The pupils of Aughnagarron national school and their teacher Irene Brady are calling for a statue to be erected to recognise the magnificent showjumping achievements of Granard born Eddie Macken.
Twenty-seven pupils from first and second class, including Eddieâ€™s grandniece Aoibhinn Macken, compiled a project on him for the â€˜SÃ© mo Laochâ€™ competition in conjunction with The Education Centre, Carrick on Shannon and they were awarded first place.
â€œWe firmly believe that there should be a statue dedicated to Eddie in Longford.
â€œ He was the Brian Oâ€™Driscoll of the 1970s & â€˜80s and weâ€™re delighted that we celebrated his life in a small way,â€ remarked Ms Brady.
The project is fully handwritten and it features stories, poems and illustrations explainin g horses, showjumping and a detailed story of Eddie Macken.
Ms Brady continued, â€œWe loved completing this project and we were so lucky that Aoibhinnâ€™s grandparents trusted us with every newspaper clipping they had about Eddie.â€
The â€˜SÃ© mo Laochâ€™ competition promotes an awareness of local history and local people who have made a particular contribution nationally or internationally.
Eddie Macken, who now lives in Canada, is one of the greatest riders ever in the sport of showjumping.
His career spanned four decades and hundreds of world class championships, earning him the respect and admiration of equestrian fans all over the world.
He was part of the Irish team along with Paul Darragh, Capt Con Power and James Kernan that won the Aga Khan Cup three years in a row (1977 to â€˜79).
He captured four consecutive Hickstead Derby wins (1976 to 79), two individual silver medals at the Show Jumping World Championships, 1974 with â€˜Peleâ€™ and 1978 on â€˜Boomerangâ€™, and an individual silver medal at the 1977 European Championships with â€˜Peleâ€™.
Ms Brady said they hope to send a copy of their project to Eddie, adding â€œParents and grandparents of pupils recalled memories of growing up in the 1970â€™s and 1980â€™s and how the legendary rider brought joy to every Irish home.â€â€¨Various stages of the project featured on Twitter and Ms Brady pointed out, â€œPupils took delight when people retweeted our project and you follow us on @mrsibrady to see more!â€
Preserving the equestrian theme, the pupils of Aughnagarron visited The National Stud in Kildare for their school tour on June 19 where Catherine Martin, Director of The Education Centre presented the class with a cheque for â‚¬100 and goody bags to each child in recognition of their success in the SÃ© Mo Laoch project.