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'Tom Crean was playing football on the ice!' | Mícheál Ó'Muircheartaigh

Tom Crean is unquestionably one of the great Kerrymen of all time - and Mícheál Ó'Muircheartai...



'Tom Crean was playing footbal...
Football

'Tom Crean was playing football on the ice!' | Mícheál Ó'Muircheartaigh

Tom Crean is unquestionably one of the great Kerrymen of all time - and Mícheál Ó'Muircheartaigh spoke about his place in Kingdom lore on this morning's OTB AM.

The Antarctic explorer, a native of Annascaul, left the family farm to enlist in the Royal Navy at the age of 15.

An iconic life followed - Crean was among those who spent 92 days drifting on the ice on Endurance before undertaking a journey in the ship's lifeboats to Elephant Island.

Legendary commentator Ó'Muircheartaigh, a great Kerryman himself, told Eoin and Ger about his admiration for Crean, as Eoin prepared to pick the Kerry sporting Mount Rushmore.

"Kerry is a great sporting county - only eight counties have won All-Ireland's in both football and hurling. That makes them a unique bunch.

"I know you could fill all the mountains in Kerry with great sporting names... Who could pick anyone connected with sport or adventure [other] than Tom Crean?

"I remember one time meeting Brian Mullins of Dublin, and straight away we didn't talk football, he said 'The greatest Kerry man ever born is Tom Crean. I've read the book, I've studied, I've looked for more information.'

"Tom Crean, on one of his three expeditions to Antarctica when the great boat, the Endurance, surrounded by ice... it had been crushed and crushed, it went down.

"Here they were left, and while they were wondering 'How will we get out of here?' Tom Crean was seen playing football on the ice in Antarctica! So he has to be put in, not only a sportsperson, but a great person."

British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13

Ó'Muircheartaigh added that he hopes one day the idea of carving a gaelic football Mount Rushmore in Kerry will become a reality.

"It's a wonderful idea and I think it's worth pursuing. It can be settled later where the centre will be, but I was delighted to hear about it.

"Kerry is a strange place, it's a unique place. They had great confidence in themselves, and confidence is a great thing. Hope is a great thing - Kerry always had those two features.

"The top of Carrauntoohil mightn't be a bad place, but it's an idea that should be pursued. Kerry is a different place.

"One thing neatly put one time by Bryan MacMahon, when he was talking about Kerry he said 'You cannot beat the Kingdom sweet for horse or hound or man.'

"The story of the Kingdom - there's a lot more years in it yet."

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Bryan MacMahon Eoin Sheahan Ger Gilroy Kerry Kerry GAA Micheal O'muircheartaigh Off The Ball Otb Am Tom Crean