Curtain comes down on GAA 25 celebrations in Thurles

THE GAA will conclude their 125 celebrations on Sunday in Thurles, on the anniversary of the day the Association was founded in Hayes Hotel in 1884.

Organised by the Tipperary County Board and the National Awards & Presentation Committee in conjunction with the Munster Council, it will feature a special Mass at 11am in the Cathedral of the Assumption followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Croke Monument in Liberty Square.

The chief celebrant at the mass will be Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly and Patron of the GAA. The mass readings will be given by GAA President Christy Cooney and Director-General Paraic Duffy, while the prayers of the faithful will be recited by representatives of the provincial councils.

Before the Mass, GAA dignitaries will bring symbolic items to the altar and they will include the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy Cups.

Immediately after the Mass, there will be a procession to the Croke Monument, led by the Artane Band and a colour party comprising members of the Durlas Óg U-14 panel and national GAA representatives. Flags of the 32 counties, along with the Tricolour, the provincial and 125 flags will be on show.

The ceremony at the Croke Monument will honour Archbishop TW Croke (after whom Croke Park is named). He was proposed as a patron of the new association at the foundation meeting on November 1, 1884 and a formal letter of acceptance was read out at the second meeting, which took place in the Victoria Hotel in Cork on December 27.

Christy Cooney will lay a wreath at the monument and Dr Croke’s famous letter will be read out.

The Artane Band will also perform at the Munster club hurling game in Semple Stadium between the Tipperary and Cork champions, Newtownshandrum and Thurles Sarsfields as part of the province’s 125 celebrations. They will lead out a parade of representatives of all of the clubs which have captured provincial titles.

The weekend celebrations will also include a senior football game between Tipperary and Cork under lights in Semple Stadium on Saturday night (7pm), as part of the Michael Hogan ‘memorial weekend’ being promoted by the Grangemockler Club. And, early on Sunday morning, the GAA President will unveil a plaque to the memory of Hogan after whom the Hogan Stand is named.

The foundation meeting of the GAA took place on a Saturday, in the billiard room of Miss Hayes’ Commercial Hotel. The fledgling organisation was initially known as the ‘Gaelic Athletic Association for the Preservation and Cultivation of National Pastimes.’ The seven founder members were Michael Cusack, Maurice Davin, John Wyse Power, John McKay, JK Bracken, Joseph O’Ryan and Thomas St George McCarthy. Two of the founder-members were journalists, Wyse Power (from Waterford) who was then working with the Leinster Leader and McKay. A native of Co Down, he worked in Belfast and at the time was on the staff of the then Cork Examiner.

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