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08th Aug 2021

“She won gold for her road, her community, her county, her country and her sport”

Patrick McCarry


Marty Morrissey and parties. Hand in hand.

With Kellie Harrington fighting for Olympic gold at 6am on a Sunday morning [Irish time], RTÉ cracked the emergency case and roused Morrissey out of bed. He was off to Portland Row.

There was a big screen set up, TV cameras and crews on the scene, a festooned street and reams of fans, young and old, in green. They were all there to see if Harrington could turn silver into gold.

Beatriz Ferreira of Brazil stood in her way, and was swinging for the fences. Harrington took a whole round to get a read on her opponent, but she flipped that script in the second and third rounds. In the end, she won by unanimous decision. Gold for Harrington and gold for Ireland.

After Peter Collins, Eric O’Donovan and Kenneth Egan reflected on a superb final performance, we switched to Morrissey and scenes of joyous bedlam in North Dublin.

Yvonne Harrington, the proudest mother in Ireland today, usually does not watch the fights but Morrissey was convinced she would have been glued to an Olympic final. He asked for her take on the contest and was told:

“I don’t know, I didn’t watch it! I stayed in the garden, out the back.”

No need to break the habit of a life-time.

While all the Harrington Clann spoke superbly, it was left to younger brother Joel to perfectly capture what the gold medal achievement meant:

“I’ve looked up to Kellie all my life, and to see her on the telly doing what she does… I’m speechless.”

“Kellie did what she does, at the biggest moment and on the biggest stage,” he added.

“When others would freeze, she loosened up and expressed herself.

“She won gold for her road, her community, her county, her country and her sport. She’s a role model for her sport, she’s the flag-bearer for the country and her sport. Everything she gets, every ounce she deserves.”

It was hopping down at Portland Row and whoever had the can of Carlsberg cracked at 6:26am on a Sunday morning would want to get a bit of breakfast soakage in.

Even Olympic heroes Rob Heffernan and Sonia O’Sullivan swung by the road to soak in some of the atmosphere on their way to the RTÉ studios.

The party will not stop until Kellie Harrington returns home from Tokyo. Then it will start over again.

All our newest Olympic champion was longing for after such a tough slog was some quiet-time on her couch back home. She may have to wait a while yet.