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Nicky Rackard: Wexford's Greatest Ever Forward of 1950's Fame
Wexford generated public imagination with their magnificent brand of powerful hurling in the 1950s decade and Nicky Rackard took hurling centre stage when Christy Ring was in the twilight of his career. The Wexfordman became an icon of gaelic games with extraordinary high scoring feats. He made his first All Ireland senior hurling final debut in 1951, alongside his brothers Bobby and Willie, whilst another brother, Jimmy, was also in the panel that lost that ‘51 final to Tipperary. Also in 1951 Nicky won the first of four Leinster provincial senior hurling medals.
Amongst his many scoring feats, the highlights include scoring eight goals and eight points against Antrim in the 1954 All Ireland semi final, as Wexford won 12 - 7 to 2 - 3. He also holds the record for a Leinster final, scoring 5 - 4 against Dublin, as Wexford won 8 - 5 to 1 - 14. His scoring total for 1954 was, 27 goals 35 points in fifteen games, an average of 7 - 7 per game.
In 1955 he scored 20 goals 31 points in 18 games and in 1956, when Wexford retained the Liam McCarthy Cup for the only time, Nicky scored 35 goals 50 points. As hurling’s highest scoring full forward, he set exceptional standards that have stood for many decades. He also played full forward when Wexford won their last Leinster senior football title in 1945.
The Rackard name is legendary in gaelic games and commands unique prosperity in the folklore of hurling. The Rathnure brothers Nicky, Bobby and Willie, are household names all over Ireland and fans were privileged to witness this famed trio of Rackard brothers in action. In 1955 Nicky finally made it to the winning enclosure as Wexford disposed of Galway 3 - 13 to 2 - 8 in the All Ireland final.
It was the 1956 final v Cork that made the Rackard’s of Wexford national heroes . In one of the all time great finals, Nicky and his team beat a star studded Christy Ring Cork team to avenge the 1954 defeat. Wexford had now won back to back titles in true sporting and heroic style and won esteem and admiration for the splendour of their lightning striking of the ball in flight and on the ground.
Foremost at the helm of the Wexford hurling uprising in the 1950s, was the legendary Nicky Rackard. He was a tall and fearless full forward who excelled in both codes for his county and province at full forward. He won many awards for his daring and thrilling displays with Wexford, Leinster, Combined Universities and Rest of Ireland teams. He also won a national hurling league medal in 1956.
THE NICKY RACKARD YEARS ROLL OF HONOUR & STATISTICS