Leinster Leader 29th May 1954
FAMOUS KILDARE ATHLETE RETIRES
AN INSPIRATION TO YOUTH
The recent retirement of Detective Sergeant Larry Stanley has severed a most important link in the chain of athletic activities in the Garda Siochana.
Larry it might be said was the pioneer of a trail of high jumpers in the 1920’s which brought that athletic event in Ireland back into world class, and his epic with the world champion, Harold Osborne, U.S.A., in that event at the Tailteann Games at Croke Park in 1924 ranks as one of the highlights in Irish athletics in the present century.
In August, 1923, he began his series of 6ft. jumps which brought him in the next two years to sports fields as far apart as Yorkshire, Lancashire and London, in England, and to the four corners of Ireland, from Letterkenny and Derry to Clonakilty, Mayo and Wexford. Larry has the distinction of being the first man to walk on to an Olympic track in the colours of his county when he represented Ireland in the high jump at the Colombes Stadium in Paris in 1924. That year was crowded with successes for the Kildare footballer turned jumper. Having in May won the high jump at the opening ceremony at the famed Wembley Stadium, London, he returned to that city and at Stamford Bridge on June 21 annexed the coveted A.A.A. high jump championship, having in the interim won the Irish title with a facile 6ft.2in: effort Then followed the Tailteann Games, where his greatest height was achieved. This was 6ft. 3⅛in. to be beaten by Osbourne by a single inch. Just to add a touch of variety to his sporting activities he accepted an invitation from O’Toole’s Dublin football champions, to assist their selection against Kerry in the final of the 1923 All-Ireland championship, in which the Metropolitans were successful. Thus he crowned an unique year’s sporting performances, gathering such distinctions as the A.A.A. and Irish titles in the high jump and an All-Ireland football medal – surely an unusual “triple crown.”
Larry also captained Kildare to win the All-Ireland championship in 1919.
Best in Europe
While as an athlete he ranked with the best in Europe, followers of Gaelic games who saw him in action freely admitted that he was one of the best footballers that ever graced the game. Added to his athletic prowess was a technique and skill that made the most difficult features appear most simple of execution. His fielding of high balls must have been seen to be believed, and the manner in which he could extricate himself from the most difficult situations and swing over points from any angle of the field was the marvel of his time. His speciality was the deep angled frees which presented no more difficulty to him than one placed on the 21 yards in front of goal.
In later years he was the inspiration to the young Gardai who essayed the formation of the present Garda team, and his advice was eagerly sought and readily given. He will always hold a very warm spot for the young men entering the Force who have a leaning towards athletics and games, and no better example should be held up to them than the achievements of the Kildare-Dublin footballer and athlete.
The Leinster Leader of 29th May 1954 reports on the retirement of famous Kildare footballer and athlete Detective Sergeant Larry Stanley.