02 Dec 2021

VIDEO: Freeman of Kilkenny City talks about moment Muhammad Ali tried to hit him with hurley

"I can drive sheep up High Street"

Eddie Keher appeared on TV3's The Six O'Clock Show yesterday evening and discussed everything from what the Civic Honour of being Freeman of Kilkenny City means to when Muhammad Ali started fencing with him with hurleys. 

In February, the hurling legend was granted the Freedom of Kilkenny City in front of family, friends and colleagues; as over 100 people made their way to Kilkenny Castle for the ceremony. 

The Rower-Inistioge man began his acceptance speech with a disarming and warm admission when he said: “The only experience I had like this, I think, was in a dressing room before an All-Ireland final, so bear with me.”

When asked on the TV3 chat show what it actually means and if he can park anywhere he likes, Eddie said: "I can drive sheep up High Street, I'm told. 

"It was a wonderful function in Kilkenny Castle which is spectacular."

Speaking about when he met the boxing icon Ali, Eddie said: "I was a fan of his all along. I got this opportunity, I was working in AIB in Capel Street at the time and I got a phone call to know would I go out to the hotel where he was training. 

"They were doing a sort of publicity thing. It was before the '72 All-Ireland, that we were taking part in. I couldn't believe my luck to go out and meet the great man. 

"He was out running. Then the great man walked in and I didn't know what to expect. We know the television Muhammad Ali. But he was quiet, reserved."

Eddie was introduced to Ali as a hurler and the boxer said: "I saw that game on TV, that's a tough game."

Speaking on the programme yesterday, Eddie thought: "I was thinking of him going in with Sonny Liston or Joe Frazer in boxing."

When Eddie went out to teach him some hurling skills, Ali said: "Let's put on a show for these guys," and yesterday, Eddie added: "He started fencing with the hurl trying to hit me. I was lucky I had some experience playing Tipperary."

Eddie and indeed his wife Kay are hugely active in the local community, Eddie also was co-founder of the No Name Club (in 1979) - which is now a fantastic nationwide club.

The remarkable man has given a great deal to Kilkenny on and off the field and he also sings in the Inistioge Church Choir and is a great golfer.

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