GAA Marks Its 125th Birthday

Croke Park in 1929

April / May 2009

The Gaelic Athletic Association staged a spectacular fireworks dis- play at Croke Park in Dublin to commemorate its 125th anniversary since being founded in 1884 in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Association president Nicky Brennan rejected criticism that the 500,000-euro spectacle was inappropriate in a time of economic hardship.

“In the past we have been criticized for not doing enough with our match presentations,” he said. “There is a lot of gloom around the country but perhaps this can be a detachment from that. It’s a match with a show wrapped around it, high- lighting that the GAA is now vibrant and 125 years old.”

While the razzmatazz follow- ing the Dublin/Tyrone football match at Croke Park was greeted enthusiastically by over 80,000 fans, the Association has been unable to resolve the bitter dis- pute between Cork’s senior hurl- ing panel and current manager Gerald McCarthy. Thousands of hurling fans marched through Cork City, in support of the play- ers and it remains highly unlikely that last year’s team will line out again under McCarthy, who is backed by the Cork county board.

In the meantime the manager has fielded a makeshift selection to play out Cork’s fixtures in the National Hurling League. Showing solidarity with the hurling players, Cork senior footballers also indicated they would refuse to play in this year’s Munster championship if the hurling dispute was not resolved.

Nationally at club level, the All- Ireland club championships will be held on St. Patrick’s Day. Galway hurling champions Portumna are favored to beat De La Salle of Waterford, while Armagh’s Crossmaglen Rangers take on Kilmacud Crokes of Dublin in the foot- ball decider.

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