Galway’s minor hurlers may have benefited from the malfunction of Hawkeye in Croke Park last Sunday, but unknown to the team and squad, they were being roared on to success by one of the biggest names in world cinema.
Oscar winner Tom Hanks and his family who were flying on a private jet from the US to Greece stopped over at Shannon Airport to refuel, but were so engrossed by the thrilling minor match between Galway and Limerick, that they delayed their departure to watch the thrilling climax.
And while the Hanks family were surrounded by many Limerick supporters in Shannon, he opted to root for Galway, telling his sons about the game and celebrating loudly as Mattie Murphy’s brave boys emerged victorious.
“They were only here for a brief stop but they were enjoying watching the minor match on TV so much that they delayed their departure to take in the end of the game,” explained Duty Manager Carmel Donnellan.
”Tom and his sons were in the bar having a drink and he was explaining hurling to them and said “this is the game I have been telling you about.’
”His sons seemed to be enjoying the game also and then his daughter came over before they were joined by his wife.
”He must have a grá for Galway as well as he wanted them to win the minor. There was plenty of Limerick staff around but we weren’t going to challenge him on that,” she joked.
Ms Donnellan said that the movie star could not have been nicer to people looking for a photo or autograph with him.
”He is such a nice man and happily posed for photos with staff and passengers. He could have gone to the VIP room but he just stayed there in the Sheridan bar with his family, watching the match the same as everyone else.
”Mr Hanks has been through here before. In fact, the last time he flew into Shannon he was with Bruce Springsteen. You can imagine the heads that they turned.
He really is as modest and nice as he comes across on screen,” she said.
Shannon is attracting the celebrities this year. In June the airport had Irish-American royalty in Jean Kennedy Smith, last month it was Bruce Springsteen, since then it has hosted none other than Justin Timberlake and his movie star wife Jessica Biel.