Mature talent: Tom, 71, togs out for hurling team

HE might have celebrated his 71st birthday but when the local team were down a man, he didn’t dither when asked to tog out.

Kerryman and grand-father Tom Randles played the full 60 minutes of a recent Junior A Duhallow League game against Co Cork side Tullylease and reckons it “didn’t take a bit out of him”.

The players around him may have ranged from 17 to 35 but he was still “very involved in play”, according to onlookers.

A corner-forward, he didn’t make the scoreboard, but provided skills that ensured his team-mates got the sliothar over the bar.

“I’ve always loved hurling and I keep fit. It keeps the arthritis at bay. I’m used to training. I’ll train with the team when I can. I also run and walk and I love dancing. I do a bit of ceilí dancing but, you know, I’d do any kind of dancing at all,” he quipped. “I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and it pays off. A fit body is a fit mind, I like to say”.

They say a love of football courses through the Kerry blood, but this Kerryman has always been in thrall to hurling.

“I played hurling in Cork as part of the inter-firm championship. I played for CIE as left corner-forward along with Seanie O’Leary who was full-forward. I won an All Ireland with Capwell station in the inter-depot All Ireland,” he said.

Kilgarvan (home to one of Ireland’s most famous rural politicians, Jackie Healy-Rae), Tom says, has always been a bastion of hurling in Kerry.

“I always loved a puck around. I don’t think that will ever change,” he said. “I’ve togged out with the team once or twice in the past, if a man couldn’t get down because of work or something. I always keep my gear in the boot just in case.

“I’ll probably do it again, I’m sure.”


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