Laochra Gael season 21 launched with 8 new GAA legends profiled

Eight legends who performed heroics on the field and who each have a unique and extraordinary story to tell.

The definitive GAA sports series returns to TG4 this spring for a 21st series. The series hour-long format has proved a huge success, bringing each player’s personal stories to screen. The series features eight Laochra with genuine star quality and reveals deeper, fresh and sometimes unexpected insights into the lives of these icons. While their sporting careers continue to provide the backdrop to the story, the series travels well beyond the four white lines. Gripping personal storylines will compel viewers to travel towards territory unique to the GAA television landscape.

Joe Canning

The 21st series of Laochra Gael returns with the story of Galway hurler, Joe Canning. Joe was marked for greatness from the start. He carried the burden of being the chosen one that would end the Galway hurling famine. Year after year, however, they fell short. Thanks to the magic he weaved on the field, Joe became the most famous player in the country, and learned harsh lessons about the scrutiny that comes with that fame. With the entire country fixated on Joe’s quest to win the All Ireland he deserved, all he ever wanted was to make his family proud.

Director:  Cormac Morel

Participants: Joe Canning; Seán Canning; Ollie Canning; David Canning; Ivan Canning; Deirdre Canning-Mitchell; David Burke; John McIntyre; Michael Rice; Paul Flanagan; Pádraic Maher

Aidan O’Mahony

The 21st series of Laochra Gael continues with the story of Kerry footballer, Aidan O’Mahony. He overcame chronic health problems in his youth to take his place on one of the greatest teams of all time. But when he was in his prime, he became embroiled in controversy as the first GAA player to fail a drugs test. His mental health deteriorated and after a spell in a treatment centre, he faced the greatest challenge of his life- to rediscover his purpose and his love of the game. He found both in a promise he made when his father passed away.

Director:  Ronan O’Donoghue

Participants: Aidan O’Mahony; Kieran Donaghy; Niall “Botty” O’Callaghan; Conor McCarthy; Mark Harte; Tomás Ó Flatharta; Seán Moran; Donal Murphy; Denise O’Mahony; Lucia O’Mahony; Lilah O’Mahony

Anne Dalton

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Kilkenny camogie legend, Anne Dalton. Having lost in her first three All Ireland Finals, Anne finally reached the mountain top in 2016. After that victory, incredibly, she lost the next three finals in a row. Bloodied but unbowed, Anne persisted, building a reputation as one of the all-time greats of the game. Salvation eventually came in 2020 when the Cats won the championship, with Anne’s wife, former Waterford player Karen Kelly, and their three children cheering her on from their home.

Director:  Sarah McCoy

Participants: Anne Dalton; Karen Kelly; Daragh Ó Conchúir; Grace Walsh; Ann Downey; Rena Buckley; Jane Dalton; Jim Dalton; Marie O’Connor; Imelda Kennedy; Jillian Maher; Esther Kennedy

Tom Parsons

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Mayo footballer, Tom Parsons. Tom came to the fore in 2008, becoming a star for the Mayo seniors while still in his teens. But when he was dropped in 2011, his world fell apart. He came back in 2014 and was at the heart of the renowned rivlary with the Dubs. Whatever heartache he felt from the defeats in those clashes, it was put into perspective when he suffered a horrific injury in 2018. Although he was told there was a chance he may not walk again, he miraculously took to the field again in 2019.

Director:  Hugh Walsh

Participants: Tom Parsons; Colm Boyle; Paul Conroy; Mark Harte; John Casey

Paul Flynn; Carol Hopkins; Tom Parsons Sr.; Carmel Parsons; Matthew Parsons; Chloe Parsons

Áine Wall

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Waterford footballer, Aine Wall. She came to the fore with her club, Ballymacarbry, but it was with the county that she became a star. With Áine spearheading the attack, Waterford won 5 All Irelands in the 90s, bringing unprecedented success to the Déise faithful. On top of that, as a result of the heroics of Áine and her friends, the sport , which had never even been broadcast when she started out, gained attention and respect. One of the greatest ever footballers, who revolutionised Ladies Football.

Director:  Cormac Morel

Participants: Áine Wall; Marie Crotty; Michael Ryan; Michelle Ryan; Daragh Ó Conchúir; Geraldine O’Shea; Seamus Kennedy; Mary Wall; Eoin Wall; Michael Wall; Ann Dunford; Noirín Walsh; June Whyte; Catriona Casey

Liam Sheedy

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Tipperary’s Liam Sheedy. After the death of his father when he was two years old, Liam sought refuge on the hurling field, playing for his county at all levels. But he was little known when he became county manager. The team was in the doldrums, and nobody expected that Sheedy would win the championship and put an end to Kilkenny’s reign. The hurling world was shocked when he stepped down after the historic win, and again when he returned ten years later, winning another championship, again against the Cats.

Director:  Ronan O’Donoghue

Participants: Liam Sheedy; John Sheedy; Mike Sheedy; Eoin Kelly; Noel McGrath; Eamon O’Shea; Darren Gleeson; John McIntyre; Michael Rice; Dónal O’Grady; Margaret Sheedy; Aisling Sheedy; Gemma Sheedy

Anthony Molloy

Laochra Gael continues with the story of Donegal footballer, Anthony Molloy. Growing up in a remote region, football was always at the centre of Anthony’s life. But after serious injury and a lack of success with the county, he emigrated to America in the 80s. When his mother fell ill, he returned home. The football enticed him back, and he fought through the pain to bring Sam Maguire to Donegal for the first time ever in 1992. Between the celebrations and retirement however, he developed a drink problem, and so he embarked on a battle that continues to this day.

Director:  Cormac Morel

Participants: Anthony Molloy; Frank Craig; Michael Murphy; Brian McGilligan; Martin Gavigan; Catherine Uí Chinnéide

Noel O’Leary

For the Series Finale of Laochra Gael comes the story of Cork footballer, Noel O’Leary. Noel is known as a true hard man of football. And throughout the epic rivalry between Cork and Kerry, it was the clash of Noel and Paul Galvin that drew the most attention. But behind the public image, Noel had been through unthinkable tragedy. In the space of a year and a half at the turn of the century, he lost his best friend, his cousin and his brother. He overcame these terrible losses, finding a solace of sorts when he won the All Ireland in 2010.

Director:  Sarah McCoy

Participants: Noel O’Leary; Eoin Cadogan; Máire Uí Laoire; Conor Counihan; Seán Moran; Tomás Ó Flatharta; Colm Ó Laoire; Clíodhna Ní Laoire; Donal Óg Ó Laoire; Eimear O’Leary; Gearóid Mac Suibhne

Ahead of the new Laochra Gael Series Uachtarán CLG, Larry McCarthy said: “Excellence in Gaelic games coverage has been a hallmark of TG4 and the Laochra Gael series has been another manifestation of this. Over many years the series has built a strong following through their diverse and compelling stories of players who have helped grow the popularity of our games. I look forward to the latest series and the profiling of more influential figures from across Gaelic games.”

TG4’s Director General, Alan Esslemont said “Irish audiences love to watch live sport, especially Gaelic games, and we understandably see GAA, LGFA and Camogie players as the superb athletes they are on the pitch, skilled, talented and brilliant sportswomen and sportsmen.  But all of these athletes also have human lives which are connected with yet independent from their sport.  The strength of the ‘Laochra Gael’ series is the storytelling of these human lives, their highs and their lows, powerful, moving, heart-warming, heart-breaking and always compelling.  I am deeply grateful to the broad family of Gaelic games players for allowing the wonderful team at Nemeton TV into their lives and for allowing TG4 to bring their stories to a fascinated and absorbed Irish viewing public. Bainigí sult as an tsraith nua!”

Eight outstanding Gaels. Eight remarkable personal stories. “Laochra Gael” is back on TG4 at 9:30 on Thursday the 26th January 2023.  

The series is produced by NemetonTV, the independent production company from An Rinn in the Waterford Gaeltacht which has produced much of TG4’s acclaimed sports coverage.

Laochra Gael Series:

Programme 1:   Joe Canning, 9.30pm, Thursday 26th January

Programme 2:  Aidan O’Mahony, 9.30pm, Thursday 2nd Feburary

Programme 3:  Anne Dalton, 9.30pm, T Thursday 9th Feburary

Programme 4:  Tom Parsons,  9.30pm, Thursday 16th February

Programme 5: Áine Wall, 9.30pm, Thursday 23rd February

Programme 6: Liam Sheedy, 9.30pm, Thursday 2nd March

Programme 7: Anthony Molloy, 9.30pm, Thursday 9th March

Programme 8: Noel O’Leary, 9.30pm, Thursday 16th March


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