Puc Fado: Joe Connolly's memorable speech in the 1980 All-Ireland Final
It’s a few weeks until championship hurling really gets serious so until then we’ll be reliving some classic moments from the past, starting with one of the most memorable speeches in GAA history.
There have been some truly memorable All-Ireland Final victory speeches delivered from the steps of the Hogan Stand over the years, from Brian Dooher’s tribute to the late Cormac McAnallen to Sean Óg’s stirring speech following the 2005 decider, and going back a little further, Anthony Daly’s inspirational words following the Banner’s All-Ireland win in 1995.
Arguably though, the best of them all was Joe Connolly’s speech following the Tribesmen’s 2-15 to 3-9 victory over Limerick on the first Sunday in September, 1980. It is a speech still fondly remembered by Galway hurling fans, who haven’t been able to toast Liam McCarthy since 1988, when they won their third All-Ireland title of the decade and only the fourth in their entire history.
The scenes after the game were as jubilant as one would expect following any All-Ireland Final, but there were topical references aplenty, from captain Joe Connolly referencing the Pope’s famous quote during his visit to Ireland a year earlier to a sign in the crowd that read ‘Galway hit harder than Hurricane Flora’ in reference to the devastating hurricane that hit the Atlantic in the mid 60s.
If that wasn’t enough, Joe McDonagh, who would go on to become the President of the Association led the crowd in a rousing rendition of ‘The West’s Awake’ a song he would repeat in an appearance on 'Up For the Match' prior to last year’s All-Ireland Final with Kilkenny.
For a man who had just been through such a physically and mentally demanding occasion on the pitch, he wasn’t half able to hold a note afterwards.