11 February, 2011

GAA legends pay tribute to Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh: in aid of The Testicular Cancer Clinic at Mercy Hospital and Glen Rovers GAA:

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Sam Maguire with three famous GAA faces (L to R): Ó Sé, Counihan, Morgan
Tonight, Friday February 11th, saw a special tribute to retired RTÉ radio and television broad casting legend Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh who retired at the end of the 2010 All-Ireland campaign. 
There were a number of famous sporting faces in Cork Opera House for the gala evening.
(Injured) Munster hooker - Jerry Flannery - proclaimed by host George Hook as "Ireland's Greatest Hooker of the Professional Era"  was an interesting interviewee. Along with Moss Finn, the pair provided an interesting insight into the sea change that top-flight rugby has undergone from the amateaur to professional era.
Greatest Irish hooker of professional era? Jerry Flannery
There were a number of other sporting icons present on the night. Seven time All-Ireland (And nine time All Star) Henry Shefflin joined (four time All-Ireland winner) Brian Mullins and (three time All-Ireland winner) Tomás Mulcahy in a lively debate, discussing GAA matters past and present. 
There was also a preview of  GAA themed comedy  "All Star Wars,"  which opens in April. The jury is out as to a verdict on the quality of the comedy however.
Dónal Óg Cusack:  misunderstood
The ever opinionated Joe Brolly
For me, the highlight of the night was undoubtedly the  "GAA Professionalism v Amateaurism"  debate which pitted the often misunderstood Cork hurling goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack against Derry All-Ireland winner Joe Brolly. Dónal Óg was in "Professional GAA" corner, whilst Joe sat in the opposite corner. Joe Brolly argued that the Cork GAA players' Strikes (2007 and 2008) turned a lot of the country against Cork. Joe argued that before that, all of Northern Ireland would support Cork against other countries, however, the Cork strikes alienated a lot of people and a lot of counties. Joe also argued that the Gaelic Player's Association (GPA - which is chaired by Dónal Óg), fosters a very "me, me, me"  type of mentality. Dónal Óg countered by pointing out Brolly's hypocricy due to the fact that the Derry man earns a six figure annual some giving his views on RTÉ's  "The Sunday/Saturday Game"  each weekend of the summer. Dónal Óg also highlighted the fantastic work that the GPA does in the community; offering 300+ sporting scholarships a year, as well as providing upskilling services to GAA members who have been left marginalised/unemployed in these harsh economic times. What ensued was a lively debate and I personally have little doubt as to who was the "winner"  of said debate. Fair enough, I'm probably biased, but I felt that Joe Brolly blew a lot of hot air, while Dónal Óg presented clear, hard, cold facts

The man with the mike:  Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh
A packed Cork Opera House witnessed the night's events, with a special tribute to GAA commentary icon Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh rounding off the night's events. All proceeds will benefit The Testicular Cancer Clinic at Mercy Hospital and Glen Rovers GAA.

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