Ger McCarthy, Davy Russsell, Darragh Sheeha and Brian O'Halloran (Teacher).

For a young third class pupil in St Fergal’s National School, Killeagh, it was described as the day “that was as good as meeting Santa”. Darragh Sheehan has always been interested in horses and all things connected with National Hunt Racing. He was also a fan of twice champion jockey Davy Russell. During the summer holidays he travelled to Galway to see him win the Galway Plate.
When Darragh discovered that Davy’s sister Finnuala was at the school, he asked to speak to her. He was rewarded by being offered to speak on the phone to his hero. Davy was travelling to the races and the connection failed but Darragh was delighted with the chat, however brief. However, Davy rang back and made a promise to Darragh that he would visit him in school and bring him the present of a whip.
This was no ordinary whip as it was the one that was used when Davy won The Pertemps Final in Cheltenham on Presenting Percy in March, and when third on Saint Are in The Grand National in Aintree. Darragh could hardly believe his luck, he could hardly wait for the day. But in the in-term Davy was a very busy man, riding in the United States, in England, and on tracks in Ireland.
Darragh was also busy and expressed his concerns that the mighty man might visit while he was visiting the dentist. But through contact with Mr Brian O’Halloran arrangements were made and with Mrs Bashford’s encouragement Darragh was given the news. It was a moment that Darragh will probably never forget, a moment that both the Mrs McCarthy’s were privileged to witness. Davys kind and thoughtful gesture brought joy and excitement not alone to Darragh but to all those who witnessed it. Mrs Allister our resident photographer was on hand to record the event.
For all followers of national hunt racing Davy has given us some great days but he also succeeded in giving Darragh and his racing friends both student and teachers a lifelong memory of a special school day. Reports have it that the precious gift is now residing under a pillow. Mile Buiochas to Davy, we will continue to follow him, and may he have many more great days so that we can share in the excitement and roar him home past the winning post. We are often advised “Never meet your hero lest they be found to have feet of clay”. Darragh, however, discovered that heroes can and do live up to their billing.

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