Eight months of celebration — around a cup?
But this is no ordinary cup: It’s one of the most coveted trophies in Irish sport.
The West Cork town of Dunmanway is putting the final touches to a packed programme celebrating the 90th anniversary of the iconic Sam Maguire Cup.
Beginning on March 18 with a special launch by the president of the GAA before an expected crowd of 2,000, the celebrations around the legacy of the committed republican and Gaelic footballer after whom the cup is named, will stretch right through until mid- October, involving the efforts of no fewer than 17 local organisations.
“Sam Maguire has been celebrated in Dunmanway for many years,” said Kirstie Smith, development officer with Dunmanway Family Resource Centre, one of the organisations arranging events as part of the celebration.
“The 90th anniversary plans are a celebration of the life and ethos of Sam Maguire, the man,” she says.
Born in Mallabracka just outside Dunmanway, Maguire was educated in the town, and a year after his death, gave his name to one of the most coveted trophies in Irish sport in 1928.
“Sam Maguire’s name has become the most widely- known of all the Gaelic personalities in Irish sport,” said Ms Smith.
Each of 17 local community and cultural groups in the town, from Dunmanway Community Council to the local Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Association, is organising events for the festival, promising a diverse programme.
The mission, said Ms Smith, is to “pull together the events of different community groups and organisations into a consolidated programme for the whole town”.
“The idea came about after a group of local residents felt the whole town should be involved in the celebrations around the 90th anniversary of the cup,” she said.
“We now have a very wide range of events which should attract all kinds of people in the area.
“Most of the events are family-orientated, with activities for children woven through the programme,” she added.
A Dunmanway Sam Maguire Celebrations group is coordinating events. The programme, which kicks off on March 18 with a St Patrick’s Day Parade, musical entertainment, and a variety of activities in the GAA pavilion, includes a GAA under-10 blitz on March 19, and Life Long Learning Festival with Sam Maguire-themed events running from March 19 to 24.
Other events include a Sam Maguire Scoraíocht in early April and a Comhaltas performance at the home-place of Sam Maguire in June.
August brings a variety of heritage events surrounding the legacy of Sam Maguire as well as a special graveside commemoration of the man on Sunday 26.
In September, a Sam Maguire Festival and special culture night is being planned at the homeplace, while on October 13 a dinner dance will be held by the local chamber of commerce at which the Sam Maguire Cup is due to be displayed.
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