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GPA Legends Lunch returns in association with Cliona’s

The GPA Legends Lunch returns in association with Cliona’s Foundation

Mary Jo Curran, Angela Downey, Babs Keating and Jimmy Keaveney honoured by the GPA

The Gaelic Players Association is delighted to announce that four former players will be 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 will be the honorees as the Legends Lunch returns for the first time since prior to the pandemic in 2019.  It is also the first time that female players will be recognised in this way by the GPA since the merger with the WGPA.

The event will be hosted by Cliona’s Foundation patron and RTÉ star Miriam O’Callaghan along with her RTÉ colleague and Gaelic games presenter Damian Lawlor.  They will be 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 is being 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 per year.

GPA CEO Tom Parsons said; “Current players are very aware of the fact they are standing on the shoulders of the great players that went before them and that is why this event is so important to us.  We are delighted to honour Mary Jo, Angela, Babs and Jimmy; their names are synonymous with Gaelic games and their achievements are truly exceptional.  I look forward to seeing them on the day and also meeting many other players both past and present.

“Players are so pleased that funds from table sales at this event will go directly to our Charity Partner Cliona’s Foundation.  They are a wonderful organisation and we thank them for allowing us to become part of their extended family over the last 18 months.”  

Cliona’s Foundation Co-Founder Brendan Ring said; “We are delighted and incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a charity partner of the Gaelic Players Association. The GPA and Cliona’s are united in their common purpose to work on 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 for example. This Legends Lunch will not only honour some incredible heroes of the game it will also raise the awareness of our amazing families and their struggles. We hope to raise much needed funds for the families that Cliona’s support. I am looking forward to welcoming the corporate community and special guests on the day.”        

GPA Events Manager Karen Thorpe added; “We are unbelievably happy to be bringing back the Legends Lunch. Due to covid, we haven’t been able to host the greats of the game since 2019 so we are delighted that’s it’s happening now in 2022. We have missed the event – it’s such a great opportunity for past team mates to reunite and we are looking forward to enjoying the camaraderie on the day. Any former players who would like to attend can contact me directly to register.“

There are a limited number of corporate tables still available.  Tables of ten are available at €2,000 with all proceeds going to Cliona’s Foundation.  Interested parties should contact karen@gaelicplayers.com.  Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so HERE.

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