Monument to our hurling stars

SOME of Kilkenny’s finest hurlers are causing a stir in Thomastown with locals and tourists stopping by to pay tribute to the life-sized mannequins in the lead up to Sunday’s All Ireland final.

SOME of Kilkenny’s finest hurlers are causing a stir in Thomastown with locals and tourists stopping by to pay tribute to the life-sized mannequins in the lead up to Sunday’s All Ireland final.

Seamus Quigley is the man responsible for the monument which has been erected at the end of Smithstown Lane. “It all started about 20 years ago. I would have known John Power at the time and I decided to make a statue of him behind the bar in Hoynes Pub in Newtown in Kells. He was standing there in his hurler’s outfit swinging a hurl,” he said.

“When I got married I moved to Thomastown and for the past ten years or so I have erected a monument at the end of Smithstown Lane. This year because Kilkenny have reached new heights I decided to erect nine mannequins, there are five on the bench and four behind them. Many of them are wearing distinctive helmets so it is easy to recognise them. Michael Fennelly, Brian Hogan, Tommy Welch, Richie Power, Henry Shefflin, Jackie Tyrell and Cillian Buckley are all there. I get a lot of help from neighbours and from my father-in-law Paul Stapleton.

“The town is buzzing with excitment at the moment. The monument is a popular tourist attraction and there are people come from all over to look at it and get their picture taken. I think Kilkenny will win this year and that the pressure will get to Galway,” he added.

The avid supporter, who is also chairperson of the South Kilkenny branch of The Irish Wheelchair Association will be up at the crack of dawn on All Ireland final day as he accompanies five wheelchair users to Croke Park to watch the match.