bicycle ride from Laois to Limerick and all for hurling
At the age of 87, John Carroll, who lives in Church Road,
Knocklong, will make one of his many trips to support Garryspillane
on Sunday. A native of Emly, he has hurled with his native
parish and Knocklong.
A very active man, he is a regular at the monthly poetry
sessions in Holycross.
His renditions of his poems are all oral and not read from
books like the others who gather for this well established
social evening. And not only does he recite from memory,
he is also a dab hand at writing verse.
These have been published in local publications and have
now gone to far flying places. His party piece The
Kerrigan Brothers, a tale of two brothers in Australia
who lost everything in the horse racing game, is told when
there are visitors or some special person at the sessions.
John, will be at the match next Sunday with his sons, James
and Pat. They will be in the comfort of a Motor Car, but
it was far from this mode of transport that John was reared
in Emly after coming into the world in 1917.
From Emly National School he went to work on the farm of
Ballyfin College. His devotion to hurling and Emly was such
that he cycled from the farm in Laois to Emly, a stretch
of 90 miles and back again.
John, who was born in the townland of Drumcomogue, later
took up employment with the Ryans of Scarteen and later
with Mick ONeill of Hospital.
His last hurling match was in 1953, when he played inter
firm with ONeills and by chance his son, James, was
at the match in Hospital and was drafted to play beside
his father. He was living in Knocklong at this time, married
to Ellen Bourke of Knockcarron.
While he played with Knocklong in the Pat Sampson era, he
gave much of his time to the Garryspillane club formed in
1952. He saw sons wear the club colours and now his pride
and joy, his grandson, Rory is playing under 15 with the
His happiest moment in hurling may come next Sunday. He
will as usual be cheering for Garryspillane and is confident
that Davy Ryan will bring home the Daly Cup to Knocklong
and Garryspillane next Sunday.
Win or lose, John, a noted hurley maker in his time - he
still repairs sticks for the young lads in the district
in his spare time, make handles for forks and shovels for
local farmers. A man with a chequered life is John Carroll
who will be giving his full support to Garryspillane in
their quest for honours.
Courtesy of the Limerick Leader