ROBBIE Kelleher will refer to it on his tombstone, it made Mikey Sheehy famous and Paddy Cullen rich.
It was described by the late, great commentator Micheál Ó Hehir as the ‘greatest freak of all time’ and it’s still a focus of fascination nearly 40 years on.
When Mikey Sheehy cheekily took a quick free to leave Paddy Cullen scrambling in vain back to his goal during the 1978 All-Ireland final, they both became part of GAA folklore.
If you want to refresh your memory of the goal see below…
So since the man responsible was a Rockie, it made sense to bring it up at the Austin Stacks GAA Corporate Lunch yesterday at the Ballygarry House Hotel.
But what made it even more special was that the event gathered the four main protagonists together to discuss the goal and the impact it had on their lives, much to the entertainment of the 430 people present.
Austin Stacks Ger Power and Mikey Sheehy were joined on stage by Dublin GAA legends Paddy Cullen and Robbie Kelleher, while RTE’s Darragh Moloney asked them why it remains the most talked about goal in GAA history.
Among the highlights of the conversation was a story about about when Paddy Cullen owned the bar in Ballsbridge, where he had photos of the goal on the wall.
One time when Mikey was up there, they were both looking at the montage. Paddy turned to him and said; “Mikey, I made you famous.” Mikey retorted; “Paddy, I made you rich!”
Robbie Kelleher said he will be forever known for his part in the goal. He recounted a story from a few years ago where he was playing a game of golf in Clare and was recognised.
“Are you Robbie Kelleher, the Dublin footballer?” he was asked by someone, adding, “Jeez, it’s great to meet a legend like you.”
The man paused before looking at Robbie and uttering “you’re the man who handed the ball to Mikey Sheehy aren’t you?”
Robbie went home that night and told his wife that when he dies, “after all the fluffy stuff about caring father and loving husband” he wants ‘The Man Who Handed The Ball To Mikey Sheehy’ to be engraved on his tombstone.
Best of all, the lads got together in Croke Park recently to reenact the goal and the hilarious video of the day brought the house down. No doubt when it’s uploaded to social media it will go viral.
In an ‘alternative ending’, instead of handing the ball to Mikey, Robbie throws the ball over his shoulder, an act that could have changed the course of GAA history!
One thing that shone through both in the video and yesterday in Ballygarry, were the lifetime friendships formed during that era between members of the great Kerry and Dublin teams that will never be broken.
• For more photos and coverage of the Austin Stacks Corporate Lunch, click here