THE 19th season of TG4’s renowned series Laochra Gael returns to the screen on Thursday March 25 for six new episodes.
The series which already featured six extraordinary Laochra with genuine star quality took a break in early February but is now returning with the remaining six Laochra.
While there are no Limerick representatives in this season, the next six episodes will feature Eoin Larkin, Pete McGrath, Briege Corkery, Bernard Flynnn, Sean Cavanagh and Liam Griffin in that order beginning with Larkin’s episode on Thursday on TG4 at 9.30pm.
The series reveals deeper, fresh and sometimes unexpected insights into the lives of these icons. While their sporting careers continue to provide the backdrop to the story, the series travels well beyond the four white lines. Gripping personal storylines will compel viewers to travel towards territory unique to the GAA television landscape.
Laochra Gael returns with the story of Kilkenny hurler, Eoin Larkin. Hurling has been at the core of his life since he was a boy. And the game was vital in maintaining Eoin’s bond with his father after his parents’ separation. After successful years underage, Eoin became a cornerstone of the greatest team of all time, winning 8 All Ireland medals and Hurler of the Year. But in the background he was struggling. Towards the end of his career, his mental health declined. He kept his suffering a secret, until he received a phone call from Brian Cody that changed his life.
Pete played football in the North in the seventies, a time when Gaelic Games was a dangerous pursuit. As a teacher and trainer, he instilled in young people that sport was the best way to express their nationalism. As manager of Down, he brought the Sam Maguire across the border for the first time since the sixties, inspiring an Ulster Takeover in football. The cloud of violence was always present, but for a time Pete McGrath and the Down footballers united the province, and the country.
Eighteen All Ireland medals and sixteen All Stars, Dual-Star Briege has won more than anyone in the history of Gaelic Games. She accepted two Sportswoman of the Year awards with humility and shyness. She was the ultimate team player. The life and soul of the dressing room, the lynchpin on the field, Briege collected her last All Ireland six months after giving birth to her son Tadhg. In the conversation about the greatest of all time, Briege Corkery is at the centre.
Despite being small from the day he was born, Bernard was at the centre of the Meath football revival under Seán Boylan. As part of a legendary full forward line, Bernard provided some of the greatest individual displays of any forward in his era. Unbeknownst to anyone, he was struggling the whole time. He paid dearly for it in retirement when his body completely gave up. And while he was suffering physically, his entire business collapsed overnight. It was then that Bernard learned the true meaning of survival.
Seán overcame his early challenges with nutrition to become one of the most accomplished athletes of his era. He put himself under incredible pressure. Insecurity became a driving force, and he came through the tragedies that were visited upon the team to win three All Ireland titles. Uncompromising on the field and in life, Seán has had his share of criticism. But nobody bothers Seán more than Seán Cavanagh, one of the most fascinating characters in modern sport.
For the Series Finale of Laochra Gael comes the story of Liam Griffin. He was inspired by the Rackards and their likes as he grew up, but Wexford hurling was in dire straits when Liam was made manager in 1995. It went from bad to worse from the start with heavy defeats and controversy. In his second year as manager, unbeknownst to anyone he would be stepping down as soon as Wexford were out of the championship because of his wife Mary’s illness. As it happened, they went all the way in 1996. He wasn’t there for long but Liam Griffin’s legacy will live forever.
This new season’s batch of GAA Legends already included Kevin Cassidy who lost out on an All Ireland medal because of his contribution to a book.
Ryan O’Dwyer, who was on the cusp of leading the Dublin hurlers to glory, before he cost them an All Ireland title.
Thérèse Maher, who finally fulfilled her destiny having lost five All Ireland Camogie Finals.
Roscommon’s Shane Curran, one of football’s great characters, and the prototype of the modern playmaking goalkeeper.
Johnny Pilkington, the heartbeat of the mighty Offaly hurlers of the 1990s, and one of the game’s greatest characters.
And Dermot Earley, who showed extraordinary courage in the face of crippling injuries, cancer and the death of his father. These can currently be viewed on the TG4 Player.Twelve outstanding Gaels. Twelve remarkable personal stories.