THE launch of one of the most eagerly awaited books for many years in Kilkenny was held in Langton’s on Thursday night.
The Godfather of Modern Hurling: The Fr Tommy Maher Story - How the Kilkenny Priest Drew a New Blueprint for the National Game by Enda McEvoy was attended by many of the most famous names in hurling to win senior All Ireland medals under Mons Maher including Eddie Keher, Johnny McGovern, Seamus Cleere, Paddy Moran, Jim Treacy, Martin Treacy, Pa Dillon, Fr Tom Murphy, Tom McCormack, Mick Crotty, Noel Skehan, Pat Henderson and Kieran Purcell. Also present were two who didn’t win an All Ireland medal under Mons Maher, Charlie Carter and Martin Comerford. It was a double celebration for the McEvoy famiy as enda’a parenrts Author’s parents, Breda and Dan McEvoy of Michael Street, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. And his sisters Mary and Elizabeth, plus niece Clodagh, home on holidays from New York were also there.
Former hurling stars Donie Nealon (Tipperary), Frankie Walsh (the last Waterford man to captain an All Ireland-winning team in 1959, when they beat Kilkenny in a replay) and Andy Gallagher (Offaly) were also present.
And there was a large contingent from Mullinavat, where Mons Maher served for many years where he was an immensely popular and progressive parish priest. Mons Maher coached them to win the 1984 Kilkenny junior championship, their first title since 1939.
Among the locals: Tommy Duggan, John Dunphy, Jim Conway, Ned Haberlin, Mossy Murphy and Kilkenny city publican John McDonald.
New mayor Sean O hArgain, was there along with his predecessor David Fitzgerald, and Fine Gael TD, John Paul Phelan. Former TD Kieran Crotty and former senator Mick Lanigan, who was Kilkenny’s physical trainer under TM from 1967 to 1978 also attended.
Mons Maher’s family were also there in force and his niece, Stacy Herlihy spoke of their pride in the great man.
There was a large contingent from St Kieran’s College, where Mons Maher was president from 1976 to 1983. Among them were: Joe Lambe, Tommy Lanigan, Dick McEvoy, Nicky Cashin and Mons Michael Ryan, PP Castlecomer. Many of his past pupils from St Kieran’s, where he taught maths before becoming president attended including Ollie Ryan of Inistioge; Liam Hinphey from Dungiven in Derry (formerly of the College Road) and his brother Colm, and Mick Carroll from Thurles (brother of the late Ted, former Kilkenny GAA secretary).
Kilkenny GAA was represented by Brendan O’Sullivan, Jim Walsh (Slieverue), former GAA president Nickey Brennan along with Jim Freeman and John Mackey of the Kilkenny Supporters Club
MC was Ned Quinn, secretary of Kilkenny County Board and speakers were Stacy Herlihy on behalf of the family, PJ Cunningham from Ballpoint Press, Paul Kinsella (chairman of Kilkenny County Board), the author and Liam O’Neill, president of the GAA. The book has been extremely well received and is a must for anyone with an interest in hurling.