A new season of TG4's Laochra Gael series will begin airing next week. Each episode of the show focuses on a Gaelic games player, telling the story of their lives on and off the pitch.
This season will feature Antrim hurler Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton, Dublin footballer Michael Darragh MacAuley, Laois footballer Sue Ramsbottom, Limerick hurler Joe Quaid, Galway footballer Kieran Fitzgerald, and Derry footballer Johnny McGurk.
The series is produced by NemetonTV, the independent production company from An Rinn in the Waterford Gaeltacht which has produced much of TG4’s acclaimed sports coverage.
WE ARE BACK ??
— Laochra Gael (@Laochra_Gael) January 6, 2022
New Laochra Gael season
Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton (Antrim) - 13th January 9.30pm
Laochra Gael starts with the extraordinary story of Antrim hurler, Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton. As a boy, Sambo suffered exclusion because of his speech impediment. He found release on the playing field, but the life of a hurler was perilous in the North in the eighties. Because of his fame as a player, he was targeted for assassination by the UDA. In spite of all of this, Sambo became the heartbeat of the team that pulled off the biggest shock in the history of Gaelic Games, a team that will be remembered forever.
Director: Cormac Morel. Participants: Terence McNaughton; Ursula McNaughton; Ciarán Barr; Declan Bogue; Jarlath Burns; Liam Fennelly; Dáithí Regan; Pat Fleury
Michael Darragh MacAuley (Dublin) - 20th January 9.30pm
The second programme tells the story of Dublin footballer, Michael Darragh MacAuley. From background and style, MacAuley was not the typical GAA player, and always defied convention or description. He endured tragedy in his youth with the loss of his mother, and again when his father died a year after he won his first championship. He overcame his troubles to become the heartbeat of the greatest team of all time. He retired with 9 All-Ireland medals in his pocket and a vision to spread the benefits of sport across the city that he loves.
Director: Ronan O’Donoghue. Participants: Michael Darragh MacAuley; Dara Nelson; Paul Flynn; Tom Parsons; Sean Moran; Gary Sice.
Sue Ramsbottom (Laois) - 27th January 9.30pm
Laochra Gael continues with one of the greatest players in the history of Ladies Football, Sue Ramsbottom. A child prodigy, she played senior football at just 12 years of age. Sue suffered heartbreak on the field time and time again, but in 2001 she finally fulfilled her dream of winning an All-Ireland medal. Six years after winning the All-Ireland with her, Sue’s life-long friend, Lulu Carroll passed away after a battle with cancer. After over twenty years at the top of her sport and a military career across the world, Sue, with her two daughters, is now back in her beloved home county, Laois.
Director: Paul Jenkins. Participants: Sue Ramsbottom; James Ramsbottom; Connie Conway; Daragh Ó Conchúir; Caoimhe Burke; Emma Burke; Máire Ní Bhraonáin; Michael Ryan; Ceannfort Caroline Burke.
Joe Quaid (Limerick) - 3rd February 9.30pm
With a famed surname, Joe was destined to wear the Limerick jersey. And indeed, he inherited the goalkeeping post from his hero, his cousin Tommy. Joe was made a scapegoat for the most notorious defeat in history in 1994. Despite the criticism, he more than held his own among the greatest generation of goalkeepers ever. He has faced horrific injury and the tragic death of Tommy. But throughout it all, he has proudly carried the Quaid legacy, which has now fallen to Tommy’s son, Nickie.
Director: Sarah McCoy. Participants: Joe Quaid; Gerry Quaid; TJ Ryan; Mark Foley; Brendan Cummins; Pat Fleury; Michael Moynihan; Nickie Quaid.
Kieran Fitzgerald (Galway) - 10th February 9.30pm
Kieran burst onto the scene in 2001, winning the All-Ireland and an All-Star at just 20 years of age. A few years later, he was dealt a crushing blow when his girlfriend, Mairéad Meehan, lost her battle with cancer. Under a cloud of grief following Mairéad’s passing, Kieran’s love for the game declined. He eventually found rejuvenation with his club, Corofin, performing heroics to win an extraordinary three club All-Irelands in a row in his late thirties.
Director: Cormac Morel. Participants: Kieran Fitzgerald; Emer Flaherty; Michael Meehan; Gary Sice; Stephen Rochford; Sean Moran; Máire Ní Bhraonáin
Johnny McGurk (Derry) - 17th February 9.30pm
For the series finale of Laochra Gael comes the story of the rise and fall of Derry footballer Johnny McGurk. Johnny will always be remembered in his home county as the man who kicked the winning point against Dublin, on the way to the first and only All-Ireland win in Derry’s history. When he retired from playing, though, Johnny’s life fell apart. In the grips of a gambling addiction, Johnny stole over £500,000 from his employers. When he was found out, his marriage ended, he faced public shame and finally he was sent to prison.
Director: Ronan O’Donoghue. Participants: Johnny McGurk; Helen O'Neill; Tony McGurk; Henry Downey; Paul John McCormack; Declan Bogue; Jarlath Burns