The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) continues a roadshow to promote the Lory Meagher, Nicky Rackard, Christy Ring and Joe McDonagh Cups & Competitions, this time visiting Ballinderreen GAA – the home club of Joe McDonagh. 2019 is the second year of the Joe McDonagh Cup, with Carlow taking home the silverware in its inaugural year.
Following on from Carlow’s success in 2018, this year Antrim, Kerry, Laois, Offaly and Westmeath will compete for a coveted place in the final in Croke Park and the ultimate prize of promotion to the Liam McCarthy Cup in 2020. The game will precede the 2020 Leinster Final.
This afternoon saw players from the five counties playing in the 2019 Joe McDonagh competition come together to help raise the profile of the competition, its heritage and its players. Representatives from each of the competing counties also hosted a hurling skills session with U14’s and U16’s teams from Mc Donagh’s club Ballinderreen.
The Joe McDonagh Cup is named in honour of the former Galway hurler, Joe McDonagh. McDonagh also served as President of the GAA from 1997 to 2000. In 2005, the Irish Independent named him amongst its substitutes in its list of "The Men Who Changed the Face of Galway Hurling". One of the most iconic moments associated with McDonagh is his rendition of ‘The West’s Awake’ from the Hogan Stand in Croke Park after winning the All Ireland Hurling Final with Galway in 1980.
The event was held in Ballinderreen, the home club of Joe McDonagh and his some of his family members and team mates were in attendance. The event aimed to tie the history and culture of the competition to the players who are competing in it today. Ballinderreen GAA Chairman, Mattie Larkin hosted the group on the day and welcomed songs from Mike Burke and a performance from Abbeyknockmoy Scór na nÓg Champions.
Speaking about the event Paul Flynn, CEO at the GPA said, “The GPA have three main pillars player welfare, player development and player representation. Under representation promoting our players and our games is of the upmost importance to us. We are delighted to be working with the teams competing in the Joe McDonagh cup to promote this exciting competition. To have the cup back in Joe’s home club is really special and we look forward to the kick off of the competition this summer.”
Neil McManus of Antrim Hurling said, “This competition remembers the amazing contribution made to Hurling by Joe McDonagh; a giant of the game. The Joe McDonagh cup provided a great competition in 2018 and the tiered system of hurling has increase competitiveness across the board.”
This is the final event of a roadshow in the lead up to the official launch of the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup Competitions. The roadshow saw each of the cups making their first ever visit to their name sake club locations along with the representatives from each team competing in that tier.
The first games of the Joe McDonagh competition kick off with Antrim against Kerry and Offaly against Laois on Saturday 11th May.
The official launch of the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup Competitions will take place on Thursday 9th May in Croke Park.