” – to listen to the commentary of the game while in the stadium.
The only time he saw Amhran na bhFiann being sung from start to finish without anybody interruptions was the Armagh/Tyrone final in ’03. “There was complete silence,” he recalls.
Once the final whistle sounds, Sean makes his way back to Heuston to get the 6.25pm train back down to Limerick.
“I’ve been going to matches since I was seven or eight years old. It’s a tradition. There is no comparison. You have to be there.”
While he admits that Kilkenny are a “class act”, he says he has grown somewhat tired of seeing them take home the Liam McCarthy cup and would like to see another team come good for a change.
Despite reaching the phenomenal milestone of 110 finals, according to Sean “it’s nowhere near a record”.
“There was a fella at the All-Ireland two years ago, Micheal O’ Muircheartaigh remarked on it – he was 90 years and he had only missed one final since 1936 and that was the one played in New York in 1947.”
So is the chase on now to match him? “What I’m worried about now is getting the ticket for next year!” Sean laughs.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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