Another PPI Award for Terrace Talk - Sam Maguire Special

January 20th, 2015
by Weeshie Fogarty

The Sam Maguire Cup, I first laid my eyes on it exactly sixty two years ago this year. It was 1955 and Kerry had beaten Dublin in a wonderfully dramatic All Ireland final. I was a pupil in the old Monastery school in Killarney, a building which is now home to the Kerry Parents and Friends, a new school was built just across the road which remains as vibrant and active as ever in relation to educating young Killarney lads. However the one big difference between today and my time back then is all the teachers were Christen Brothers, now it's all lay men and women.

Back in the fifties football was the one dominant sport in the school however handball was also very popular and most of the brothers were huge followers of the Kerry team. And one thing remains the very same to day as it has been for generations of Mon boys, when Kerry win the All Ireland the Sam Maguire Cup is brought around to the schools of the county. And so it was Monday September 28th 1953 at around 11am as the feeling of anticipation was reaching fever pitch the big moment arrived. Two Killarney townies the late Tadghie Lyne and Johnny Culloty marched triumphantly into the largest class room in the school where close to one hundred cheering, whistling, shouting, clapping young boys awaited them.

Th volume of noise was simply unbelievable and the cause for the utter mayhem was the huge shinning, silver gleaming Sam Maguire Cup hoisted high above the heads of the two football heroes. It was one moment in time, one moment when all the traditions, all the history, all the belief, all the wonderful stories of warrior deeds in Croke Park were handed down to a new generation of Kerry youngsters. We did not realize it of course at the time but we were witnessing one of the great Secrets of Kerry, the handing down of a custom. It was a moment that remained forever etched in the memory. But more importantly of all we got a half day off and no lessons, pure bliss thanks to Mr Sam Maguire from the townland of Mallabraca near the town of Dunmanway Co Cork.

The Sam Maguire Cup, the symbol of the Gaelic Athletic Association and all it stands for in this country and indeed all over the world. It signifies greatness, success at the highest level, the fulfilment of boyhood dreams and much more. It has reached the summit of Carrauntoohil and Mount Brandon, has been paraded in Times Square new York and cities all over the world, it has its own seat on a plane when leaving the country and Kerry have won it more times than any other county. Kildare were the first winners in 1928.

And so last week it was announced by Croke Park that Radio Kerrys Monday evening two hour sports program aptly named Terrace Talk and now on air for an incredible nineteen years had been chosen as the winner of the prestigious Best 2014 GAA related Radio Program, its fourth time been honored by the McNamee judging panel. It is one of eleven awards presented annually to honour excellence in the area of communication, public relations and journalism, specifically to the activities of the Association. The awards were presented by GAA President Liam o Neill at a gala function in Croke Park last Saturday.

The award winning entry told the story of the famous cup and it all began strangely enough in Kilkenny city when Killarney man and great friend Patrick Mannix, a tour guide in Kilkenny Castle informed me that the silver smith who had been commissioned to make the new Sam Maguire was available to be interviewed re his specialised work. And so I met Dublin man the exemplary polite and courteous Des Byrne in the Marble city spend two delightful hours in his work shop and the foundations of a program were laid. Des a world renowned silver smith also crafted the Bishop Moynihan Cup won last year by Austin Stacks. His interview kick started the genesis of what was about to unfold over the next month.

Ciarán O' Regan my Terrace Talk producer and I sat down and drew up a list of GAA personalities who we felt could contribute to the project. Ciaran spoke with Jas Murphy, the oldest living Kerry winning Captain, about his memories of lifting the cup and how the Kerry team forgot him and left him behind in Dublin after they won the Sam Maguire. Deirdre Walsh well known voice on Radio Kerry who presented the winning program in her own beautiful easy style in my absence spoke to Kerry medal winners Liam Hassett, Mick Gleeson and to Sean Kelly ex GAA President, about his memories of the Sam Maguire. Joe Cassells the Meath man who accepted the new cup on 1988 also revived memories of that historic day in his life.

West Kerry of course has massive historic connections with the trophy and  Muiris Fenton spoke with Marian O' Flaherty about the cup going West, his memories of Sam, he speaks of his friend Paidi O' Shea and how actor, Tom Cruise, ended up lifting Sam Maguire himself! Marian presents Caint Chiarrai on Radio Kerry and is also the West Kerry reporter for this paper.

Ciaran O Reagan edited the work, coupled the interviews together, it was send off to Croke Park and Radio Kerry had won another All Ireland award on the back of Sam Maguire. It was a wonderful team effort and proved again that Radio Kerry and its highly dedicated and committed staff can take on and match the best in the land. Eileen Moynihan and Sinead Prendergast are two other behind the scenes highly valued members of Terrace Talk.

But what makes this latest national award more special than previous  others is the fact that only last October Terrace Talk had been the recipient of a PPI award as the best sports program in the thirty two counties. These prestigious PPI awards recognize the very best in Irish radio broadcasting and then to add a McNamee award in the one year constitutes something very unique and special for the station.

The Radio Kerry sports department under the guidance of Tralee man Sports Editor Joe o Mahoney is an integral part of Kerry sporting life. It too has won McNamee Awards in the past and irrespective of winning, losing or drawing as the fellow said the station in my humble opinion serves sport in this county especially the Gaelic Athletic Association above and beyond the call of duty. McNamee and PPI a double just like the Kerry minors and seniors last year In Croke Park, somebody up there likes us.

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