Dubliner Sean Meaney has been lobbying the GAA for more than 10 years to provide funding for a statue in Cork to honour his famous ancestor’s legacy to Gaelic games.
Earlier this week, after laying a commemorative plaque on MacCarthy’s London grave, Mr Meaney spoke of his distant relative’s “overlooked” contribution to the fight for independence.
MacCarthy, who was born in England to an emigrant couple from Ballygarvan, Co Cork, went on to head London’s branch of the Irish Volunteers and is believed to have played a key role in the Howth gun-running episode in July 1914.
According to Mr Meaney, he also played a major part in helping to spring Éamon de Valera from Lincoln Prison in 1918.
Mr Meaney said: “The Irish public know very little about the man who gave his name to the Liam McCarthy Cup. He established the London GAA county board, where he was chairman for 10 years, and in 1920 he designed and funded the making of a new cup, which he donated to the GAA.
“From the following year it was known as the Liam McCarthy Cup and has been presented to the All-Ireland senior hurling champions ever since. But he also had a remarkable relationship with Michael Collins and Patrick Pearse and it’s important that that’s remembered in this centenary year.”
Mr Meaney said the 1916 commemorations have made him more determined than ever to honour MacCarthy by raising funds for a permanent memorial in Cork.
He said: “A statue would cost somewhere in the region of €80,000 to €100,000 and I’ve suggested before that the GAA should donate €1 from every ticket sold to an All-Ireland final to fund it, which would provide more than enough money.
“But whether the GAA comes on board or not, I’m going to try and raise this money myself by 2021, which would be the centenary year of when the first Liam McCarthy Cup was presented.
“I’m also in talks with a major TV company, who are interested in making a documentary about him.
“It’s in the early stages at the moment, but if that happens it would be a huge boost, because it would help people learn more about Liam MacCarthy and help me with the fundraising.”