Before he became famous as one of the greatest long-distance and cross country runners ever to regenerate from Wexford was George Blackburn, originally from Ballydamore in the Parish of Monageer, he now resides in Bristol across the water.
Before he emigrated he was an outstanding hurler and footballer with his beloved club – Monageer-Boolavogue. He played with them from his Juvenile days in 1953 up until his voyage to overseas in 1961. During those years, while in Wexford and working in Enniscorthy, his talents as a dual player was recognized by the – Enniscorthy, St. Mary’s – in football and with – St. Aidan’s, Enniscorthy – in hurling.
But after much discussion, he turned his lot in the late 50’s to take part in their Championships. With – St. Aidan’s, Enniscorthy – he won 2 Co. Senior Hurling medals as a sub. in 1958 and 1959 and 1 Runner Up medal with – St. Mary’s, Enniscorthy – in 1957, when they lost the Co. Senior Football Final to St. Munn’s. He played at right halfback in the final.
He was on the team again in 1958 when they gave a W/O to the same opposition in the final.
When playing here before he emigrated, there was no limit to his stamina ability. He could run up and down the field without any undue stress or lack of energy. In his right halfback position, it gave him the leverage to run at opponents and create many chances for his fellow forwards.
Padge Kehoe R.I.P. – was very impressed with the amount of talent that George possessed, especially in football.
He was born in 1938 and was educated at Monageer N.S.. His boyhood hero was – Padge Kehoe R.I.P..
The best dual players he has seen outside of Wexford were – Des Foley (Dublin) R.I.P. and Des Ferguson (Dublin).
In Wexford, he selects the top three players as the best he has seen in – Paddy Kehoe R.I.P., Padge Kehoe R.I.P. and Harry O’Connor R.I.P..
One of the best club teams he has seen in Wexford in football were the – St. Munn’s Team – in the 50’s and in hurling the – St. Aidan’s team – from Enniscorthy also in the 50’s were the best.
Some of the greatest footballers he has seen were – Sean Purcell (Galway) R.I.P., Frankie Stockwell (Galway) R.I.P., Kevin Heffernan (Meath) R.I.P. and Paddy O’Brien (Meath) R.I.P..
The greatest he has seen in Wexford were – Paddy Kehoe R.I.P., Joe Nolan R.I.P., Seamus Keevans R.I.P., Willie Goodison R.I.P. and Bill “Spider” Kelly R.I.P..
The greatest footballer of them all was – Sean Purcell (Galway) R.I.P..
Some of the greatest hurlers he has seen were – Christy Ring R.I.P., Pat Stakelum (Tipperary) R.I.P., Des Foley (Dublin) R.I.P., Jimmy Langton (Kilkenny) R.I.P., Bobby Rackard (Wexford)
R.I.P., Nickey Rackard (Wexford) R.I.P., Nick O’Donnell (Wexford) R.I.P. and Tim Flood (Wexford) R.I.P..
Two of the best full backs he has seen in football were – Paddy O’Brien (Meath) R.I.P. and Paddy Prendergast (Mayo).
The two best centre fields he has seen were – Mick O’Connell (Kerry) and Brian Mullins (Offaly).
The two best full forwards he has seen were – Sean Purcell (Galway) R.I.P. and Kevin Heffernan (Meath) R.I.P..
Two of George’s brothers – Tom and Aidan – also played the game.
The greatest hurler he has ever seen was – Christy Ring R.I.P..
The greatest footballer he has ever seen was – Mick O’Connell. When playing hurling with Monageer-Boolavogue, the hurlers that stood out for him were – Ned O’Brien, Mike Rowsome, Frank Cox, Tommy Walsh, Tom Daly and Harry Jeffs R.I.P..
In later years, he selects – Tom Breen, Billy Rowsome and Declan Rowsome – as excellent players.