UCC legend Fitzgerald receives Sigerson medal – 25 years later

Have you heard the one about the Sigerson Cup winner who had to wait a quarter of a century to receive his medal?

On Saturday, at Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork, the UCC team which won the 1988 Sigerson celebrated their silver jubilee, and one of the stars of the win, Kerry legend Maurice Fitzgerald, was finally presented with his memento of the win, having missed the ceremony 25 years ago.

Des Cullinane, a selector to that victorious side under manager Bob Honohan, arranged for a new medal to be minted for the two-time All-Ireland winner, and he recalls the effect the Caherciveen man had, despite his youth.

“In the quarter-final, we played Jordanstown, who were the champions of the previous two years, and even though Maurice was only a fresher, he was the star of the show.

“Jordanstown were a star-studded team but Maurice kicked 12 frees that day and got 12 points and we won 0-13 to 0-10, and he did something similar when he played in a Kerry-Cork match for the first time later that year, so he was a huge talent even then.”

County commitments proved to be the impediment which stopped Fitzgerald from collecting his medal, though.

“After Jordanstown, we beat the hosts Maynooth and then UCG in the final, and Maurice was one of the main stars,” Cullinane said.

“He got on the combined Sigerson team, but because we presented the medals on a Tuesday night and he had to go home for Kerry training, he ended up never being presented with the medal.

“Maurice is such a quiet guy, he didn’t make any big issue out of it. He wouldn’t be the kind of fella to go screaming and shouting looking for it to be presented. When the notion of a reunion came up, I said that it’d be the perfect opportunity to put it right. Ivan Ahern got his medal for me and we handed it in to Gerald McCarthy, who made a copy for Maurice.”


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