THE LATE Páidí Ó Sé has inspired a group of Limerick hurling fanatics to celebrate the great 1973 panel who are all still alive.
John Franklin, Knockane travelled to Ventry on December 30 with his son Jack and friends Danny Beary, Pallasgreen and Tom O’Dwyer, Doon.
“We paid our respects at Páidí Ó Sé’s grave and on the way home we were saying how sad it was that he had passed away at such a young age.
“I said it would be much better to meet fellows while they are alive,” said Mr Franklin.
The massive hurling fan, who goes to all Limerick’s matches, was looking at a picture of the 1973 All-Ireland champions in Danny Beary’s GAA museum.
“We were talking about them, what a fantastic team they were and we remarked that of a panel of 21 that they were all still alive,” said Mr Franklin.
A couple of days later he came up with the plan to start Friends of Limerick ‘73.
“I got three replica 1973 jerseys from Retro GAA and we set about making contact with all the players.
“We are going to meet them all and get them signed. All the players I’ve written to came back to me and they think it is a great idea,” said Mr Franklin, who has even written a poem. See page 16.
They will get the three jerseys, hurleys donated by current hurler Niall Maher and sliothars signed by the legendary 1073 team. One jersey will be auctioned in June and the other items will be prizes in a monster charity raffle.
The only obstacle they haven’t overcome thus far is they can’t track down one of the players.
“There is 21 on the panel in the match programme from the day.
“One man we can’t find is Andy Dunworth who is in America. He is the only one we haven’t got an address for.
“He was originally from Banogue but he played for Claughaun - he was a sub forward in 1973, a fine hurler. If anyone has contact information for Andy in America please let me know on 0872248157,” said Mr Franklin, who is joined on the committee by Danny Beary, Knockane; Paddy Coleman, Doon; Ger O’Connell, Pallasgreen; Eibhear O’Dea, Kilteely; James O’Connor, Knockane and Tom O’Dwyer, Doon.
They plan a number of fundraising events beginning with the launch in Moore’s Bar in Doon on February 23.
Proprietor, Anna Moore, is a sister of corner-back in 1973, Willie. All the cash will go to the Daughters of Charity in Lisnagry, MS Limerick and Milford Hospice.
“All the money will be divided equally between them. They are three very worthwhile charities,” said Mr Franklin.
Raffle lines start from just €2 and will be sold at matches and at the launch in February 23.
They well also be on sale at a quiz in the Idler Bar in Knockane on March 2; a cake sale in the old library in Doon on March 3; a “brain of Limerick” quiz in the Woodlands Hotel on April 4; quiz in Ahern’s Bar, Kilteely on April 13; 5km run/walk in Knockane on April 27, culminating with the auction and raffle in Kilteely on June 7.
Mr Franklin and his fellow committee members started doing their rounds to meet the players and get their jerseys signed on Monday night.
Mr Franklin admitted this is an added bonus to raising money for charity.
“That’s the highlight for me, to meet all the lads and hear all the old stories,” said Mr Franklin.
They started in defence with Tournafulla’s Seamus Horgan. He even showed them his 1973 goalie’s jersey.
Staying at the back they headed to Bruree to meet corner-back Jim O’Brien, who showed them his well deserved all-star award. His son James was captain in Limerick’s last All-Ireland appearance in 2007.
They rounded off the night with a visit to Mossie Dowling’s Kilmallock home. He pulled out his hurley from the day.
While Mr Franklin Friends of Limerick ‘73 idea is proving a big hit he sincerely hopes it won’t be replicated in 2023 when it is fifty years.
“Let’s hope we have new Limerick legends in the mean-time,” said Mr Franklin. Follow Friends of Limerick ‘73 on Facebook and Twitter.