Where is he now?

Luke Connery

Luke Connery

Place of birth: 3 Black Mill Street, Kilkenny (a born Dicksboro man).

First adult competitive event: School sports. Second in the mile; second in long jump and he could remember the event he won.

Where: Nowlan Park

Sporting hero (as a youth):Sean Clohessy, Ollie Walsh, Pat Lalor.

Favourite sporting memory (not your own): Beating Tipperary in 1967 All-Ireland hurling final.

Personal sporting memory: Winning the All-Ireland basketball blitz in 1962. Winning the Oscar Traynor Cup for the first time ever in 1976.

Sporting hero now: Eoin Larkin, Henry Shefflin.

Sporting interests now: Golf (playing poorly) and watching hurling.

From 1 to 10, where do you rate your sport: Golf 8, hurling 11.

Did you like training: Loved it - every second.

What opponent caused you the greatest problems: In basketball Jack Nolan. In soccer, Mickie Murphy (Highview Athletic, Graignamanagh).

Brief History:

Luke Connery went to school in Kilkenny CBS, and instantly activated his interest in all sports, which were given copious air time in the school yard during breaks. Every sport under God’s firmament was thrown into the chaotic ring of discussion. He was an excellent athlete, given that he was taller by half in some cases to many of his contemporaries.

Eventually Luke took a huge interest in basketball and soccer, which was frowned upon by the teachers of the day.

He won two international caps with Ireland basketball at under–18 level. When we mentioned the word money, and expenses, Luke smiled at the memory.

“We were playing England in Liverpool,” he recalled. “I got a lift on a Brewery lorry to Dublin. My poor father had to give me a few bob pocket money. It was the middle of Winter, so my mother bought me a new overcoat. On my return, I had to make my own way home from Dublin.

“To make matters worse, if you wanted to hold on to your singlet, you had to pay for it. I played on the senior team in a tri-nations tournament in Belfast. I was picked up on the road by the Kerry men and brought to Belfast. God be good to Fr McGrath in St Canice’s and Tommy Martin, later the Mayor, they drove all the way up to Belfast and brought me home.”

Mickie Fitzpatrick also won an under-18 cap at the time.

Basketball was very strong in Kilkenny then. Dynamoes and Robert Emmetts were kings of the court, and were invited all over the country to tournaments. That lasted quite a while, and then it slumped a little.

“But there are great people doing great work now for the game. That young lad Seamus Walsh and his wife are great. Bill Brennan was superb too. Canice Kelly and the Reades’ kept it going for a very long time too. There is mighty efforts being made again by all of those people, and hopefully their hard work will bear fruit,” said Luke

Luke started out playing soccer with Freebooters, but eventually went over to Evergreen. He well remembers many of the lads that formed a tremendous bond for years on the pitch, and off it as well. He mentioned, among others, Algie Lanigan, Rusty Scanlon, Tommy Jordan, Mickie Power, Jim Treacy, Eugene Jordan, Liam ‘Chunky’ O’Brien, Larry Drennan, Jim McEvoy, Peadar Malone and JD ‘Galtee ‘Murphy.

In the 1966 Fit Remoulds All Star Awards (precursor of the Smithwick’s awards) Luke Connery received the award for basketball, presented by legendary RTE commentator, Micheál O’Hehir.

For your titillation, the other winners were Martin Meally (football), Tom Duggan (golf), Claire O’Hanrahan (camogie), Martin Coogan (hurling), Toddy Quinn (snooker and billiards), Donie O’Neill, Castlecomer (athletics), Paddy Ryan (administration, basketball), Paddy Johnston (referee), J.J. Gilmartin (service to handball), Joe Delaney (handball), Edwin Teehan, Castlecomer (rugby).

Barrie Henriques

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.