The GPA Legends Lunch returned to Croke Park honouring
Mary Jo Curran, Angela Downey, Babs Keating and Jimmy Keaveney and raising raising €60,000 for Cliona’s Foundation
The Gaelic Players Association were delighted to honour four former players who were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the GPA Legends at Croke Park on Friday, August 26th. Kerry’s Mary Jo Curran, Kilkenny’s Angela Downey, Tipperary’s Babs Keating and Dublin’s Jimmy Keaveney were honuorees as the Legends Lunch returned for first time since prior to the pandemic in 2019. It is also the first time that female players were recognised in this way by the GPA.
The event was hosted by Cliona’s Foundation patron and RTÉ star Miriam O’Callaghan long with her RTÉ colleague and Gaelic games presenter Damian Lawlor. They were joined by a number of special guests including renowned impressionist Aidan Tierney.
Mary Jo Curran is one of the all-time greats of Gaelic football. In total she won 10 All-Ireland titles as a player, including being part of 9 All-Ireland wins in-a-row in a golden age for the Kingdom. She also won 10 All-Stars in that time.
Angela Downey is considered by many as camogie’s best of all-time. In a career that spanned 25 seasons with Kilkenny, she amassed 12 All-Ireland titles, 13 Leinster titles and 8 National League titles. She was also named on the Camogie Team of the Century chosen at left corner-forward.
Michael ‘Babs’ Keating is an iconic name in the hurling world but it should not be forgotten he also lined out for the Tipperary senior footballers. However, it was with the hurlers where he enjoyed more success winning 2 All-Irelands as a player and being named on the inaugural All-Stars team in 1971. He was also the Texaco Hurler of the Year in that year. As a manager he also led Tipp to 2 All-Ireland titles.
Jimmy Keaveney enjoys legendary status among, not alone Dublin supporters, but supporters across the country. A 3-time All-Ireland winner, he was a key component of the Dublin team that won Sam Maguire in 1974, 1976 and 1977. Jimmy won the Texaco Footballer of the Year in both of those latter two All-Ireland winning years.
The GPA Legends Lunch was organised in association with Limerick based, national charity Cliona’s Foundation (clionas.ie). Cliona’s Foundation provides financial assistance to families with children who have life limiting conditions to help them with the significant non-medical costs of caring for their child while in hospital or at home. These costs include accommodation, travel, petrol, car parking etc and can amount to an additional €10,000 to €15,000 per year.
GPA CEO Tom Parsons said; “This years GPA Legends lunch was a highlight for the year for me, it was our first lunch for past players since the merger of the GPA and WGPA in 2020. It was fantastic to be able to honor four incredible past players who have given so much to Gaelic Games, well done Mary Jo, Angela, Babs and Jimmy. I am incredibly proud that the GPA partnered with Cliona’s Foundation, a charity that support the most vulnerable families in our society today, those who are caring for sick children. I would like to sincerely thank the Clionas Foundation team for partnering with the GPA and for the important work they continue to do for vulnerable families across Ireland. Its important I express my absolute gratitude and appreciation for all those who supported and sponsored the event, which raised much needed funds that will give financial aid to over 30 families in Ireland through the foundation.
Cliona’s Foundation Co-Founder Brendan Ring said; “The Legends Lunch was a remarkable event, not only were some incredible heroes of the past from the games recognized for their achievements at the event but it also raised an astounding amount of money and awareness for our amazing families and their struggles. We are delighted and incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a charity partner of the Gaelic Players Association, Team Cliona’s will never forget that very special afternoon in Croke Park. The GPA family and Cliona’s are united in their common purpose to work with helping communities all over the island of Ireland. Families who are caring for sick children are in a real crisis right now. It is especially difficult in these times to afford things such as petrol and accommodation, never mind other associated costs of parking and general subsistence when travelling for a child’s treatment. I’d like to thank everyone who supported the event – without your support it would not have been possible
GPA Events Manager Karen Thorpe added; “We were absolutely thrilled to bring the Legends Lunch back to Croke Park on Friday. It was a fantastic day with 450 in attendance.it was wonderful to see all of the legends back together again while honoring 4 fantastic players who have made such an impact to the games. The icing on the cake was raising 60k for Cliona’s Foundation who are such a wonderful charity. We thank all of the supporters who made this happen.”