If fortune favours Galway next Sunday then the coveted Liam McCarthy cup will be sailing down the N17, a road immortalised by the Saw Doctors. Their manager, Ollie Jennings, has been the chief navigator in the success of this bodacious music group. His speciality is band management, but he is also a proud sports enthusiast. It wasn’t until he relocated to Ballinasloe that he became enthralled with hurling through a friendship he forged with the legendary centre-back, Sean Silke.
Speaking to the Galway Advertiser, Ollie defiantly remarked on the youthful exuberance of the current Galway team and earmarked this trait to be what will separate the sides on Sunday. “The Galway teams in the 80s needed to lose an All-Ireland in order to win one, but this time around I think they have a great chance. They have played Kilkenny twice now and gave as good as they got. They play with abandon and I think that will give them the edge.”
Even before Ollie had penetrated the music industry, he was a man with travelling tendencies which kept him from fulfilling his match-going duties as a fan. Although he was detached from the hype and hysteria at home, his passion was reminiscent of the spectators at the matches. While working as fruit distributor in London, Ollie paid £20 to watch the Galway men play in the 1975 All-Ireland on the big screen. Although the 70s were far from affluent times, that was a worthy investment for Ollie, even though Galway were defeated. “I was great friends with Sean Silke and he was centre-back that day but I was working in London so I couldn’t get back for the game but I did get to see it. There was a picture house nearby and I went to watch the match there. When I was on tour with the Saw Doctors in 1993, we rushed off stage from a gig and went into one of the Irish pubs to see the game, the lads are massive Galway supporters.”