First year pupil Eoghan Kelleher with Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash, Gearoid Hegarty, Lorcan Lyons, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Tom Morrissey Picture: Keith Wiseman
SIX MEN strode down the very same corridors of Castletroy College that they did a few years ago as boys.
Limerick hurlers Dan and Tom Morrissey, Gearoid Hegarty, Barry Nash, Lorcan Lyons and Andrew La Touche Cosgrave were all dressed in a uniform of green zip up Limerick tops.
It was eerily quiet. There wasn’t a boy or girl to be seen which is rare in a school of over 1,200 pupils. They were all together patiently waiting for their heroes to arrive with the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
Dan Morrissey strode through the final door into the gallery of the auditorium and lifted the Cup high in the air. The cheers that went up from the masses below rivalled Croke Park on All-Ireland final day. Indeed, signs for the Davin, Cusack, Hogan and Nally Stands adorned the four walls. The Cranberries’ Dreams being played added to the atmosphere.
At this stage, the hurlers are well used to homecomings but this was special for them to come back to where they spent a large chunk of their formative years. After a few minutes of soaking it up and posing for photos they returned to the solitude of the corridors, went down the stairs and made their way into the auditorium. The place erupted again.
They were welcomed by teacher and an MC to rival Marty Morrissey, Trevor Griffin.
First up on stage was Limerick’s giant half back, Dan Morrissey. Trevor can recall a teacher telling him years ago that he had a “good hurler from Ahane” in first year.
“He said he had all the skills but he needs to grow a small bit. So anybody in first year who is a bit small this is what you could look like in a few years time,” said Trevor.
Gearoid Hegarty said it was a “massive honour” and thanked all the pupils and staff for an “unbelievable reception”.
He had some words of advice for any aspiring young hurlers, both boys and girls.
“If you want something in life, no matter what it is, put in the hard work and you will be able to achieve it,” said Gearoid.
Tom Morrissey, Lorcan Lyons, Barry Nash and Andrew La Touche Cosgrave all got resounding roars when they took to the stage.
The MC, Trevor, could be in line for extra teaching duties as he welcomed the principal, Padraig Flanagan, by saying, “I could be wrong but I think he is the first Roscommon man to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup!”
Padraig said the six guys behind him were small little boys a few years ago with “dreams, hopes and ambitions”.
“They are stars on the hurling field, they are successful personally and they are nice guys. Those are three aspirations for every one of you boys and girls aged between 12 and 18 – to be successful in your life, have some hobby and you mightn’t be an All-Star but you can be a star, and most importantly of all is that you are a nice person and you treat people with respect.
“These six guys are an absolute credit to their families, to themselves, to their clubs and to their former school, and they are an example to all of you that you can achieve whatever it is,” said Padraig.
The school had a surprise for the six. A framed Castletroy College jersey with their name and All-Ireland champions on each one was presented to each player. As three of the hurlers have siblings in the school they were the ideal ones to hand over the jerseys.
Diarmaid Hegarty, Ronan Lyons and Laura Nash presented Gearoid, Lorcan and Barry respectively with their framed mementoes.
Andrew La Touche Cosgrave received his from fellow Monaleen man Joe Fitzgerald. Dan Morrissey got his from Ahane camogie player Caoimhe Hackett.
One of the biggest cheers of the Friday afternoon went up when it was announced that first year student and massive Limerick hurling supporter, Eoghan Kelleher would present Tom Morrissey with his jersey.
The broad smile on Eoghan’s face as he returned to his place in the crowd summed up a day in Castletroy College that will live long in the memory.
See page 42 of L2 for more photographs