Mighty Mullane has leading role in De La Salle’s passion play

WHEN the All Star hurlers for 2008 were announced I was surprised by the omission of Waterford’s John Mullane.

But, undeterred by the snub, Mullane has led his beloved De La Salle to their first county title and now has added the Munster title for good measure.

This is a phenomenal achievement by the Déise club and wouldn’t it be fantastic if they could win the All-Ireland title on St Patrick’s Day. While their successes are the result of a huge team effort and years of planning and coaching, all that is reflected in the performances of Mullane.

His play is inspirational. His passion, joy and spirit like few other players in.

Indeed if the film moguls from Hollywood decided to make a film capturing the essence and ethos of hurling who better to play the leading role than the mercurial genius down by the Suir?

De La Salle’s success is extraordinary. Many of their players are past pupils of De La Salle College in Waterford who, themselves, made history by winning the Harty and Cooke Cups in 2007 and retaining them in 2008.

Incidentally, the medals for 2008 were presented on Friday night last in the Granville Hotel. Fittingly, GAA President Nickey Brennan presented them and it was a great honour for yours truly to be asked to present the Harty Cup medals. Those trophies were hard-earned and it was only a massive last minute point from substitute Danny Purcell that earned them victory over famed Thurles CBS in a replayed All-Ireland decider.

Interestingly when De La Salle Colleges managers Derek McGrath and Dermot Doody, told Purcell he wasn’t selected on the team to play in the final they consoled him by saying that he’d come on and score the winning point.

Prophetic words that came to pass! But what’s even more interesting about Purcell is that he was also the sub that came on for Kilkenny minors in the All-Ireland final and scored 1-1.

Now with a record like that you’d nearly be afraid to select him! But you’d love to bring him on for the last 10 minutes. Super subs are a rare breed.

Another interesting development that De La Salle College have introduced to the game is the appointment of two captains. We have often heard of co-chairmen etc, but rarely have we heard of joint captains in the GAA. But the outstanding De La Salle pair of Philip Mahony and Noel Connors were joint skippers of the all conquering De La Salle side.

It is something well worth considering in many clubs and even counties. There are often great rows over the captaincy. The De La Salle model might save a lot of hassle. No sooner was the Kerry SFC final over on Sunday when a man turned to me and said: ‘‘Well Sean who is going to captain Kerry next year?’’

When I replied: ‘Maybe we should have two captains,’ he turned on his heels convinced I had lost it completely.

Either way it will be some Christmas for everyone associated with De La Salle.

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