Liam Chunky O’Brien
By Jim Fogarty.
ON the Tuesday, when we heard of Liam’s death, it was appropriate to remember him as perhaps the greatest stylist to hurl for Kilkenny.
Lets get his achievements down in print;
Four All-Ireland senior medals, 1972,74,75 and 79.
Man Of the Match in the ‘75 and ‘79 finals.
Texaco Hurler Of the Year in 1975.
Scored 1-7 in the 1979 final from left half forward.
Played at midfield in the ‘72,’74 and ‘75 finals.
Won an All-Ireland club championship with the ‘Village’min 1976.
Three Railway Cup medals with Leinster, ‘73, ‘75 and ‘77.
Four All-Star awards, 73,74,75 and 79.
More important than his very impressive achievements, some just noted, was the style and skill with which he adorned the great game. As winter nights approach and as we must make do with memories, Chunky’s skill and artistry will feature in many recollections. Chunky is a family name handed down from previous hurling generations.
Was there ever a more inappropriate name to describe the hurling wizard that was Liam O’Brien in the 1970s? A cheetah, a cobra, would reflect his speed and score poaching ability. The lithe, lissom hurler who adorned the great stadia of Ireland for more than a decade could never be described as chunky.
Recall his dashing runs from midfield, with the ball stuck to his hurley as if controlled by a magnet. Picture the sprayed passes left and right to better placed teammates, which inevitably led to vital scores. Visualise the beautiful striking action which today’s overpaid and overrated golf pros would kill for.
Yes Liam, it is not the bump and grind of the so-called hard men that will illuminate long winter nights. To this non-native you were the very prototype of the skill and artistry of Kilkenny hurling at its best.
Go ndeana Dia trocaire ar do anam dilis.