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'The Lads Searched The Sideline, The Stand - They Were Mad To Get It'

'The Lads Searched The Sideline, The Stand - They Were Mad To Get It'

Late in January's All-Ireland club hurling semi-final against St Thomas, Borris-Ileigh's Brendan Maher scored a memorable point with a broken hurley from near the sideline at the Gaelic Grounds. It put his side up by four as they set up a date with Ballyhale Shamrocks in the final.

The hurley with which Maher scored had resembled a shinty stick. In Borris' great adventure, it would have been a valued memento, but post-match Maher was unable to locate it.

"After I scored the point, I got a bit carried away with myself and I just threw the hurley over my shoulder into the open stand in the Gaelic Grounds," Maher told the GPA's Players' Voice podcast.

"After the match then I was saying, ‘God, I’d love to get that hurley’. At the time I was thinking I might be able to fix it. As time went on, I thought it'd be just nice to have it.

"We couldn’t find it, no sign of it. A few of the lads searched around the sideline, inside in the stand - no sign of it. A couple of weeks passed and even some of the lads got onto the Gaelic Grounds to see if the groundsman wouldn’t mind having a look again. They were mad to get it, just to have it. I had given up on it."

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Towards the end of February, Maher got a letter from a young fan from Gort.

"You get letters from young fellas saying 'You're my favourite player. I admire you, have you any tips?' I thought it was one of those letters.

"I was reading down through it. He said he was 12-years-of-age and 'I was at the St Thomas' game where you scored with the broken hurley and I actually have your hurley'.

"He said that when the final whistle blew one of the St Thomas’ lads hit the ball in frustration out towards the open stand. He said, ‘I ran to get the ball and I spotted your hurley up in the open stand so I picked it up and took it home’.

"I was there thinking, ‘How am I going to ask him for it back?’ I wrote a letter back explaining I was delighted that he found it because we had been looking for it and I said I would send on a hurley and a few signed bits from Bourke Sports. I left my number and said, ‘If you want to give me a call, I’ll meet you with the stuff’.

"The letter was sent and his mam rang me and she was all apologies. She said, ‘Oh my God, I never realised that you’d want the hurley back’. So she offered to give it back. I said, ‘If he wants to hold onto it, he can hold onto it but I obviously would like to have it back’.

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"We were arranging to meet but then this lockdown happened so we haven’t actually met. I’ll hopefully be able to get it back at some stage during the summer.

"In fairness, I didn’t ask for it back technically, I just said 'I’d love to have it back!'"

Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

See Also: Brendan Devenney Picks His Donegal Team Of The Last 30 Years

See Also: Vindicated 'Normal People' Goalkeeper On His Incredible Save

PJ Browne
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