By Jimmy Rhatigan
Pic: Donal Foley
GREAT sports, that’s us.
Sporting ecumenism in our city and county is alive and kicking.
On a super Saturday, the sun blazed as a charity soccer match was enjoyed on a rugby pitch courtesy of Kilkenny Rugby Football Club.
Foulkstown rugby grounds hosted the Irish Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and among those heading and kicking for the cause was former All-Ireland hurling star and stalwart of O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Martin Comerford.
The game between Kilkenny FC and a League of Ireland Selection was organized by senior soccer hero Davy Mulcahy, a grandson of hurling legend Jack Mulcahy. With his brothers Jackie, Joey and Keith, Davy togged out for the charity.
Displaying family pride too were brothers Michael Walsh, retired senior hurling and soccer ace and his former League of Ireland brothers Billy and Ollie, sons of black and amber legend Ollie Walsh.
The match was local sports contribution to the Relay for Life weekend spectacular which attracted bumper crowds. The rugby grounds again proved to be a super venue.
In the soccer challenge, the National League Selection, managed by Pete Mahon and John Gill, a former Kilkenny City assistant manager, beat the locals managed by Waterford League of Ireland boss Alan Reynolds but the real winner was Relay for Life that enjoyed warm support from hundreds of participants.
Milestone: GAA champions played soccer here
In action for the visitors was former Republic of Ireland midfielder Keith Fahey who played for St Patrick’s Athletic and Birmingham City.
At right full back was present Shelbourne boss and former Kilkenny City defender Eoin Heery who made his senior dubut for Kilkenny City as a youngster at Buckley Park.
The game brought back memories of a soccer milestone of yesteryear, a clash of All-Ireland champs as Gaelic Football kings Armagh met hurling champions Kilkenny at Buckley Park in 2002.
That game was organised by Kilkenny team captain Andy Comerford and star forward DJ Carey and despite a downpour under floodlights the match proved to be a pre-Christmas cracker.
Saturday’s Relay for Life soccer was played on a top class pitch specially created for the occasion, brilliantly marked and in pristine condition, a credit to a club that entered into the spirit of a special weekend.
Meanwhile, Fort Rangers Premier Division Club that lost its pitch towards the end of last season, will play all their home games at Buckley Park for season 2018-2019 which is expected to kick off in late August.