Underdog – a competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest.
TG4 the legendary series The Underdogs is well and truly back, where the panel of hopefuls will be taking on Waterford and returning manager Davy Fitzgerald in a special match. The show brings in fantastic knowledge from legends of the game such as Lar Corbett and Declan Hannon. However, the latest episode had Kilkenny’s own Jackie Tyrell.
Looking at Jackie now, knowing what he has accomplished, it is incredibly difficult to imagine a time when he was not considered a legend. Jackie’s inspiring words on the show, do not just apply to hurling, but life in general;
“I like the concept of the underdog, I believe I can relate to it in some sense from my own career. “
“I played minor for Kilkenny for two years, two terrible years. First-year I was taken for five points in an All-Ireland semi-final against Galway. The following year we were the first Kilkenny in ten years to lose in Leinster when we got bet by Offaly in the first round.”
“Progress onto under 21, in my first year we played Wexford in Nowlan Park, and I was full-back, last minute the ball came in and Rory Jacob ran around me, stuck it in the back of the net.”
“The general narrative was I just was not good enough, too slow not good enough on the feet. I heard a county board official saying “I never want to see Jackie Tyrell in a black and amber jersey again”. Was he right? He probably was.”
“I was not performing or good enough at that time. So how did I go from being there, being told I should never play for Kilkenny again to where I ended up? I went back to my club, we are lucky in the GAA as you will always have a club to go back to. I said I am going to give it absolutely everything.”
Watch the speech below:
There are 16 different counties represented in the final 31-man panel. The flag for Kilkenny is waved by Martin Kelly of Blacks and Whites and Sean Buggy of Erins Own.
The President of the GAA Larry McCarthy has said of the show; “It is a show that takes people behind the scenes in preparing a team and is fueled by the attraction of seeing the underdog get a shot at the big time. In 2004 Kieran Donaghy featured as an unknown Underdog, but two years later was an All-Ireland winning Kerry footballer and a household name.”
The finale will be broadcast live from the SETU Arena in Waterford on Saturday, October 29 at 8 pm live on TG4.