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21st Aug 2023

How a veterinary practice brought Offaly roots to Wexford county final day

Niall McIntyre

Charlie McGuckin was smiling from ear-to-ear when it was put to him on TG4 that this was some day for Naomh Eanna.

There’s no doubt about it, it was some day for the McGuckins too.

Charlie was star of county final day, rocking Oylegate-Glenbrien back onto their heels every time he got the ball in the senior game but this wasn’t a one-man-band.

It was a family effort.

Naomh Eanna won the junior A championship earlier in the day, defeating Ballyhogue in the final and the McGuckins were front and centre again.

Charlie’s brother Eoin was on the team while their dad Shane was the manager.

In Gorey, especially on days like these, they must thank their lucky stars that, all those years ago, Shane met a Gorey woman.

An All-Ireland winning Offaly hurler back in 1994, he moved to Gorey in ’93 to work in his father-in-laws’ veterinary practice.

Along with his wife, Shane still runs the veterinary clinic in Gorey but, with the GAA being the lifeblood of the community, the vets remains only his second most celebrated contribution to his adopted town.

The impact he’s made on the GAA club takes precedence.

“It’s a great day for our family” McGuckin told SportsJOE this morning, on a rare day-off from the clinic.

“I took the day off today,” he laughs.

“My father in law had the practice here so I worked for him, and my wife is a vet as well so the two of us are working here now.”

A four-time Offaly SHC winning hurler with St Rynaghs, McGuckin transferred to Naomh Eanna in 1998, winning an intermediate championship with his new club in 2001.

“I’m longer here than anywhere else,” he says.

“I don’t get up to Banagher as often as I’d like but there’s still a connection there, my brother is a selector with the St Rynaghs team this year.

19 February 1999; Offaly hurler Shane McGuckin at his Veterinary practice in Gorey, Wexford. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

“I was commuting back to play for Offaly until 1997,” he explains, “and played one more year with Rynaghs in ’98, and started with Gorey then in ’99.

“I won an intermediate championship in 2001 with Naomh Eanna, played senior for a couple of years, then went back to Junior B, and was actually in a Junior B final against Ballyhogue – they beat us that day, that was my last match.”

Ever since, McGuckin has been coaching various Naomh Eanna teams while his son Charlie is a member of the Wexford senior hurling panel.

“We had good communication all year,” he says of winning the senior and junior double on Sunday.

“Ten or eleven of the junior team were training with the seniors. We also have a junior B team and the remainder of the panel train with the Junior B team. And the Junior A management were involved with that team so it worked well.”

“Things are very compressed in Wexford, but we have comfortably three teams in Gorey, we would often have 50 in the field, but we have two pitches so we worked it well.”

Speaking after the match with Micheál Ó Domhnaill of TG4, a revved up Charlie summarised the whole thing best.

“Da was manager and my brother Eoin was playing on the team so it’s a great day for the family, and a great day for the club.”

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