All-Ireland Legends Tour with Conor Hayes
20th September 2012
On the eve of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Championship Final replay, former Galway captain Conor Hayes will take part in a Legends Tour of Croke Park
The All-Ireland Legends Tour with Conor Hayes takes place on Saturday 29th September at 2.30pm. This unique guided tour is a must for Galway supporters in Dublin on the weekend of the All-Ireland final replay when the county seeks to capture its first All-Ireland title since 1988.
Conor Hayes enjoyed a ten-year inter-county hurling career with Galway, winning three All-Ireland senior titles in 1980, 1987 and 1988. He was captain of the team when it won back-to-back titles in 1987 & 1988. Three times the recipient of an All-Star Award, Conor also experienced All-Ireland at under-21 level in 1978 and with his club, Kiltormer, in 1991.
He first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Galway under-21 hurling team in the late 1970s, winning an All-Ireland medal in 1978. The following year he made his senior debut for the Galway and played in his first All-Ireland senior final only to experience defeat at the hands of Kilkenny. In 1980 Galway reached a second All-Ireland final and faced Munster champions Limerick. Despite the efforts of Limerick’s Eamon Cregan, Galway went on to win the game – the county’s first All-Ireland title since 1923 and the celebrations surpassed anything ever seen in Croke Park.
In 1987 Hayes was appointed captain of the Galway team, and the county won its first National Hurling League title in over a decade. In September, the Tribesmen appeared in a third All-Ireland Final in a row. The prospect of becoming the first team to lose three consecutive championship deciders weighed heavily on the Galway team as Kilkenny provided the opposition. The game was not a classic by any standard and Noel Lane got a key goal for Galway nine minutes before the end. A 1-12 to 0-9 victory gave Hayes a second All-Ireland winners' medal while he also had the honour of accepting the Liam McCarthy Cup.
In 1988 Hayes was captain of the team for a second year. That year Galway reached a fourth successive All-Ireland final, with Tipperary providing the opposition. Noel Lane again scored the crucial goal for Galway while Nicky English sent a late penalty over the bar for a point. A 1-15 to 0-14 score line resulted in victory for Galway and a third All-Ireland winners' medal for Hayes.
Conor first played with his local club, Kiltormer, in 1977 and won a Galway Senior County Championship that year. He would go on to win four more county titles, as well as three Connacht titles. He captured his fifth and final county winners medal in 1991. Kiltormer’s provincial campaign secured a third Connacht club winners’ medal for Conor and his side then faced Cashel King Cormac’s in the All-Ireland semi-final. A three-game saga which produced two replays has gone into GAA folklore, however, in the end victory went to the Galway side who booked a place in the All-Ireland final. Offaly club Birr were the opponents on that occasion. Kiltormer were well on top in that game and secured a 0-15 to 1-8 victory. It was Hayes's first All-Ireland club winners' medal.
In retirement from playing Hayes continued his involvement with hurling. From 2002 – 2006 he was manager of the Galway senior hurling team, guiding them to a National Hurling League title in 2004. In 2005, the team reached the All-Ireland Hurling Final but where defeated by Cork.
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