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Mighty Mick Mackey
Mick Mackey is widely regarded as one of the greatest hurlers in the history of the game and in Ahane, he is considered a legend.
He was born in 1912 in Castleconnell, the eldest son to John and May Mackey (née Carroll).
The family had a long association with the game of hurling so it is perhaps not surprising that Mick was to follow in the tradition. His grandfather and namesake, Michael Mackey, was involved in the promotion of Gaelic games even before the establishment of the GAA and his father “Tyler” Mackey, ranked among the leading hurling personalities in the early 1900s.
The young Mick was educated at Castleconnell National School but received little in the way of second level education and left school at an early age. He played hurling with the Ahane club from 1930 until 1948 and was a member of the Limerick senior inter-county team from 1930 until 1947. During his 17-year career, he made 47 appearances in championship hurling and won many titles – three All-Ireland titles, five Munster titles, five consecutive National Hurling League titles and eight Railway Cup titles with Munster.
In 1980 Mackey was the first recipient of the All-Time All-Star Award and two years after his death, he was posthumously honoured when he was chosen in the centre-forward position on the Hurling Team of the Century. In 2000, he was named in the same position on the Hurling Team of the Millennium.
Mick Mackey died on 13 September 1982. His funeral was one of the biggest-ever for a sportsperson in Ireland with thousands coming to Castleconnell, not just from Limerick but also from Tipperary, Cork and Kilkenny.
He is remembered in Castleconnell by a plaque commemorating his 100th birthday, unveiled outside his birthplace (now Meehan’s funeral home) and a bronze life size statue by sculptor Séamus Connolly, erected on a stone plinth within sight of his family home.