When Eddie met Ali
After it was recently announced that Kilkenny hurling legend Eddie Keher will receive the Freedom of Kilkenny City, we could not let pass the opportunity to look back on the time two giants of their respective sports shared a few pucks of the sliotar.
It was 1972, and 'The Greatest' was in town, Muhammed Ali. He was in Ireland for his fight with Al 'Blue' Lewis at Croke Park. As part of his promotional work for the fight, it was arranged that Muhammed Ali would be taught the art of hurling under the watchful eyes of the media. Who would be chosen to teach the sporting icon? Only hurling's greatest, Eddie Keher.
Keher was no stranger to big occasions winning 6 All-Ireland titles, but even he was left "starstruck and spellbound" when Ali entered the room. Keher saw through the showman and persona we were used to seeing through the media and could see the "ordinary guy" underneath.
Keher seemed to thoroughly enjoy the encounter; “He spent ages trying to rise the ball and that. We had good fun.” and even managed to take home a valuable souvenir having asked Ali to sign his hurl.
The video above comes from the IFTA-winning documentary "When Ali Came to Ireland" which recalled Ali's time in the Emerald Isle.