Nickey Rackard’s All-Ireland medal for sale

Memento of 1950s Wexford hurling star is top lot in auction of sports and history memorabilia at Mealy’s


Sports fans are among the most avid collectors and a lucrative business has developed supplying their demand for mementoes. GAA and rugby items are among the sporting lots in Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers’ sale - in Dublin on July 1st. The most notable lot is the 1955 All-Ireland Hurling Final medal won by Nickey Rackard of the Wexford team who beat Galway to win the championship for the first time since 1910. The estimate is €5,000-€7,000. Nickey Rackard (1922-1976) was one of the best-known sportsmen of mid-20th century Ireland and is regarded as one of hurling’s all-time great players. He became a veterinary surgeon and died, aged 53, in 1976. A statue of him was unveiled in Wexford town in 2012. His brothers Bobby and Billy also played with the Wexford team and a signed photograph of Billy in action against Cork’s Christy Ring is estimated at €75-€100.

A rare rugby medal, a 9ct gold medal inscribed “Leinster Challenge Cup 1885,” and “Won by W.F.C. [Wanderers Football Club] F.W. Moore, Forward,” which the auctioneer said “appears to be the earliest awarded medal in Irish Rugby extant” has a guide of €1,500-€2,000.

Kevin Barry memorabila

A very different 20th-century Irish sportsman – now best-remembered for political reasons – is recalled in the auction with a selection of Kevin Barry items. Barry, born in 1902, was a medical student in UCD who was hanged in Dublin in 1920 after being convicted of participating in an ambush which caused the deaths of three British soldiers during the War of Independence.

As a schoolboy at Belvedere College he was a noted hurler and rugby player. A pair of postcards, one with Kevin Barry wearing his rugby jersey, the other showing him playing for Belvedere College against Blackrock College at Lansdowne Road, inscribed in pencil on reverse, is €300-€400.

A notebook belonging to “K.G. Barry, 1 Middle, Belvedere College” contains entries dated from September 6th, 1917 to May 23rd, 1918. Barry describes 53 scientific experiments and there are notes added by the teacher, Thomas Counihan, SJ (€1,000-€1,500).

A certificate of Kevin Barry’s medical studies at UCD, date-stamped June 24th, 1920, records that “Mr. Kevin G. Barry,” had attended courses in Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology (€600-€800).

The auction also includes rare books, manuscripts and photographs. Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, Rare Book and Collectors’ Sale. Viewing at the Clyde Court Hotel, Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4 from June 29th. Auction July 1st from 10am. See

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