Longford GAA goalkeeper Damien Sheridan has beaten off stiff competition to land the All Ireland Kick Fada title last Saturday.
The Dromard man overcame many of the country’s leading GAA stars including Armagh’s Paul Hearty, Meath’s Joe Sheridan and reigning champion Shane Duffy, from Monaghan, to land the title.
Now in its thirteenth year, the competition held each year at the Bray Emmets club in Wicklow, tests the kicking distance and accuracy of players. Competitors kick the ball over the bar, twice as wide as a normal goals, starting at 35 metres and working further out until every one who misses is eliminated.
This is the second time Damien has won the competition after landing the title in 2010, with a 65 metre kick. The same distance was good enough to land this year’s title.
“After winning, I went for the record, which is 72 metres set back in 2001, but there was a bit of a breeze up,” Damien told the Leader.
Damien, who works as a Youth Development Officer with Longford GAA, said the standard this year was very impressive. “The kicking was consistent all the way through with a number of past winners competing.”
There is also a women’s competition, with Serena Hannon from Dublin landing the top prize.
There is considerable interest in the competition, even amongst established inter-county stars. “Last year Monaghan’s Shane Duffy came through a crowded pack to claim the ultimate honour,” competition organiser Pat Wogan of Bray Emmets said.
“Ultimately, any player at inter-county level is a serious competitor at heart and the opportunity to test the core skill of kicking a Gaelic football against top quality opposition in a novel fashion becomes addictive,”Pat added.
Despite losing their primary sponsor, MBNA, the organisers are hoping to the competition will go from strength to strength and eventually have a representative from every county competing