The ‘Banner’ roared all the way from Lourdes

Killaloe pilgrims prayed as Clare hurlers played

They may have been a ‘long long way from Clare’, but a group of Lourdes pilgrims found a way to be part of the historic GAA hurling win for their county last weekend.

Having arranged their annual autumn pilgrimage to the French shrine ahead of the hurling final replay in Croke Park on September 28, the Diocese of Killaloe pilgrims at first feared they would miss the epic clash with Co. Cork.

However, the group was overjoyed when the owners of their accommodation, the Agena hotel arranged to have a giant screen available for live transmission of the match. And while the subsequent broadcast necessitated a 70-minute suspension of the pilgrimage, it is reported that many in the hotel had recourse to their rosaries as the game swung back and forth between the sides.

With good cause for celebration after the 5-16 to 3-16 win, the pilgrims used Sunday to light a pilgrimage candle, bedecked in the county colours and recording the county’s triumph. The candle was lit by Tony Carmody of Inagh/Kilnamona parish who was a member of the last Clare Team to reach an All Ireland Final in 2002, and blessed by Canon Michael McLaughlin a native of Miltown Malbay who is the only Clare-born canon of the Lourdes Sanctuary.