It is arguably the most iconic sports photograph in the Irish Examiner archives. And, 64 years on, we’ve finally tracked down the Blood and Bandage Lady in the picture.
The historic snap, first published on July 14, 1952, was taken after the Munster hurling final when a virtuoso display by Cork legend Christy Ring helped defeat three-in-a-row champions Tipperary and began Cork’s run of three Munster and All-Ireland titles in succession.
In the picture, Ring, bruised and bloodied from battle, leans on the woman, who is trying to capture the moment with her own box camera. The picture hangs in Páirc Uí Rinn — the Cork stadium named in Ring’s honour — but until now the woman’s name had not been known.
But in tomorrow’s bumper Championship 2016 preview magazine, Rita Lowry (nee Fenton) — who became known as the Blood and Bandage Lady — tells of her friendship with Ring, who sent her many letters and cards.
Originally from Ballygarvan, Co Cork, Rita now lives in Tipperary town.
We tracked her down with the help of family friend Jerry Ring, former secretary of the West Tipp GAA Board.
Ironically, Rita also played in a Munster final in 1952 — but lined out for the Tipperary camogie team against Cork.
Rita, who turns 89 today, was an accomplished camogie player and a keen collector of GAA photos and news clippings. She maintains a scrapbook dedicated to Ring’s life. He sent her letters and Christmas cards, though she burned many of them when she married.
“Not that there was anything in them to be hiding,” she laughs.
She still lives for the game, though she doesn’t go any more because the eyes aren’t great. But she’ll be glued to Sunday’s Munster Hurling Championship clash between Cork and Tipp in Thurles.
“On a Sunday afternoon, that door is locked and nobody is coming in.”
See Championship 2016 magazine in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner
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