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REVEALED: The Galway sporting Mount Rushmore

It's another day and another county's sporting stars etched onto our eighth Mount Rushmore - with...

REVEALED: The Galway sporting...

REVEALED: The Galway sporting Mount Rushmore

It's another day and another county's sporting stars etched onto our eighth Mount Rushmore - with Galway's picks down for decision this morning.

Therer are plenty of Tribesmen and Tribeswomen that would be worthy of having their faces carved in granite, but Máire-Treasa Nic-Cheallaigh and Michael Lyster could only choose four on OTB AM.

There would be enough for separate gaelic football and hurling Mount Rushmores alone, and that's before you add in the likes of Christy O'Connor senior and junior from the golfing world, Eamonn 'Chick' Deacy from soccer, and Paul Hession for his exploits in athletics.

Johnny Ward appeared to put in a last-ditch call for former Ballygar and Galway football star Mattie McDonagh to be included - McDonagh is regarded as one of the county's greatest ever footballers, having won four All-Ireland medals in maroon and white.

However, Máire-Treasa had to make her decisions, with Michael Lyster having the power to change one of her choices at the end - here is the final Galway sporting Mount Rushmore:


HURLING - Joe Connolly

"People of Galway, we love you!"

Connolly's speech after captaining the Tribesmen to All-Ireland glory over Limerick in 1980 has gone down in GAA history, and Máire-Treasa says Connolly is fully deserving of his place on the mountaim.

"He is so much more than a hurler. I wasn't even born when he made that speech in 1980, and I know it word for word. People who don't speak Irish in Galway and all over the country know that speech word for word!

"He was the icon for that era of the early 80s when there was no joy in the world really! People had that feeling of unbridled joy that you were able to stand up in Croke Park, and release that feeling, that wave of positivity.

"Being from the west of Ireland was dismal, when you watch films like The Commitments and they paint it as a horrible place with no aspirations or anything to look forward to.

"Magnify that by a hundred if you were west of the Shannon, and even more so if you're an Irish speaker west of the Shannon... it [Connolly's speech] surpassed more than hurling.

"It showed the west was awake, Galway was awake, you were worth talking about. And also because Galway were that team that promised so much and never, never delivered.

"And finally, finally, in 1980 they got over it and to this day he can't walk down Shop Street without people wanting photographs with him!"

7 September 1980; Galway captain Joe Connolly lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup after victory over Limerick. All Ireland Hurling Final, Galway v Limerick, Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile


HURLING - Joe Canning

Máire-Treasa put forward a very compelling argument for the Portumna stars' inclusion on the Galway Mount Rushmore.

"I think Joe Canning is today's hurler. People who don't know hurling, be it from Galway or all over the country... you don't have to have any interest in GAA to know who he is.

"He is a magnificent hurler, to the point where it nearly goes against him. If he doesn't score 2-12 in a game people are saying Joe Canning did nothing!

"In the All-Ireland final of 2018, Limerick won fair and square, but Joe Canning, despite coming back from injury, nearly snuck Galway back into it.

"He does it all the time - he works hard on the ball and off the ball. He is more than a great hurler - when Joe Canning is playing, Galway people breathe a sigh of relief.

"He just comes across as a very nice person... he doesn't particularly court the limelight, but when you're that wonderful it's going to come upon you.

"I remember the All-Ireland final in 2017 when people were going around celebrating... he took time aside and stood with Tony Keady's kids. I just thought, there's a guy who understands Galway."

6 August 2017; Joe Canning of Galway celebrates scoring the winning point during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile



The Killererin clubman, and current Galway manager, was chosen as the man to represent many decades of excellent Galway senior football teams.

"A bit of panache and a bit of style, Pádraic Joyce had style. He still does! It's not that long ago I remember being in Pearse Stadium when Leitir Mór were playing Killererin and Pádraic was at the sunset of his career at this point.

"In the first-half he kept Killererin in the game because Leitir Mór couldn't handle him! He was in his early forties at this point.

"I remember 1998, I was a teenager... this Galway team burst out in front of us and we had the likes of Michael Donnellan, Pádraic Joyce, Ja Fallon, Tomás Mannion... these young men with a bit of personality.

"When he took over the footballers, there was this collective 'PJ has come home'. He is more than football - when you think of Galway you think of Pádraic Joyce."

27th September 1998. Galway's Padraic Joyce gets away from Kildare's Eddie McCormack as John Finn looks on. All Ireland Football Final, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture Credit: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE.


GOLF - Christy O'Connor, Jr

Former Connacht rugby star John Muldoon made Máire-Treasa's original four, but Michael Lyster made the decision to swap him out for golfing legend Christy O'Connor, Junior.

"This man was a legend in golf. Not only because of his achievement back in 1989 with the Ryder Cup and that famous shot against Fred Couples.

"Christy was a winner outside of that, even when he went on the senior tour - he won a million dollars on the seniors tour! He was just a fabulous guy!

"Apart from being a great golfer, he had that aura about him and he had that charisma. Christy was a fella who loved to sing a song and loved social company.

"I remember on one occasion having a couple of pints with Christy in Dublin. That evening as we were drinking away, he said 'Come on, come on, drink up your pint - we're heading to Cork. I have to look at a golf course down there, I'm helping to design a golf course, I'm flying down in a few minutes time.'

I said 'Christy, hang on a second, I'm not going to Cork, I have to be home for the dinner in an hour's time!' He was that kind of character, he just loved the bit of mischief. He was a great man for company and making people feel at ease in his company."

4 July 2005; Christy O'Connor Jr. during the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am. Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort, Adare, Co. Limerick. Picture credit; Kieran Clancy / SPORTSFILE


Who would make your top four? Let us know in the comments! 

Here is Nathan Murphy's selection of Mayo's Mount Rushmore from Episode One!

Here is Colm Boohig's selection of Cork's Mount Rushmore from Episode Two!

Here is Will O'Callaghan and Paul Rouse's selection of Offaly's Mount Rushmore from Episode Three!

Here is Shane Hannon and Gráinne McElwain's selection of Monaghan's Mount Rushmore from Episode Four!

Here is Diarmuid Lyng and Liam Griffin's selection of Wexford's Mount Rushmore from Episode Five!

Here is Neil Treacy and Jack Anderson's selection of Limerick's Mount Rushmore from Episode Six!

Here is Enda Coll and Kieran Cunningham's selection of Donegal's Mount Rushmore from Episode Seven!

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Read more about

Eoin Sheahan Galway Galway GAA Ger Gilroy Golf Mattie McDonagh Michael Donnellan Michael Lyster Mount Rushmore Máire-Treasa Nic-Cheallaigh Off The Ball Otb Am Padraic Joyce Pat Dolan Sport