A pair of con-artists tricked GAA fans at the recent Allianz League football semi-finals into paying for photographs of themselves with what they thought was the Sam Maguire Cup, writes Brendan O'Brien of the Irish Examiner.
Few trophies are as well-travelled and recognisable as the Sam Maguire Cup, but it appears as if some supporters were hoodwinked into parting with cash to have their pictures taken with an imposter outside Croke Park earlier this month.
Fans attending the football semis between Kerry-Roscommon and Dublin-Donegal were reportedly duped by a couple of scam artists who, masquerading as Croke Park employees, agreed to accept money for a quick snap.
An eyewitness account suggested the individuals were moved on by gardaí at one point whilst in the vicinity of the stadium, but the incident was not included in the routine debriefing meeting that takes place between gardaí and the GAA after every game at HQ.
It is not known how many unofficial such trophies may be in existence.
There is at least one pub in the country which owns such a model, but the cost of producing a replica is believed to be significant and the chances of achieving anything like an exact match rather low.
“I have anecdotally heard of one incident that happened in Temple Bar last summer,” said GAA head of media relations Alan Milton yesterday.
“I didn’t witness it myself, but I did get a call about it. It’s very rare, to be honest. I could probably count the incidents on one hand. It is actually very expensive to get something like that (made) and we’ve never had an official complaint from any members of the public about something like this and we haven’t heard anything about this from the gardaí since.”
There are actually three ‘official’ Sam Maguires: the original, which is very fragile and locked away behind glass in the museum where a second is also kept, and then the third, which is presented to the All-Ireland champions every year.