Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

18.18 6 Sep 2019


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Pat Healy's best known for his work as a horse racing photographer.

But he was also handy enough on the Gaelic football field. Good enough to play for the mighty Kerry though during Mick O'Dwyer's time as manager?

Well, after one session, the renowned photographer plucked up the courage to state his case for inclusion on one of the all-time great panels.

He told the story on Friday Night Racing, which you can watch below in full.

"[Listowel Emmets] won the North Kerry League one year and we were playing Duagh and I scored 3-3 from half-back. I'd a stormer. It's a pity it's not on YouTube," said Healy.

Brimming with confidence after that outstanding showing for his club, he and his team-mates went down to the pub - more than once.

"I remember at the bar and I'm having a drink," he said.

The Horse and Mick O'Dwyer

"And next thing, 'the Horse' (ex-Kerry captain Tim Kennelly) slides in beside me and I kind of straightened up.

"'Pat', he says, 'I haven't seen a performance like what you put in yesterday for a long time. That was something else. I'm thinking you should be in with Kerry.'"

Kennelly convinced Healy that he really had a shot at making the Kerry panel. He took it to the point of convincing him to give iconic then-Kerry manager Mick O'Dwyer a phonecall.

"So I dialled the number," Healy said of his 18-year-old self.

"My heart was beating and sure enough he answered. I said, 'Mr O'Dwyer?'

"'Yeeeesss?'

"'This is Pat Healy here from Listowel, Mr O'Dwyer!'"

"'How can I help you?'

"I said, 'Mr O'Dwyer, we won the North Kerry final yesterday.'"

"'I saw that in the paper! How did you do and who were you playing? How did you get on?'"

"I said, 'I scored 3-3 from half-back.'"

"'Jays,' he said, 'That's great, well played. What can I do for you?'"

"'I was just talking to a few of the boys there, Mr O'Dwyer. They said I should be in with Kerry and be on the panel!'"

"'Who did ye beat again?'"

"I said, 'We beat Duagh, Mr O'Dwyer!'"

So how did Mick O'Dwyer respond to that?

"The next time Kerry are playing Duagh, I'll give you a ring!" 

And just to note, Healy told that story with an impersonation of both interlocutors!

"But I had to go back into the bar," he continued.

"I walked through the doors of the bar and the whole place erupted [in laughter]. And there was 'The Horse' laughing."

You can watch Friday Night Racing in full below. Our racing coverage is brought to you in association with Horse Racing Ireland:


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