All-Ireland semi-final umpire gifted with glasses

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John Higgins (left) presenting the glasses to Morgan Darcy

PATRICKSWELL man John Higgins had the perfect Christmas gift for the umpire who failed to spot a decisive 65 during this year’s All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-final.

Without the slightest hint of sour grapes, John gave umpire and old friend Morgan Darcy what all Limerick hurling supporters felt he needed on July 27 last during their crushing defeat to Kilkenny in Croke Park – a pair of glasses.

Although ‘The Cats’ were deserved winners on the day, that moment deep in injury time, which was replayed long after the game, continues to prick many a Limerick supporter.

Sadly, no umpire caught what should have been a 65, and would have given Limerick the chance of extra-time, and a much-needed lifeline.

John Higgins from Limerick, who worked as an inspector with CIE for many years, decided to have a bit of fun at an annual Christmas get together for former staff, with the man responsible for the infamous blunder.

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Morgan Darcy from Moycullen in Galway, who was umpire at the Kilkenny posts when that crucial decision was missed, worked as a train driver and inspector for CIE for over 40 years. Darcy’s son-in-law Alan Kelly was also referee during that fateful All-Ireland semi-final clash last July.

During a reunion of former CIE veterans at the Ashling Hotel in Dublin last week, John presented his former colleague and old friend with a pair of spectacles.

“Morgan took it in the spirit it was intended. He took it in good faith. He enjoyed it. He’s not a sensitive fella and loves a good ball hop. He wouldn’t give a fiddle,” John told the Limerick Post.

The Patrickswell man spoke very fondly of his old CIE pal, despite his hand in Limerick’s All-Ireland double hopes being quashed this summer.

“He is well into his seventies and still plays handball every week. He is an awful terror. He got a great kick out of the glasses, as did all our former colleagues on the day.”