Laois legend Sue Ramsbottom's Laochra Gael to air on Thursday January 27


The definitive GAA sports series Laochra Gael returns to TG4 for another series starting on the 13th of January. The series hour-long format has proved a huge success, bringing each player’s personal stories to screen. The series features six Laochra with genuine star quality and reveals deeper, fresh and sometimes unexpected insights into the lives of these icons. While their sporting careers continue to provide the backdrop to the story, the series travels well beyond the four white lines. Gripping personal storylines will compel viewers to travel towards territory unique to the GAA television landscape.

Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton- Antrim 13th January 9.30pm

Laochra Gael starts with the extraordinary story of Antrim hurler, Terence “Sambo” McNaughton. As a boy, Sambo suffered exclusion because of his speech impediment. He found release on the playing field, but the life of a hurler was perilous in the North in the eighties. Because of his fame as a player, he was targeted for assassination by the UDA. In spite of all of this, Sambo became the heartbeat of the team that pulled off the biggest shock in the history of Gaelic Games, a team that will be remembered forever.

Director: Cormac Morel. Participants: Terence McNaughton; Ursula McNaughton; Ciarán Barr; Declan Bogue; Jarlath Burns; Liam Fennelly; Dáithí Regan; Pat Fleury

Michael Darragh MacAuley- Dublin   20th January 9.30pm  

The second programme tells the story of Dublin footballer, Michael Darragh MacAuley. From background and style, MacAuley was not the typical GAA player, and always defied convention or description. He endured tragedy in his youth with the loss of his mother, and again when his father died a year after he won his first championship. He overcame his troubles to become the heartbeat of the greatest team of all time. He retired with 9 All-Ireland medals in his pocket and a vision to spread the benefits of sport across the city that he loves.

Director: Ronan O’Donoghue. Participants: Michael Darragh MacAuley; Dara Nelson; Paul Flynn; Tom Parsons; Sean Moran; Gary Sice.

Sue Ramsbottom- Laois  27th January 9.30pm

Laochra Gael continues with one of the greatest players in the history of Ladies Football, Sue Ramsbottom. A child prodigy, she played senior football at just 12 years of age. Sue suffered heartbreak on the field time and time again, but in 2001 she finally fulfilled her dream of winning an All-Ireland medal. 6 years after winning the All-Ireland with her, Sue’s life-long friend, Lulu Carroll passed away after a battle with cancer. After over twenty years at the top of her sport and a military career across the world, Sue, with her two daughters, is now back in her beloved home county, Laois.

Director: Paul Jenkins. Participants: Sue Ramsbottom; James Ramsbottom; Connie Conway; Daragh Ó Conchúir; Caoimhe Burke; Emma Burke; Máire Ní Bhraonáin; Michael Ryan; Ceannfort Caroline Burke.

Joe Quaid – Limerick  3rd February 9.30pm

With a famed surname, Joe was destined to wear the Limerick jersey. And indeed, he inherited the goalkeeping post from his hero, his cousin Tommy. Joe was made a scapegoat for the most notorious defeat in history in 1994. Despite the criticism, he more than held his own among the greatest generation of goalkeepers ever. He has faced horrific injury and the tragic death of Tommy. But throughout it all, he has proudly carried the Quaid legacy, which has now fallen to Tommy’s son, Nickie.

Director: Sarah McCoy. Participants: Joe Quaid; Gerry Quaid; TJ Ryan; Mark Foley; Brendan Cummins; Pat Fleury; Michael Moynihan; Nickie Quaid.

Kieran Fitzgerald – Galway 10th February 9.30pm

Kieran burst onto the scene in 2001, winning the All-Ireland and an All-Star at just 20 years of age. A few years later, he was dealt a crushing blow when his girlfriend, Mairéad Meehan, lost her battle with cancer. Under a cloud of grief following Mairéad’s passing, Kieran’s love for the game declined. He eventually found rejuvenation with his club, Corofin, performing heroics to win an extraordinary three Club All-Irelands in a row in his late thirties.

Director: Cormac Morel. Participants: Kieran Fitzgerald; Emer Flaherty; Michael Meehan; Gary Sice; Stephen Rochford; Sean Moran; Máire Ní Bhraonáin

Johnny McGurk- Derry 17th February 9.30pm

For the Series Finale of Laochra Gael comes the story of the rise and fall of Derry footballer Johnny McGurk. Johnny will always be remembered in his home county as the man who kicked the winning point against Dublin, on the way to the first and only All-Ireland win in Derry’s history. When he retired from playing, though, Johnny’s life fell apart. In the grips of a gambling addiction, Johnny stole over £500,000 from his employers. When he was found out, his marriage ended, he faced public shame and finally he was sent to prison.

Director: Ronan O’Donoghue. Participants: Johnny McGurk; Helen O’Neill; Tony McGurk; Henry Downey; Paul John McCormack; Declan Bogue; Jarlath Burns

Ahead of the new Laochra Gael Series Uachtarán CLG, Larry McCarthy said: “TG4 has made a major contribution to Irish life since it first launched 25 years ago, and from its earliest days, it has carved a niche in the excellence of its GAA coverage and of club games in particular. Aside from the matches, the Laochra Gael series has become a staple of the GAA supporter’s TV diet. Season after season they produce magnificent programmes that not only relive glory days but bring us inside the dressing room through their iconic player profiles. I look forward to seeing the latest batch of heroes being brought to our screens and wish the programme and the channel continued success.”

TG4’s Head of Sport, Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said: “TG4 is very proud to be broadcasting the 20th season of the iconic sporting series Laochra Gael. Since the station was founded 25 years ago, our coverage of Gaelic Games has played a central role in our service to Irish audiences. Laochra Gael is an integral part of this. Our thanks to each of the participants, and to their friends and families for sharing their fascinating stories, and for letting us see them, beyond how we knew them on the field of play.”

Six outstanding Gaels. Six remarkable personal stories. “Laochra Gael” is back on TG4 at 9.30pm on Thursday the 13th January 2021.

The series is produced by NemetonTV, the independent production company from An Rinn in the Waterford Gaeltacht which has produced much of TG4’s acclaimed sports coverage.

The new Laochra Gael season will air on TG4 at 9.30pm on Thursday evenings starting January 13th.

Images available to download here: 

For further information and viewing copies for press, please contact: Linda Ní Ghríofa, TG4 Communications Editor +879172864

Laochra Gael Series:

Programme 1:   Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton, 9.30pm, Thursday 13th January

Programme 2:  Michael Darragh MacAuley, 9.30pm, Thursday 20th January

Programme 3:  Sue Ramsbottom, 9.30pm, Thursday 27st January

Programme 4:  Joe Quaid,  9.30pm, Thursday 3rd February

Programme 5:  Kieran Fitzgerald, 9.30pm, Thursday 10th February

Programme 6: Johnny McGurk, 9.30pm, Thursday 17th February

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