in the spotlight
Eight GAA icons to feature in new series of Laochra Gael
The 21st season of the show starts with an episode on Joe Canning on 26 January.

Collage Maker-16-Jan-2023-12.56-PM Joe Canning, Anne Dalton and Tom Parsons will all feature.

GAELIC GAMES GREATS from Galway, Kilkenny, Kerry, Cork, Mayo, Tipperary, Waterford and Donegal will all feature in the new series of Laochra Gael.

Now in its 21st season, Laochra Gael will be back on screens on Thursday, 26 January and will begin with an episode on Galway hurling great, Joe Canning.

The series will continue with a new star under the spotlight each week. Former Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony, Kilkenny camogie legend Anne Dalton, Tom Parsons of Mayo, Waterford’s Áine Wall, Tipperary’s Liam Sheedy, Donegal’s Anthony Molloy and Noel O’Leary of Cork will have episodes dedicated to their incredible sporting careers.

Below is a short summary of what to expect in the new series, which is produced by NemetonTV in An Rinn in the Waterford Gaeltacht.

joe-canning-scores-the-opening-score-from-a-side-line-ball James Crombie / INPHO Joe Canning in action for Galway. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Joe Canning (Galway) – 26 January, 9.30pm 

The 21st series of Laochra Gael returns with the story of Galway hurler, Joe Canning. Joe was marked for greatness from the start. He carried the burden of being the chosen one that would end the Galway hurling famine. Year after year, however, they fell short. Thanks to the magic he weaved on the field, Joe became the most famous player in the country, and learned harsh lessons about the scrutiny that comes with that fame. With the entire country fixated on Joe’s quest to win the All Ireland he deserved, all he ever wanted was to make his family proud.

aidan-omahony James Crombie / INPHO Kerry legend Aidan O'Mahony. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Aidan O’Mahony (Kerry) -  2 February, 9.30pm

The 21st series of Laochra Gael continues with the story of Kerry footballer, Aidan O’Mahony. He overcame chronic health problems in his youth to take his place on one of the greatest teams of all time. But when he was in his prime, he became embroiled in controversy as the first GAA player to fail a drugs test. His mental health deteriorated and after a spell in a treatment centre, he faced the greatest challenge of his life- to rediscover his purpose and his love of the game. He found both in a promise he made when his father passed away.

sarah-spellman Bryan Keane / INPHO Former Kilkenny camogie star Anne Dalton. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Anne Dalton (Kilkenny) - 9 February, 9.30pm

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Kilkenny camogie legend, Anne Dalton. Having lost in her first three All Ireland Finals, Anne finally reached the mountain top in 2016. After that victory, incredibly, she lost the next three finals in a row. Bloodied but unbowed, Anne persisted, building a reputation as one of the all-time greats of the game. Salvation eventually came in 2020 when the Cats won the championship, with Anne’s wife, former Waterford player Karen Kelly, and their three children cheering her on from their home.

tom-parsons Tommy Dickson / INPHO Tom Parsons of Mayo. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Tom Parsons (Mayo) -  16 February, 9.30pm

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Mayo footballer, Tom Parsons. Tom came to the fore in 2008, becoming a star for the Mayo seniors while still in his teens. But when he was dropped in 2011, his world fell apart. He came back in 2014 and was at the heart of the renowned rivalry with the Dubs. Whatever heartache he felt from the defeats in those clashes, it was put into perspective when he suffered a horrific injury in 2018. Although he was told there was a chance he may not walk again, he miraculously took to the field again in 2019.

aine-wall-and-nuala-oshe-3101999 Donna McBride / INPHO Donna McBride / INPHO / INPHO

Áine Wall (Waterford) - 23 February, 9.30pm

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Waterford footballer, Aine Wall. She came to the fore with her club, Ballymacarbry, but it was with the county that she became a star. With Áine spearheading the attack, Waterford won 5 All Irelands in the 90s, bringing unprecedented success to the Déise faithful. On top of that, as a result of the heroics of Áine and her friends, the sport , which had never even been broadcast when she started out, gained attention and respect. One of the greatest ever footballers, who revolutionised Ladies Football.

liam-sheedy Tommy Dickson / INPHO Tipperary's Liam Sheedy. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Liam Sheedy (Tipperary) - 2 March, 9.30pm

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Tipperary’s Liam Sheedy. After the death of his father when he was two years old, Liam sought refuge on the hurling field, playing for his county at all levels. But he was little known when he became county manager. The team was in the doldrums, and nobody expected that Sheedy would win the championship and put an end to Kilkenny’s reign. The hurling world was shocked when he stepped down after the historic win, and again when he returned ten years later, winning another championship, again against the Cats.

anthony-molloy-d-paul-bealin-d-1992 © INPHO / Billy Stickland Anthony Molloy in the 1992 All-Ireland final. © INPHO / Billy Stickland / Billy Stickland

Anthony Molloy (Donegal) - 9 March, 9.30pm

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Donegal footballer, Anthony Molloy. Growing up in a remote region, football was always at the centre of Anthony’s life. But after serious injury and a lack of success with the county, he emigrated to America in the 80s. When his mother fell ill, he returned home. The football enticed him back, and he fought through the pain to bring Sam Maguire to Donegal for the first time ever in 1992. Between the celebrations and retirement however, he developed a drink problem, and so he embarked on a battle that continues to this day.

noel-oleary Ryan Byrne / INPHO Cork's Noel O'Leary. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Noel O’Leary (Cork) - 16 March, 9.30pm

For the Series Finale of Laochra Gael comes the story of Cork footballer, Noel O’Leary. Noel is known as a true hard man of football. And throughout the epic rivalry between Cork and Kerry, it was the clash of Noel and Paul Galvin that drew the most attention. But behind the public image, Noel had been through unthinkable tragedy. In the space of a year and a half at the turn of the century, he lost his best friend, his cousin and his brother. He overcame these terrible losses, finding a solace of sorts when he won the All Ireland in 2010.

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel