Tuesday evening saw over 60 players representing Macra clubs across the country take part in the Croke Park Challenge Cup.
The event took place on June 13> in Croke Park, and was even described by one member as “The most memorable Macra event I’ve ever attended”.
The fundraising event saw Macra become only the second ever charitable organisation to be permitted the use of Croke Park.
It was organised to raise much needed funds to support services for young farmers and the youth of rural Ireland.
Present on the day were numerous well-known GAA personalities, such as All Ireland winning manager John O’ Mahoney and GAA analyst Pat Spillane.
The two teams in action were McHale Shamrocks, managed by O’ Mahony, and Massey Kickhams, Managed by Mr. Pat Spillane.
All participants were awarded a medal during the post-match banquet and were also treated to some great anecdotes of the early years in GAA by the great Micheal O’ Muircheartaigh.
Included was the story of the first ever radio broadcast of a sporting event in Europe, which was the 1926 All-Ireland semi-finals between Galway and Kilkenny. Speaking at the event was Pat Spillane who spoke of his pride at being involved in the event, and spoke of the pride of people partaking in the event.
He 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."
Opposing manager on the day, John O’ Mahony, also spoke about the event, and praised Macra for the work they do for youth and rural areas.
He 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".
National Sales Manager at Massey Ferguson UK, William Judge, also took time to congratulate the organisation on the successful fundraiser and offered thanks for having Massey involved at the event.
"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."
Mc Hale Marketing manager, Paul McHale, also spoke of his companies delight at being involved, he also took time to thank Macra for inviting them, and also the GAA for permitting the use of Croke Park.
He 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!".
The President of Macra na Feirme, James Healy, paid tribute to all those who attended and were involved in the day. He spoke to thank all members, attendees and sponsors of the event before thanking the GAA.
He said "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."