Tom Parsons at the launch of TG4's new series of Laochra Gael at Light House Cinema in Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Mayo legend to feature in latest series of Laochra Gael

Eight Gaelic games legends who performed heroics on the field and who each have a unique and extraordinary story to tell will be featured in the latest series of Laochra Gael on TG4 – including Charlestown Sarsfields and Mayo star Tom Parsons.

The definitive GAA sports series, Laochra Gael returns to TG4 this spring for a 21st series. The series' hour-long format has proved a huge success, bringing each player’s personal stories to screen.

The series features eight Laochra with genuine star quality and reveals deeper, fresh and sometimes unexpected insights into the lives of these icons. While their sporting careers continue to provide the backdrop to the story, the series travels well beyond the four white lines. Gripping personal storylines will compel viewers to travel towards territory unique to the GAA television landscape.

Parsons is the subject of programme number four in the series, airing at 9.30 p.m. on Thursday, February 16. It explains who Tom came to the fore in 2008, becoming a star for the Mayo seniors while still in his teens. When he was dropped from the panel in 2011, his world fell apart.

However, he came back in 2014 and was at the heart of the renowned rivlary with the Dubs. Whatever heartache he felt from the defeats in those clashes, it was put into perspective when he suffered a horrific injury in 2018. Although he was told there was a chance he may not walk again, he miraculously took to the field again in 2019.

Directed by Hugh Walsh, the programme features Tom along with Colm Boyle, Paul Conroy, Mark Harte, John Casey, Paul Flynn, Carol Hopkins, Tom Parsons Snr, Carmel Parsons, Matthew Parsons and Chloe Parsons.

This series of Laochra Gael returns on Thursday of next week, January 26 (9.30 p.m.), with a programme dedicated to Galway hurler Joe Canning. Marked for greatness from the start, Joe carried the burden of being the chosen one that would end the Galway hurling famine.

The series continues each Thursday thereafter with Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony, Kilkenny camogie legend Anne Dalton, the aforementioned Tom Parsons, Waterford footballer Áine Wall, Tipperary hurler Liam Sheedy and Donegal football star Anthony Molloy before concluding on Thursday, March 16, with an episode featuring Cork footballer Noel O’Leary.

Ahead of the new Laochra Gael series, GAA President Larry McCarthy said: “Excellence in Gaelic games coverage has been a hallmark of TG4 and the Laochra Gael series has been another manifestation of this. Over many years the series has built a strong following through their diverse and compelling stories of players who have helped grow the popularity of our games. I look forward to the latest series and the profiling of more influential figures from across Gaelic games.”

TG4's director general, Alan Esslemont, added: “Irish audiences love to watch live sport, especially Gaelic games, and we understandably see GAA, LGFA and camogie players as the superb athletes they are on the pitch – skilled, talented and brilliant sportswomen and sportsmen. But all of these athletes also have human lives which are connected with yet independent from their sport.

“The strength of the Laochra Gael series is the storytelling of these human lives, their highs and their lows, powerful, moving, heart-warming, heart-breaking and always compelling.

“I am deeply grateful to the broad family of Gaelic games players for allowing the wonderful team at Nemeton TV into their lives and for allowing TG4 to bring their stories to a fascinated and absorbed Irish viewing public. Bainigí sult as an tsraith nua!”

Laochra Gael returns to TG4 at 9.30 p.m. on Thursday, January 26. The series is produced by NemetonTV, the independent production company from An Rinn in the Waterford Gaeltacht which has produced much of TG4’s acclaimed sports coverage.