THE Sam Maguire GAA Sevens’ committee recently held a press night in the historic Sam Maguire homestead in Mallabracka as the countdown to the much-anticipated GAA Sevens competition continues.
There will be a family day held in Dunmanway on Saturday with the main attraction being the ladies’ and men’s seven-a-side football tournament which has attracted huge entries from teams throughout Cork and beyond. Committee member Finny Collins has been delighted with the strong response from teams.
“We have been contacted from a lot of clubs from throughout Cork and indeed, Munster, who are keen to play. This is the first time a ladies’ seven-a-side tournament will be held. We have got some great players and clubs lined up. We have received great backing from our sponsors. It will be a great event,” revealed Collins.
Dunmanway is a region steeped in GAA history. The local Dohenys GAA club are delighted to spearhead and help with this initiative which seeks to promote and highlight Sam Maguire’s legacy to the GAA.
Well-known GAA personalities are due to embark on a trip to Dunmanway tomorrow to view the many activities with many star players due to take part in the seven-a-side. A poc fada will also entice talented hurlers from throughout the county, keen to enhance their reputation.
Committee member Tim Buckley is delighted with the concept of the Sam Maguire GAA Sevens.
“We have a rich and proud history in Dunmanway. Sam Maguire is known throughout the country. It is important we honour his legacy. We have huge plans for this competition.
“It will be a celebration for both young and old. We have lots of teams who have entered with people due to travel from all over Ireland for this festival.
“Sam Maguire is a huge name and it is important we make sure the next generation know all about him. There will be regular trips to his homestead in Mallabracka on the day and we will have a tribute to Sam on display in the club pavilion.
“There will also be trips to the newly-installed Sam Maguire Community Bells.”
Andrew Healy of SuperValu, Dunmanway who are one of the main sponsors of the competition, revealed his delight at coming on board.
“When I met the committee members I was very impressed. They are very talented and hard-working. The potential for this competition is huge. It is a huge opportunity for Dunmanway town.
“We have received great support from the business community. It is great to help the community.
“It is vital we put Dunmanway on the map for hosting such a big football tournament for both the men’s and ladies teams.”
Cork GAA PRO Joseph Blake spoke on behalf of the County Board.
The Adrigole man delivered a very passionate speech on the impact the Sam Maguire Cup had on him as a young man.
“This tournament has a very unique selling point,” Blake said.
“Sam Maguire is a huge name. The first time I held aloft the Sam Maguire Cup was back in 1990 when I was just a young lad.
“Cork had just won the double.
“I was at a football game with Brendan Jer O’Sullivan, the former Cork senior footballer, and I spotted the cup. We just about managed to lift it. It was a brilliant feeling.
“The next time I lifted the cup was after Cork won the All-Ireland final in 2010.
“It is a special cup. It is great to see the homestead restored. It promises to be a competitive weekend, but it will also be a social weekend.
“I really hope, that in the coming years, we will have the Sam Maguire Cup down in Dunmanway for the seven-a-side tournament after the senior football team have won it.
“There is a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes in Cork football at present.
“The U20 footballers enjoyed a great year and they were captained by a west Cork man in Peter O’Driscoll.
“As an officer of the County Board, I wish the organisers of the competition all the very best.”
Former Cork hurling star Seán Óg Ó hAilpín was the last man to speak at the well-attended function.
The Na Piarsaigh club man delivered a passionate speech.
“It should be a great weekend. It is a great concept,” Ó hAilpín said.
“Sam Maguire is the reason we all tune in for the All-Ireland football final.
“Every team throughout the country is vying to bring the Sam Maguire Cup home.
“The ladies’ and men’s football games will be great. The sevens format is always exciting.
“The long puc competition is also a great addition.
“Hopefully, that will continue to grow and it will attract both current and former hurling stars.
“It would be great if we could set this up as the southern equivalent of the Cooley Mountains competition.
“The committee members bringing this competition to Dunmanway deserve a lot of praise as they have invested a lot of work behind the scenes.
“From being a player and coach myself, organising an event requires everyone working together for the betterment of all.
“They are trying to promote their community and the legacy of Sam Maguire.
“They deserve lots of support and praise.
“It will be a great weekend."