herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Stan's heroics are helping to unite Man City

HILARY Murray- Hession is a proud member of the noble group, Last Man Standing.

He has been one of the most accomplished and diligent goalkeepers in Dublin.

His brother, Stan, has come to the attention of the Manchester Evening News.

Stan played hurling and football for St Sylvester's. He also played football and hurling for Fingallians.

In 1997, he moved to England. Five years ago, he became manager of the Fullen Gaels hurling team.

The club was formed in 2005. It's called after the Derry priest, Fr Emmet Fullen.

They play hurling and camogie. Home is the Hough End playing fields.

VAST

That's a vast playing area that has two full-size Gaelic pitches, three rugby pitches and 24 soccer pitches.

It's in a pleasant location in Manchester where the sandy soil helps to endure the worst of the wear and tear over the winter months.

It's the only hurling club in Lancashire. The locality went for two decades without hurling.

The club have 80 members. They get very little match practice due to the lack of clubs and the geographical spread.

Yet the Gaels were back in Croke Park last month. They lost the AIB All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling Championship final to Bennettsbridge.

They were also in the final in 2013. That day, they lost to another Kilkenny side, Thomastown.

It has been a remarkable journey. The love of the ash is in the heart.

When Fullen Gaels are pencilled in for a fixture at Pairc na hEireann in Birmingham, it's a round trip of 200 miles.

Since Stan got the gig, they have had much success - four Warwickshire Senior Hurling Championship titles, one Lancashire SHC and five All-Britain Intermediate Provincial Championships.

This season they beat the Munster and Ulster champions to return to Croke Park.

The Gaels carry the Fingal fire in their bellies.

One day soon, like David Beckham, Stan Murray-Hession will parade down the Thames on a speed-boat with the All-Ireland trophy.

Big Ben will chime, and the Manchester Evening News will declare that 'Stan's The Man'.

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