Liam Griffin (hurler)

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Liam Griffin
Personal information
Sport Hurling
Born 1945 (age 68–69)
Rosslare, County Wexford
Inter-county management
Years County
1995-1996 Wexford
Inter-county titles
County League Province All-Ireland
Wexford
1 1

Liam Griffin (born 1945 or 1947 in Rosslare, County Wexford) is a former Irish hurler and manager. He played hurling at various times with his local clubs Rosslare and Newmarket-on Fergus with the Wexford and Clare senior inter-county teams in the 1960s. Griffin later served as manager of the Wexford senior inter-county team from in 1995 and 1996. Later he was instrumental on the Hurling Development Committee that established the Christy Ring Cup and Nicky Rackard Cup for weaker hurling counties.[1] In 2009 he was named in the Sunday Tribune's list of the 125 Most Influential People In GAA History.[1]

Biography[edit]

Griffin was born in Rosslare, County Wexford in 1945[1] or 1947. His parents ran a guesthouse in the town before buying a small hotel nearby in the late 1950s. Griffin was educated locally and later worked in his parents’ hotel. In the 1960s he became the first member of his family to study hotel management at the Shannon College of Hotel Management and he later spent a decade working in various hotels in Wales, Switzerland and Ireland. In the 1970s Griffin left the hotel industry and joined Bord Fáilte to gain experience in the wider tourism industry. He later returned to buy his parents hotel in Rosslare at the end of the decade and began building up his business empire. By the start of the 2000s the Griffin Group, run by Liam and two of his sons, controlled three hotels across the south-east coast of Ireland.

After finishing his playing and managerial careers in hurling Griffin later served as a pundit with RTÉ's The Sunday Game. In 2008 he became part of the analysis team on TV3's championship coverage and has been a regular hurling analyst on The Breakfast Show and The Right Hook on Newstalk radio for a number of years.

Playing career[edit]

Club[edit]

Griffin played his early club hurling with his local club in Rosslare and had some juvenile success. After moving to Clare in the 1960s he joined the Newmarket-on Fergus club. Here he played a key role in helping the club win three senior county titles in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

Inter-county[edit]

Griffin first came to prominence on the inter-county scene with the Wexford minor team. He later played with the Clare under-21 team, however, he enjoyed little success with 'the Banner county.' Griffin didn't continue playing after the under-21 grade.

Managerial career[edit]

Wexford[edit]

In spite of cutting his inter-county hurling career short Griffin became interested in coaching. Since the early 1970s he coached juvenile teams in the Wexford area and in the early 1990s he completed a diploma in sport psychology. In 1994 Griffin was appointed manager of the Wexford senior inter-county team, however, he wasn't the county board's first choice for the post. He had earlier stood for election as manager of the Wexford minor team and was defeated twice. Fate played a hand in Griffin taking the senior managerial position as some of the earlier favourites withdrew from the race and he got the job. Wexford hurling was in the doldrums at the time as the team hadn’t won a senior All-Ireland title since 1968 or a senior Leinster title since 1977.

1995: First season[edit]

Griffin's first season in charge in 1995 saw little in the way of improvement. In spite of introducing a strict diet and training regime his side were beaten by the minnows of Meath in the National Hurling League while the team's championship preparations did not go to plan either. Liam Dunne, the team captain, played a club match for Oulart-the Ballagh before the Leinster semi-final and was duly stripped of the captaincy. This caused tensions between some of the players and Griffin. The first outing in the championship saw Wexford fall by seven points to Offaly and Griffin was put under severe pressure.

1996: Leinster and All-Ireland successes[edit]

In 1996 Griffin made wholesale changes throughout the team and enforced his new training regime. Clare’s All-Ireland victory in 1995 spurred on the so-called ‘weaker counties’ and Griffin tried to get his players to believe in themselves. Griffin’s motivational techniques paid off as Wexford defeated Offaly to capture their first Leinster title in nearly twenty years. Wexford later qualified to play in the All-Ireland final where Limerick, the defeated finalists of 1994, provided the opposition. The Munstermen were slight favourites going into the match, however, Griffin’s side led by a point at half-time in spite of being reduced to fourteen players. The team hung on in the second-half to clinch a 1-13 to 0-14 victory, their first All-Ireland in twenty-eight years.

In spite of guiding his native-county to an emotional championship title Griffin decided to retire as manager at the start of 1997 due to personal issues.

Promotion of hurling[edit]

In early 2000, Griffin said the GAA should be ashamed of itself over its failure in the promotion of hurling.

Australia is 24 hours away, yet we can create a new game with the Aussie Rules lads. Longford and Leitrim are right here, yet we largely ignore them and many others too when it comes to promoting hurling. The new D. J. Carey could be living in Longford, Leitrim or Donegal, but we'll never know. We have failed him. [...] If someone can market coloured gripe water, call it Coca-Cola and clean up worldwide, we should be able to sell hurling in Longford.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McEvoy, Enda; Kieran Shannon, Dave Hannigan (and PJ Cunningham, Malachy Clerkin and Pat Nugent) (4 January 2009). "125 Most Influential People In GAA History". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Breheny, Martin (27 October 2012). "All Stars bright lights hide darker side of hurling". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  • Corry, Eoghan, The GAA Book of Lists (Hodder Headline Ireland, 2005).
  • Walsh, Denis, Hurling: the Revolution Years (Penguin Ireland, 2005).
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Christy Keogh
Wexford Senior Hurling Manager
1994-1997
Succeeded by
Rory Kinsella
Achievements
Preceded by
Ger Loughnane
(Clare)
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final
winning manager

1996
Succeeded by
Ger Loughnane
(Clare)