The definitive GAA sports series returns to TG4 this spring for an 18th series. The series hour-long format has proved a huge success, bringing each player’s personal stories to screen.
The series features six 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 and “Laochra Gael” returns to the screen for an 18th series on TG4 on the 5th March 2020. Six brand new programmes, featuring six legends who performed heroics on the field and who each have a unique and extraordinary story to tell.
Speaking at today’s launch, Uachtarán CLG John Horan said: “Many great warriors have played our games down through the years and TG4 are to be praised for the tributes they pay to these great heroes through their series Laochra Gael. These players are among the finest to have played our games. They have given so much happiness and memories, not only to people of their own clubs and counties but to the GAA community as a whole with their exploits on the field of play. It is great that these players get to tell their stories through this television series and that new generations of young people can get to know them and to get to learn about their achievements. This series ensures that the legacy of these great players will live long in the memory.”
Welcoming the new series, TG4’s Head of Sport, Rónán Ó Coisdealbha says “the channel takes great pride in its live match coverage but the Laochra Gael series also plays an important part in TG4’s Gaelic games coverage.” He said: “The Laochra Gael series illustrates the achievements and the sacrifices of these wonderful sports people. This documentary series has become a key component of our Gaelic Games coverage since Laochra Gael began in 2001.”
Kieran Donaghy - On the Edge - 9.30pm, Thursday 5th March
Kieran Donaghy, The man called Star has an extraordinary story: breaking through with the Underdogs, the experiment that made a full forward out of him, the basketball hands, the decline and the revival, and of course, Joe Brolly. In his career, Kieran won 4 All Ireland medals, 3 All Stars and Footballer of the Year. And in the background, the complex and difficult relationship with his father that was tied up in everything he did on the field of play. Kieran Donaghy, who started out as an Underdog and became a Star.
Participants: Deirdre Donaghy, Paul Galvin,Micheál Quirke, Éamonn Fitzmaurice, Joe McMahon, Vincent Hogan, Michael Moynihan.
DiarmuidLyng – The Crossroads - 9.30pm, Thursday 12th March
Diarmuid “Gizzy”Lyng was captain and leader of a Wexford team that performed heroics in their efforts to overcome Kilkenny, the greatest team of all time. Then, at the height of his powers, he was struck down by a mysterious illness. He was forced to give up hurling and it seemed that life was falling apart. Diarmuid travelled the world in search of physical and mental recovery. And it was in West Kerry, a place close to his heart that he finally found release.
Participants: Eoin Quigley, George O’Connor, CiaranLyng, Tommy Walsh, Siobhán de Paor, Michael Moynihan
Alan Brogan – The Family Silver - 9.30pm, Thursday 19th March
Alan Brogan’s father and uncle were heroes of Hill 16. But if there was pressure on Alan because of this, he barely felt it. Laid-back as a person, but fierce as a competitor, Alan was the beating heart of Dublin teams from his teens. Despite Alan’s consistent excellence, it seemed that he would never bring Sam back to the capital. Then with the Brogan brothers to the fore, the tide turned. The “Blue Wave” had begun, and the greatest football team in history was built.
Participants: Bernard Brogan Snr, Bernard Brogan Jnr, Colm Parkinson, Paul Caffrey, Michael Moynihan, Éamonn Fitzmaurice, Lydia Brogan
Iggy Clarke – Body and Soul - 9.30pm, Thursday 26th March
Iggy Clarke, or Fr Iggy as he was known, enticed hurling lovers across the country, but when the cheering stopped, he had a crisis of faith and embarked on a brand new life. A rock in the half back line, Iggy spearheaded the Galway hurling revival of the 70s. His greatest moment was cruelly denied with a horrific injury in the 1980 All Ireland Semi Final. But an unforgettable demand from the crowd during the most famous cup presentation of them all spoke volumes about the love of the Galway people for Iggy. His hurling retirement was followed by an even bigger life decision, as Iggy Clarke embarked on, and embraced life as a layman.
Participants: Mariel Forde-Clarke, Fr. Joe Clarke, Tom Clarke, John Connolly, Seán Bán Breathnach, Pat Fleury, Vincent Hogan
David Brady – Against the Tide - 9.30pm, Thursday 2th April
David Brady lost four All Ireland Finals with Mayo, and it is the pain and the anger that comes with this that informs one of the most controversial pundits in Irish sport. A childhood on the quay in Ballina, where attitudes to the fishing laws were liberal, indicated that David Brady was not interested in going with the flow. Always a combative presence in midfield, David knows more than most about Mayo’s well-documented heartbreak. But he remains unbowed by the many disappointments, and refuses to be defined by them. Instead, he has carved out a reputation for saying exactly what is on his mind, whatever that may be. Participants: Ger Brady, Alan Dillon, Seán Óg dePaor, Seán Bán Breathnach, Vincent Hogan.
BrendaMcAnepsie – Beyond Borders - 9.30pm, Thursday 9th April
Brenda McAnespie was the rock of the Monaghan Ladies footballers, even playing in an All-Ireland Final when she was pregnant, but away from the field she has had plenty of experience with personal challenges and tragedy. A pioneer of the woman’s game from its infancy, Brenda became a bedrock of a Monaghan team that conquered the sport in the 90s. As a footballer, she truly did not know the meaning of giving up, and played long enough to win an All-Ireland club title with her daughters. But life on the border meant that trouble and tragedy were never far away for Brenda and her family.
Participants: Vincent McAnespie, Ciara McAnespie, Aoife McAnespie, Gráinne McElwain, Michael Morgan, Michael Ryan.
Six outstanding Gaels. Six remarkable personal stories. Laochra Gael is back on TG4 at 9:30pm on Thursday 5th March 2020. The series is produced by NemetonTV, the independent production company from Ring in the Waterford Gaeltacht which has produced much of TG4’s acclaimed sports coverage.
Programme 1: Kieran Donaghy, 9.30pm, Thursday 5th March
Programme 2: Diarmuid Lyng, 9.30pm, Thursday 12th March
Programme 3: Alan Brogan, 9.30pm, Thursday 19th March
Programme 4: Iggy Clarke, 9.30pm, Thursday 26th March
Programme 5: David Brady, 9.30pm, Thursday 2th April
Programme 6: Brenda McAnespie, 9.30pm, Thursday 9th April