IT WAS like John Hayes playing days all over again last night as Munster players got right behind the former prop’s book launch.
His partners in the front row - Jerry Flannery and Marcus Horan - packed down beside him once again in Clohessy’s. They were backed up Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan, Alan Quinlan and Anthony Foley.
Even the fancy boys in the backs - Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara and Keith Earls - came out to support the Cappamore legend.
John’s former Munster and Ireland coach Declan Kidney also attended the launch of The Bull: My Story, which is on sale from today.
In a tongue in cheek speech that had the crowds in stitches, Mick Galwey said ghostwriter, Tommy Conlon, must be a genius!
“To get a book out of John Hayes is a phenomenal achievement. We all thought he didn’t like doing interviews but little did we know he was taking down all these anecdotes!” said Mick.
The Kerryman’s first recollection of The Bull was as a “scrawny raw yoke” in the back pitch at Thomond. After he returned from New Zealand, Mick said John had put on three and half stone and had lost all his hair.
He revealed that the real reason John Hayes moved from the second row was because Noel “Buddha” Healy broke a finger trying to lift him!
On a serious note Mick said that John Hayes could not be replaced.
“There are few players as honest and committed as John Hayes. He always gave 110 per cent to the team. Bruff, Shannon, Munster, Ireland and the Lions owe him a huge debt,” said Mick, who rounded off his speech by thanking John for extending his career by being able to lift him in the line-out.
When it came for John to speak, the notoriously modest Cappamore man said it was the bit of the night he had been dreading.
He denied Mick Galwey’s allegation that he had been plotting a book all through his career.
“A book was suggested to me and I thought the story might be different. It was going to be true and Tommy Conlon really got it across the way I wanted. I hope people enjoy it,” said John, who thanked everyone who turned up last night, his family and his clubs.
Tommy Conlon said it was a pleasure to sit at the Hayes’ kitchen table in Cappamore and “like a lot of quiet fellows when he did speak, he spoke well and intelligently”.