The Nickey Rackard statue
1.25 life-size. Bronze. Wexford, Ireland. 2012
Commissioned by Wexford Borough Council in 2011, this work commemorates one of the greatest hurlers of all time. Leading Wexford to victory in the 1955 and 56 All Ireland finals, Nickey Rackard was a hero of his land. In addition to his sporting prowess and leadership qualities, he overcame his own addiction to become a major promoter of Alcoholics Anonymous in Ireland. His legacy lives on and his story is that of legend.
The work was unveiled on 19th March 2012 by Major David Haines and Nickey's three grandchildren.
'Mark has managed to capture the energy and movement just prior to an explosive drive for goal and the release of what was termed a Rackard special. While the statue bears the image of our father, it is also more than just a representation of one man. As an image of him, himself, it represents the hurling great that he was; the leader, goal scorer, the sportsman. It captures the true grit and determination as he eyes up a typical goal scoring opportunity. He had ferocious determination, power, strength and a will to win'.
'Growing up in the '50's Nickey Rackard was our hero, the dashing figure that led the way for Wexford. Part of the golden team which brought Wexford to the hurling heights in the '50's Nickey in the words of Tom Williams' tribute song, "led with style and dash." We know now that Nickey had to battle his own demons too, again in the words of Cuchulainn's Son, "He beat the devil on that lonely street." Like many of his battles on the field, this proved to be a titanic struggle but in the end he prevailed and his victory gave others the confidence and the courage to prevail too.
I would like to compliment and congratulate Mark Richards on this wonderful piece of sculpture. It has the feel of an action shot. He has captured in bronze the grace, energy and strength that made Nicky the most feared and admired striker of his time, if not of all time. Comhgairdeas and maith thu.'
Bishop Denis Brennan
'May I say that it was a pleasure working with you; you’re a professional in the best sense of the word – your attention to detail in the research and commission of the sculpture was outstanding, but your interaction with the Rackard family and, indeed, all of the people you met, was really fantastic and I think that some of that magic rubbed off on the statue.'
Patrick Collins, Wexford Borough Council