They came in their thousands to St Conleth's Park, Newbridge, on Tuesday evening, to be precise, 5,523, to witness the seventh running of the Hurling For Cancer Hurling Challenge in which Jim Bolger's Stars lined up against Davy Russell's Best.
In the end it was the famous horse trainer Bolger's side that defeated top jockey Russell's line-up on a final score line of 6-12 to 5.20.
The result, apart from the bit of banter, was irrelevant as the real winners on the evening, once again was Cancer Research, who up to this year had gained from the previous six challenges to the tune of some €700,000; an incredible sum of money, and remember that was before this year's sum is added.
There were stars from the world of hurling, football, soccer, rugby. entertainment, radio and TV.
Players such as Lee Chin, Noel McGrath, Eoin Kelly, Joe Lyng and Anna Geary, who fired over the opening point of the game; along with JJ Delaney, Jackie Tyrrell, Niall Quinn, Michael Duignan, Richie Hogan, Brian Carroll, Charlie Carter and Stephen Hunt; in fairness the list of participants is endless.
Kildare were well represented. Christy Ring winning captain Brian Byrne along with Neil Ryan, Eoin O'Hehir, the Purcell boys.
Celebrities were there by the bucketful.
Manning the sidelines were Kathy Walshe and Miriam O'Callaghan; on umpire duty was Rich Richie and Willie Mullins and Colm O'Rourke, while Cyril Farrell was the reitóir. Bainisteoirs included Davy Fitzgerald, Brian Coady, along with Liam Griffin; rugby international Tadgh Furlong was kept busy with no shortage of fans.
Apart from Jim Bolger and Davy Russell the racing world was hugely represented with many jockeys in attendance and it was great to see Pat Smullen, who is presently fighting cancer, looking so well and in great form.
Once again this year one of the most popular sportsmen, if not the most popular of all, was former soccer international Paul McGrath, who must have shook hands, signed autographs and stood in for photographs for hundreds of fans. Overall a mighty, entertaining evening with many adjourning to McDonnell's in Newbridge for an after match barbecue and music.
Already looking forward to 2019.
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