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Macra na Feirme make history in Croke Park

16 June 2017
Macra na Feirme make history in Croke Park

‘The most memorable Macra event I’ve ever attended’ said one Macra na Feirme member as the Croke Park Challenge Cup final between Massey Kickhams and McHale Shamrocks drew to a close.

Over 60 players representing Macra clubs from all over Ireland lined out in Croke Park on Tuesday evening for the Croke Park Challenge Cup fundraising event.

Macra na Feirme became only the second charitable organisation to be allowed the use of Croke Park, raising much needed funds to continue our range of support services for young farmers and the rural youth of Ireland.

There was no shortage of well-known GAA personalities there on the day, as All-Ireland winning manager John O’Mahony donned the Banisteoir bib once more to take charge of McHale Shamrocks while in opposition he had All-Ireland winning footballer and GAA Analyst Pat Spillane, who took charge of the Massey Kickhams.

In the post-match banquet all players received a commemorative medal and were treated to a few great tales of the early years of GAA broadcasting from legendary commentator Micheal O’Muircheartaigh, including the little-known fact that the very first radio broadcast of a sporting event in Europe was the 1926 All Ireland Hurling Semi Final between Galway and Kilkenny on 2RN.

Speaking at the event Massey Kickhams manager Pat Spillane said, ‘The ultimate dream for any GAA player is to play in Croke Park. I was privileged enough to be a part of the greatest Gaelic football team of all time. I played in 10 All-Ireland finals with Kerry and won eight. It’s Mecca, it’s the place to be. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get the Croke Park experience and until the day they die they can tell their children, grandchildren, friends and neighbours that they played in Croke Park.

McHale Shamrocks manager John O’Mahony said ‘Macra na Feirme has its tentacles in every parish throughout rural Ireland, it’s very similar to the GAA in that respect and it makes today’s occasion a great fit. There are major challenges facing rural Ireland and it’s organisations such as Macra na Feirme that make a difference where there is a need to equalise development around the country.’

William Judge, National Sales Manager at Massey Ferguson UK and Ireland said, ‘Congratulations to Macra na Feirme for their excellent work in organising the match and for this fine fundraising effort. Partnerships with young farmer organisations like Macra are central to Massey Ferguson’s support for the agriculture community. ‘It’s great to see everyone get together for such an enjoyable event like this.’

Paul McHale Marketing Manager at McHale Engineering said, ‘McHale were delighted to get the opportunity to support Macra Na Feirme on this rare and special occasion in Croke Park. Macra Na Feirme is rooted in every community in Ireland some way or another and a lot of customers and fans are members so we are delighted to be able to come on board for this event and have some fun. Everyone enjoyed themselves out there and nobody wanted the game to end at the historic venue that is Croke Park. Well done to everyone involved!’

Concluding, Macra na Feirme President James Healy paid tribute to all those who made the day possible saying, ‘I would like to thank all the players and Macra members, their families and the staff who raised funds to take part in this great occasion. I would also like to thank all the sponsors who generously donated to this great cause in particular our team sponsors McHale Engineering, Massey Ferguson and the Irish Farmer’s Journal. Finally I would like to thank the GAA and Croke Park for their enormous generosity in allowing us the use of this iconic stadium.