Galway through and through

 


Thomas Duane

There are many comparisons between the 1960's and modern times despite there being a six decade gap between periods as the economic climates in both eras are dominated by emigration.

However, unlike nowadays when Australia and the U.S are the preferred choice of destinations, the U.K was the main port of call for thousands of young Irish men and women, with London being the focal point.

One such man, who left these shores was Athenry native Tommy Duane, who headed for the English capital in 1967. Tommy had played underage hurling with the famed Galway club, but at 18 years of age decided to head across the channel to seek work.

On arrival, he soon settled into life in the 'concrete jungle' where he found that many Irish had come. His love of hurling meant that he was soon to become in a local club and that club was St Gabriel's, whom to this day, Tommy plays a major part.

Indeed, he will be manning the line on Sunday, October 7th when St Gabriel's take on Kilburn Gaels in the London SHC final.

Tommy is now in his fifth year as manager of the side, although he has held the position on more than one occasion in the past. In fact, there are not too many positions that Tommy hasn't held in the club down through the years as he explains to hoganstand.com.

“I played with the club for many years and won numerous championships at senior and intermediate level. I would also have been chairman when I was playing and I have been secretary and treasurer as well,” revealed Tommy.

“We have had our fair share of success in the club and that is down to the hard work of many different people over the years.

“Hopefully we can add another title on October 7th. It will be a tough game against a very good Kilburn Gaels side that have been in excellent form this year.

“But we are confident that we have the players to win the game. There is a good mix of experience in the side, while we would have a few players that have been with us for a number of years now.

“The turnover of players is the main problem over here, from one year to the next, you can't be quite sure who will be with us, but it is something that we just have to deal with.

“In fairness to the current bunch of lads they have worked extremely hard all year and they have gave great commitment throughout the campaign. It would be great to finish the year on a high by winning the championship for the first time since 2009.”

Tommy has never forgotten his roots and since leaving Ireland, he has returned many, many times to cheer on his native county.

And, he was in Croke Park as Galway drew with Kilkenny in a pulsating All-Ireland final, while he and his family are set to return for the replay.
“I thought the drawn game was a very exciting match that in fairness could have gone either way. Both defences played very well, but I thought the likes of Fergal Moore, Johnny Coen and David Collins were excellent.
“The replay is definitely 50/50, the element of surprise has certainly gone from Galway's point of view, but I do believe that they won't fear Kilkenny at all. I think Galway now know that they can beat and hopefully they will go on and do so. We will definitely be there cheering them on that's for sure.”