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WATCH:"He Saved My Bacon"- How A Dastardly Tommy Dowd Plan Accidentally Saved Glenn Ryan

WATCH:"He Saved My Bacon"- How A Dastardly Tommy Dowd Plan Accidentally Saved Glenn Ryan
By Conor Neville
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At an unusually bleak time for Kildare football, TG4 transported us back to an exciting and hopeful era for the county last night by repeating the Laochra Gael tribute to Glenn Ryan.

The documentary painted 90s football as a chivalrous and corinthian era when players intervened to prevent opponents getting sent off. Well, kind of. In this instance, it appears that Tommy Dowd's intervention backfired...

Ryan had a long senior career, beginning in 1991 and eventually ending in 2006. The longevity becomes even more impressive when one recalls, as Dermot Earley did, that Ryan was more or less always injured. Whether he played or not, he was injured.

After years and years in the wilderness in the 70s and 80s, Kildare rose to prominence after Mick O'Dwyer opted to make the county his special project. Under Micko Mark I, Kildare made a habit of losing to Dublin in Leinster Finals.

There followed a brief interval where Micko tottered off and Dermot Earley Snr. assumed the reins for two forgettable (and short) seasons. The Kerry messiah returned in 1997 and things really started to happen.

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While the four game 1991 saga remains top dog, the Meath-Kildare saga in 1997 is fondly remembered by those nostalgic for a time when the Leinster football championship was a worthwhile competition.

In the first minute of the game, Ryan tore his already strained quad muscle and didn't kick the ball for the rest of the game (in fairness he barely stood out among his teammates in that respect).

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Early on, he threw an elbow in the direction of Trevor Giles's head. Even the most tolerant of refs would be forced to acknowledge that it was a sure-fire sending off.

Then Tommy Dowd had a bold idea. He decided to implicate an innocent man, who just so happened to be Kildare's star midfielder, Niall 'Nuxer' Buckley.

I think the referee had his mind made up that he was going to send me off. And Tommy Dowd came in. And Tommy decided to tell the referee that he has the wrong man.

"It was Buckley. It's Buckley who should be getting the line."

I think it was more that Tommy would have preferred to see Buckley going off than me going off but he saved my bacon on that occasion.

In Ryan's telling, referee Carthage Buckley - the same man who reffed the Battle of Aughrim - was so unsettled by Dowd's intervention that he backed off from banishing any player. Ryan was booked and a free was awarded.

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Read more: Here's The Dublin '3rd String' Team Which Beat Kildare In Newbridge Yesterday

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