Leitrim GAA extends partnership with Avant Money

A new name for both Avantcard and Páirc Sean MacDiarmada, as local lender, Avant Money, extends its sponsorship of county grounds.

Carrick-on-Shannon 12th April 2021. Carrick-on-Shannon based consumer finance provider Avant Money is delighted to announce a three-year extension to its primary sponsor agreement with Leitrim GAA from 2022.

It is a timely and welcome boost for Leitrim GAA to secure a valuable extension with Avant Money. The company has been a key partner for Leitrim GAA, becoming the official sponsor of the county grounds in 2018 under its previous trading name, Avantcard. The company has recently rebranded to Avant Money following its successful launch as Ireland’s newest mortgage provider.

The new agreement will see the country grounds renamed the Avant Money Páirc Sean MacDiarmada until the end of 2024. External signage in the páirc has been updated to reflect the new Avant Money branding, with work on the internal signage underway in readiness for the new season ahead.

Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, Chris Paul, Avant Money CEO, said “Avant Money is absolutely delighted to be partnering with Leitrim GAA for a further three years. It has been a challenging year for us all, including sports organisations who provide valuable outlets for people of all ages to come together in the shared support of their favourite teams.

Now, more than ever, we feel it is important to show our support for the people and projects in the region, and we are proud to be in a position where we can continue to do this. Along with Leitrim GAA, we have also extended our partnership with nearby Sligo Rovers FC and continue to support local charities such as North West Hospice. One of our five core company values is ‘Caring’, caring for our colleagues, our customers and our community. Last year, the company and its staff supported over 30 local charities and organisations, with total donations and fundraising in excess of €30,000.”

Enda Stenson, Leitrim GAA Chairman, said “We are delighted that Avant Money is continuing to invest in the region and extending its partnership with us for the next three years. The last twelve months have been a challenge for everyone, and now, more than ever, we are grateful for their support. We are looking forward to players from every age and club around the county getting back on the pitch this summer and to opening the gates of the county grounds once again.”

– ENDS –

For further information, please contact:

Avant Money: Delys Morgan Leitrim GAA: Barbara Ni Lochlainn Broinn

Brand and Communications Manager Press Relations Officer

Tel: +353 (0)87 972 6733 Tel: +353 (0)86 8842925 Email: delys.morgan@avantmoney.ie Email: pro.leitrim@gaa.ie

 

About Avant Money:

Avant Money is Ireland’s newest mortgage provider and leading provider of personal loans and credit cards. The company is headquartered in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, with a second office in Dublin, employing over 250 staff. Avantcard DAC, trading as Avant Money, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Sport plays a key role in the company’s culture and values. Avant Money currently sponsors Leitrim GAA’s county grounds, Páirc Sean MacDiarmada, Sligo Rovers FC and was the first financial services company in Ireland to be accredited with the Ibec KeepWell mark in 2018, along with being the first company to be reaccredited with the award during a challenging 2020.

Packy McGarty’s home club was Mohill. Below is an article by Eamonn Duignan from ‘Clear the Way’ the history of Mohill GAA Club, compiled and edited by Des Keegan & Maureen Lynch.

Packie McGarty – Stuffed Socks & Railway Cups – Eamonn Duignan

“McGarty, a legend without the laurels” The headline on the Irish Independent, 30/07/2000

In a history such as this, where so much is owed to so many over a century and a quarter of endeavour, it is inviting criticism to single out one individual for special mention. However, Packy McGarty, not only one of the greatest Leitrim footballers to put on a county jersey but one of the greatest footballers of all time merits such a distinction. Not just because he was a great footballer but because he embodied all that is admirable in human nature – pride of place, utter dedication, an almost fanatical devotion to the cause of Leitrim Football and a complete absence of bitterness. Above all, despite all the near misses and litany of disappointments, he retained that youthful enthusiasm that sustained him, year after year for all the 22 years he played Inter -county football. In the words of another Mohill man, well known for his linguistic ability and for his fondness of metaphors McGarty was to most other footballers what Everest is to Drumlins”

In 1958 Leitrim met Galway for the second year in a row in a Connacht Final, in Roscommon, and for the second year in a row they were beaten. Journalist Jim Lydon wrote- “The wonderful display of Packy McGarty will live long in the memory of the 12,000 spectators fortunate enough to be present. I have never witnessed nor can I ever hope to witness a better individual performance than that turned in by the wonderful Leitrim player. It was indeed a fitting tribute that he should be carried off the field shoulder high at the end of a brilliant game”

“Considering he was pulled on 14 times, and his no 11 jersey in shreds he gave a lesson in sportsmanship as he never once retaliated although he received plenty of provocation’. Long may he reign as King” – Reported by Breffni in the Longford Leader on the same match.

Packy McGarty was born in Treanmore in Mohill on the 29th of April 1933. His father Dan was passionate about football and this passion was passed down to his sons Packy, Dan, Willie and Eddie and his sister Kathleen. Dan, Willie, and Eddie emigrated to London and Kathleen to the USA.

Packy recalls trips downtown for messages when he did most of his skills training, tipping a ball on his toe and jumping up and down trying to hit the cigarette signs over the shops. When I say a ball, it was not a ball as we know it today. Packy described his ball ‘as a sock with grass or cloth stuffed into it and little bounce out of it’. He was always swerving, dummying, and going on solo runs. This was the 1940s and times in Mohill, like elsewhere in Ireland, were hard. Packy tells the story of going to matches by bicycle, by ass and cart and in a Baby, Ford owned by the twin Casey’s (Michael and Tommy). There was only one Baby, but fifteen players to transport. As many players as possible fitted into the car, which would leave for the match with the remaining players starting to walk. There were players hanging out of the car but as Packy says ‘there were very few cars on the road’. The Baby would drop off the players and come back and pick up the remainder who had made some of the journey on foot. Going to matches in an ass and cart on cold days was difficult because it took ages to warm up.

Packy also recalls the story of playing Bornacoola in a tournament in Faughnan’s field in Dromod. The prize was ‘a football’ for the winning team. Mohill managed to beat Bornacoola and after the match, the team was so excited with their victory and with their prize that they came back to the park in Mohill and kicked the new football until 11.30 that night.

Times were difficult and Packy’s father Dan went to America twice for short periods to earn a wage to rear the family. He wanted his wife to go with him, but she was reluctant until her own widowed mother passed away. But her mother lived a long life and the family remained in Ireland.

Instead of going back to America for work Packy’s father Dan went over to work in England, just like so many Irish families at that time, and sent back money every Thursday evening ‘by wire’ to the Post Office in Mohill. The Narrow-Gauge Railway Station was busy transporting local people to Dublin so they could go over to London for work. People needed money to survive and pay the bills and England was the place where the work was. While Dan was in England his young sons earned their own pocket money. Packy managed to get work in Mae Higgins (Luke Early’s), opening the shop and carrying water from the water pump to the house. His wages were three shillings a week. Willie got a dispensation from school to arrive in late after he completed his milk round working for Dick Ellis. Dick Ellis passed on the Dairy business to his son Liam and the business is still going strong today with Liam’s sons Richard, Padraig, and Gerard.

His First ‘Medal’

In 1946 and 1947 Packy, playing at midfield, won Leitrim juvenile medals with Mohill School. This was a 7 -a -side competition between schools in the county. Mohill Boy NS was based where Cashin’s garage is now and the teacher at the time was an Offaly man, Mark Keegan who was ‘into’ football. Packy recalls this team fondly.

Packy, like all his teammates, was looking forward to receiving his first medal, but excitement turned to disappointment when the ‘medal’ turned out to be a half-crown, even though a half-crown represented a day’s wage at the time. The presentation took place in the square beside Jack Kelly’s Hotel. Eddie Rowley, another brilliant footballer was captain of the team, and he went on to star with St. Mel’s College, and with Leitrim. Along with John Poocher Gordon, who played in goals, Packy and Eddie starred with Leitrim when they won the Connacht Junior final in 1952 and were beaten by Meath in the All-Ireland Home Final.

The photo of his school pals is Packy’s most prized possession and sits proudly on the mantelpiece of his Dublin home. The school principal was Master JJ Kelly.

Front row L-R- Seamus Clyne, Christy Clyne, Michael Crossan, Eddie Rowley, Packy McGarty, Brian Bohan, Jack Conboy, Michael Sammon

Back row – Mel Kenny, Paddy Maguire, Sean Mitchell, John Mulligan, Seamus Gallagher, Pascal McKeon, Joe Mitchell, Cyril McGovern, and Eddie Foley

Teacher – Mark Keegan

The photo was taken by Tommy McTaggart –Glebe Street

At the age of 15½ Packy went working in London with his father and brothers. He stayed six months, but he decided it was not for him left and returned home. Shortly after he came home, he played a match for Mohill and he was selected to play for the Leitrim senior team against Offaly in the Park. However, nobody told Packy he was selected. And having arrived at the match as a spectator he had to cycle home for his gear. Packy played for the Leitrim senior team (at sixteen) before he played for the Leitrim minors and thus began an incredible playing career with Leitrim spanning four decades until he retired in 1971.

Minor Championship

Mohill had no minor team and he won two minor championship medals with Fenagh in 1950 and 1951. The Fenagh connection came through Eddie Rowley. Eddie was a student in St Mel’s College Longford (winning Leinster school medals) and one of his Mel’s teammates was Jimmy McKeon from Fenagh. Jimmy asked Eddie to play and Eddie asked Packy.

Packy sees himself as one of the lucky ones to have such wonderful experiences from football. He puts his range of skills down to the amount of practice he put in as a youngster. He had always a small ball and was always tipping it on his toe. When you ask Packy who his idol he mentions Leo McAlinden. Leo was the first man he saw go on a solo run. His big ambition was to win a Connacht senior medal with Leitrim.

What is amazing about McGarty is that he stands at 5’ 8” and in his playing days he was 12st 7 lbs. But he says himself ‘he did an awful lot of training. In his digs in Dublin, he paid his landlady a special amount each week so that she would buy a ‘tray’ of eggs especially for him. Great pace –a fitness fanatic, in training he always did 10 x 100-yard sprints, he did not mind the ‘skites,’ and was well able for them, he always took the shortest route to goal and did not care what was in the way. Packy trained on his own and after training he went home to bed. He feels ‘travelling two hours after training is counterproductive’. McGarty earned his reputation as a star forward but if you talk to him his favourite position was wing half back.

Connacht Debut

At the age of 20 McGarty was a star with the county team and was rewarded with a starting place on the Connacht team against Munster in Tralee in 1954 along with his Leitrim colleague Tony Hayden. Packy was working with the ESB at the time in Donegal and began the long journey on Saturday morning arriving in Tralee on Saturday evening. He scored 1-4 that day and after his first point Padraig Carney (Mayo) came over to him and said, ‘well done junior’. M V Cogley writing in the Irish Press wrote- “Packy McGarty whose clean fielding, speed off the mark, and accurate placing proved altogether too much for Jas Murphy of Kerry who can rarely have had such an undistinguished hour’” Jas Murphy was 6’ 3 “and Packy loved playing against tall players. Packy was not overawed, he was always confident in his own ability. Before the game he was marching behind the band and someone told him he was out of step. Packy could not care less.

Packy won three Railway Cup medals in ’57 and ’58 as a player and one as a sub in 1967. At the time Railway Cup Finals attracted crowds of 50,000. Packy also played for Ireland against the Combined Universities and won three Irish ‘Jerseys’.

Packy only played with Leitrim once in Croke Park when he was captain and lead the Leitrim team out to play Derry in the National League Semi–final. (1958) Mascots were banned in the GAA but a Leitrim player, Paddy Reilly (Aughawillian), asked Packy would he mind holding his son’s hand (as a mascot) during the parade. Paddy Reilly’s own father (the child’s grandfather) had agreed he would pay whatever fine was imposed by the GAA. The mascot marched with the team and there was no fine.

The two games which stand out in Packy’s memory are the 1958 Connacht Final defeat and the Railway Cup semi- Final in Ballinasloe against Leinster when he and his fellow parishioner Cathal Flynn from Gorvagh stole the show in a 1-11 to 0-7 victory. Packy scored 0-4 and Cathal 1-3.

Packy was instrumental in getting Leitrim to four Connacht finals in a row – 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960.The 1958 Connacht Final, however, more than any of the others, has bittersweet memories for Packy, which Galway won by 2 points, 2-10 to 1-11. Sweet, because it was, perhaps, his greatest game ever in the Leitrim Jersey; bitter, because it was another defeat in a game Leitrim could have won Leitrim were 4 points behind at half-time and Packy recalls “there was only a light partition between the dressing rooms and the speeches coming from the dressing room at half-time were shocking. The partition was shaking with the hits”. Leitrim hit back in the second half and when Cathal Flynn banged home a goal. “Roscommon shook that day”. Leitrim pulled level with ten minutes to go, but Galway scored three late points to close out the game. McGarty was carried shoulder high off the pitch, but he felt that “the stuffing was knocked out of us that day”. The Roscommon Herald reported that it was one of the best Connacht Finals ever seen; It went on “Packy, this loyal son of Leitrim, was an inspiration. Bobbing, ducking, swerving, splitting the defence with his brilliant runs, placing shrewd passes, rallying his forces, and his display will be a treasured gem in the storehouse of treasured memories. The Leitrim Observer humorously recorded “A half time tip to the Leitrim mentors went unheeded, send McGarty out for the second half without a jersey”

The Leitrim team of 1958 was well prepared. It had its own masseur. Kevin Heffernan, former Dublin player and manager, worked with the ESB in Sligo, and was friendly with Leitrim player Tony Hayden. He attended several of the team’s training sessions, passing on some advice to the Leitrim players.

After the 1958 defeat McGarty emigrated to England but continued to travel over and back from London for games. In 1959 Leitrim beat Mayo after a replay, and again McGarty excelled. However, in the final they were well beaten by Galway, 5-08 to 0-12. Gael Og, the Leitrim Observer correspondent wrote “Our County can truly be dubbed a child of misfortune”

In 1960 Galway beat Leitrim in the fourth Connacht Final in a row. Packy was working all the hours he could in England and his fitness suffered. He returned to Ireland in 1964 and bought a shop in Clondalkin which he ran for 34 years before he retired. He played club football with Round Towers in Clondalkin, and Sean McDermott’s, and played in a county final against St Vincent’s, losing by two points.

In 1964 two players from each Province were selected to play in the J F Kennedy Memorial games in an exhibition game in Gaelic Park New York. Leitrim beat Cavan by 1-9 to 1-8 with Packy scoring eight points.

He played in two more Connacht finals, in 1963 and 1967, losing heavily on both occasions.

Packy played Senior club football in London, Leitrim, and Dublin, but a club championship medal eluded him in each county. He never considered playing with any other county except Leitrim, despite the obvious frustration which he must have felt with a continuous lack of success. He recalls playing Donegal and Leitrim were 12 points up with ten minutes to go and ending up on the losing side when Donegal scored four late goals. After the match he flung his jersey into the corner of the dressing room in total frustration. However, he was always an intensely proud and loyal Leitrim man, playing with the lads he grew up with and to him taking part was more important than winning, however demoralising that might be.

If Packy did not win the medals he deserved while playing he more than made up for it when he retired. (See appendix)

The great Kerry team of the eighties was the best team he ever saw, and he has great admiration for Jack O Shea and says that John Egan was the best of all Kerry forwards. That Kerry team in Packy’s opinion did not have a weak link. He loves the current Dublin team, the way they play and loves watching their forwards.

His Last Game

Throughout his career Packy said he would play his last game for his home club Mohill and on the 19th of June 1977, he travelled the 100 miles from Dublin to keep that long-ordained promise. Mohill were playing Gortletteragh in the loser’s group of the senior championship. The match started without Packy and when he did arrive, he joined the subs with number 19 on his back. After 10 minutes action was required and he was brought on, replacing P J Reynolds. The Observer reported ‘Barely 10 seconds on, Packy zoomed in on a loose ball and flicked it on to an unsuspecting colleague. His cool brain and his impeccable high fielding were still evident’. The Mohill team that lined out on that historic day was: Sean ‘Bula’ McCrann, Brendan Gallagher, Michael McGuinness, JJ McKeon, John Gordon, Anthony Canning, Padraig Keegan, Des Keegan, Michael Duignan, Brian Gordon J Reynolds, Stephen Kerr, Eamonn Duignan, John Baxter, Willie McHugh.Subs- Packy McGarty for P J Reynolds, PJ Reynolds for Stephen Kerr.

Final Score; Gortletteragh 1-4, Mohill 0-3

The Mohill scorers were – Michael Duignan, Eamonn Duignan and Padraig Keegan (0-1 each)

Mohill and Leitrim legend Packy McGarty had played his last game of football and ended a remarkable career from his first match with Leitrim in 1949 to his last game in Páirc Sean MacDiarmada with Mohill in 1977.

Perhaps we should leave the last word to Jack Mahon (R.I.P.), the famous Galway player, who was McGarty’ direct opponent in three Connacht finals, and with whom McGarty lined out for Connacht in the Railway Cup. His tribute is a fitting testimony to Packy, both as a player and a human being.

“It was my pleasure and at times discomfort to be Packie’s direct opponent in the Connacht Finals of 1957 in Galway, 1958 in Roscommon and ’59 in Sligo. He was then at the zenith of his career. He had the elasticity of a rubber ball, could turn on a sixpence, was an impeccable sportsman, kept coming at you toe to hand, toe to hand, was indomitable, irrepressible, a born footballer. ’58 was his greatest hour. I remember being delighted to see the rain fall before the end, feeling I would have a fielding advantage, which I had. One incident from that game, refereed by Johnny Mulvey, is still with me. Early in the game Sean Purcell and myself sandwiched him between us, and a knowing nod between us suggested the end of the threat of McGarty that day. He bounced up from being winded to take the free, got on with the game, and played the game of his life.

I remember clearly the 1959 final in Sligo. I had been injured in a clash with Packy just before the full-time whistle, and for one reason or another did not meet him after the game. I had to drive my brother Brendan to catch the boat from Dun Laoghaire to England. Having bid goodbye to my brother who should race down the pier, almost the last to catch the boat, bag in hand but the bold Packy. A quick shake hands, no time for a chat, but I really admired this man who had to be in time for work the following morning. It was around this time that Packy was the victim of a vicious frontal charge after he had kicked the ball in a club game with Tara’s. A rotten facial injury required eleven stiches and the culprit, well known in London circles, got off scot-free. A lesser mortal would have given it all up. Not Packy. This greatest of all Leitrim men had more to give to his county”

Packy McGarty, the slip of a lad from Mohill will always hold a treasured place in the hearts and minds of Leitrim natives all over the world.

Awards and Medals

Leitrim Team of Millennium 2000

Connacht Team of the Millennium

Sunday Independent team of the century for players who never won an Ireland

Three Ireland jerseys for the Irish Combined Universities games – This was an annual event when the cream of Irish footballers lined out against the Combined Universities–the greatest honour the GAA could have bestowed. First Leitrim player to be so acknowledged since inception of these games. The matches were in aid of the Catholic Social Service Conference.

Trip in 1964 to the USA for the Kennedy Memorial Games- one of six Irish players selected to go to America

Irish Examiner GAA President’s award – Recognition of unsung heroes 2004

1996 – London Dream Team 1966-1996

Three Railway Cup medals with Connacht – 1957 and 1958 as a player and 1967 as a sub.

One Connacht Junior medal-1952 – John Gordon (Mohill) was the goalkeeper

Two McKeever Cup medals

Two Division 2 medals in Dublin (One with Sean McDermott’s and one with Round Towers)

Two Leitrim Senior Football League Medals

Two Minor Championship Medals (Fenagh 1950 and 1951)

Reproduced with kind permission of Mohill GAA from ‘Fag a’ Bhealach’ (Clear the Way) – A History of Mohill GAA Club.

It is with great sadness we learn of the death of Leitrim GAA Legend Packy McGarty RIP. Packy passed to his eternal reward last night (Monday).

Packy McGarty, not only one of the greatest Leitrim footballers to put on a county jersey but one of the greatest footballers of all time. Not just because he was a great footballer but because he embodied all that is admirable in human nature – pride of place, utter dedication, an almost fanatical devotion to the cause of Leitrim Football and a complete absence of bitterness. Above all, despite all the near misses and litany of disappointments, he retained that youthful enthusiasm that sustained him, year after year for all the 22 years he played Inter -county football ( 1949-1971). 

Packy’s gave many majestic displays on the football field but among the most memorable were:

The 1954 Railway Cup game against Munster in Tralee

The Railway Cup semi-final v Leinster in 1958

The 1958 Connacht Final v Galway

The JF Kennedy games in New York in 1964 when two players were selected from each province to play in a Memorial Game

1954: At the age of 20 McGarty was a star with the county team and was rewarded with a starting place on the Connacht team against Munster in Tralee in 1954 along with his Leitrim colleague Tony Hayden. Packy was working with the ESB at the time in Donegal and began the long journey on Saturday morning arriving in Tralee on Saturday evening. He scored 1-4 that day and after his first point Padraig Carney (Mayo) came over to him and said, ‘well done junior’. M V Cogley writing in the Irish Press wrote- “Packy McGarty whose clean fielding, speed off the mark, and accurate placing proved altogether too much for Jas Murphy of Kerry who can rarely have had such an undistinguished hour’” Jas Murphy was 6’ 3 “and Packy loved playing against tall players.  Packy was not overawed, he was always confident in his own ability

1958: Packy won three Railway Cup medals in ’57 and ’58 as a player and one as a sub in 1967. At the time Railway Cup Finals attracted crowds of 50,000. In the 1958 Railway Cup Railway Cup semi- Final in Ballinasloe against Leinster when he and his fellow parishioner Cathal Flynn from Gorvagh in a 1-11 to 0-7 victory between them scored 1-7. The headline in the Irish Press next day was ‘McGarty & Flynn-stole the show in Ballinasloe’

1958 Connacht Final: Packy was instrumental in getting Leitrim to four Connacht finals in a row – 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960 and 1963 & 1967. The 1958 Connacht Final, however, more than any of the others, has bittersweet memories for Packy, which Galway won by 2 points, 2-10 to 1-11. Sweet, because it was, perhaps, his greatest game ever in the Leitrim Jersey; bitter, because it was another defeat in a game Leitrim could have won Leitrim were 4 points behind at half-time and Packy recalls “there was only a light partition between the dressing rooms and the speeches coming from the dressing room at half-time were shocking. The partition was shaking with the hits”. Leitrim hit back in the second half and when Cathal Flynn banged home a goal. “Roscommon shook that day”. Leitrim pulled level with ten minutes to go, but Galway scored three late points to close out the game. McGarty was carried shoulder high off the pitch, but he felt that “the stuffing was knocked out of us that day”. The Roscommon Herald reported that it was one of the best Connacht Finals ever seen; It went on “Packy, this loyal son of Leitrim, was an inspiration. Bobbing, ducking, swerving, splitting the defence with his brilliant runs, placing shrewd passes, rallying his forces, and his display will be a treasured gem in the storehouse of treasured memories. The Leitrim Observer humorously recorded “A half time tip to the Leitrim mentors went unheeded, send McGarty out for the second half without a jersey”

Peadar O Brien in the Irish Press reported- ‘Oh what a wonderful hour of football glory for 15 gallant Leitrim men’. Galway were good but had no one to match the brilliance of McGarty’

The reporter Breffni in the Longford Leader ‘considering he was pulled on 14 times, and his no 11 jersey in shreds he gave a lesson in sportsmanship as he never once retaliated although he received plenty of provocation. Long may he reign as King’

Journalist Jim Lydon wrote- “The wonderful display of Packy McGarty will live long in the memory of the 12,000 spectators fortunate enough to be present. I have never witnessed nor can I ever hope to witness a better individual performance than that turned in by the wonderful Leitrim player. It was indeed a fitting tribute that he should be carried off the field shoulder high at the end of a brilliant game”

1964 – J F Kennedy Memorial Games Gaelic Park New York – Leitrim beat Cavan 1-9 to 0-8 with Packy scoring 8 points.

Packy won three Irish ‘Caps’ when an Ireland team played the Combined Universities’ in an annual event where the proceeds went to the Catholic Social Services Conference. To represent Ireland was the greatest honour the GAA could bestow on a player

Packy also has the most unusual distinction of been marked by the same player in three matches in one week.  Jas Murphy (Kerry & Munster)  marked Packy in the Railway Cup on Sunday, Jas marked Packy again on the Monday in an All Ireland v Combined Universities match and again on a Friday night in a Dublin League game between UCD & Sean McDermott’s.

Packy was honoured in been selected on the Sunday Independent Team of the Century for players who never won an All-Ireland,  the Connacht Team of the Millennium and of course the Leitrim Team of the Millennium.

On a very special night in the Bush Hotel at the Leitrim team of the Millennium Dinner Leo McAlinden speaking on behalf of the team paid a heartfelt tribute to Packy McGarty I feel compelled to mention one player. He would be what we now call a Superstar. Packy McGarty is an incredibly special person. He is exceptionally talented but is also the most modest and easiest controlled player this county has ever seen. No players has given the Administration less trouble than Packy McGarty” At this point in the proceedings 300 people stood up and gave a resounding round of applause to this man who many refer to as the ‘GOD’ of Leitrim football.

We should leave the last word to Jack Mahon (R.I.P.), the famous Galway player, who was McGarty’s direct opponent in three Connacht finals, and with whom McGarty lined out for Connacht in the Railway Cup. His tribute is a fitting testimony to Packy, both as a player and a human being.

It was my pleasure and at times discomfort to be Packie’s direct opponent in the Connacht Finals of 1957 in Galway, 1958 in Roscommon and ’59 in Sligo. He was then at the zenith of his career. He had the elasticity of a rubber ball, could turn on a sixpence, was an impeccable sportsman, kept coming at you toe to hand, toe to hand, was indomitable, irrepressible, a born footballer. ’58 was his greatest hour. I remember being delighted to see the rain fall before the end, feeling I would have a fielding advantage, which I had. One incident from that game, refereed by Johnny Mulvey, is still with me. Early in the game Sean Purcell and myself sandwiched him between us, and a knowing nod between us suggested the end of the threat of McGarty that day. He bounced up from being winded to take the free, got on with the game, and played the game of his life.

I remember clearly the 1959 final in Sligo. I had been injured in a clash with Packy just before the full-time whistle, and for one reason or another did not meet him after the game. I had to drive my brother Brendan to catch the boat from Dun Laoghaire to England. Having bid goodbye to my brother who should race down the pier, almost the last to catch the boat, bag in hand but the bold Packy. A quick shake hands, no time for a chat, but I really admired this man who had to be in time for work the following morning. It was around this time that Packy was the victim of a vicious frontal charge after he had kicked the ball in a club game with Tara’s. A rotten facial injury required eleven stitches and the culprit, well known in London circles, got off scot-free. A lesser mortal would have given it all up. Not Packy. This greatest of all Leitrim men had more to give to his county”

On behalf of Leitrim GAA, we extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Ella and the entire McGarty family at their very sad loss.

Packy McGarty RIP Leitrim GAA

Packy McGarty RIP Mohill GAA

LAOCHRA GAEL returns with six more legends who performed heroics on the field and who each have a unique and extraordinary story to tell.

 

The Laochra Gael season returns on TG4 at 9:30pm on Thursday evenings starting 25th March

 

YouTube clip:   https://youtu.be/T-rD7bTT3us

 #LaochraGael

 

The definitive GAA sports series returned to TG4 this spring for a 19th series. The hour-long format has proved a huge success, bringing each player’s personal stories to screen. The series which already featured six extraordinary Laochra with genuine star quality took a break from our screens in early February but is now returning with the remaining six exceptional  Laochra. The series reveals deeper, fresh and sometimes unexpected insights into the lives of these icons.  While their sporting careers continue to provide the backdrop to the story, the series travels well beyond the four white lines. Gripping personal storylines will compel viewers to travel towards territory unique to the GAA television landscape.

The Laochra Gael season returns on TG4 at 9:30pm on Thursday evenings starting 25th March.

 

Laochra Gael Series:

Programme 1:  Eoin Larkin, 9.30pm, Thursday 25th March

Programme 2:  Pete McGrath, 9.30pm, Thursday 1st April

Programme 3:  Briege Corkery, 9.30pm, Thursday 8th April

Programme 4:  Bernard Flynn,  9.30pm, Thursday 15th April

Programme 5:  Seán Cavanagh, 9.30pm, Thursday 22nd April

Programme 6:  Liam Griffin, 9.30pm, Thursday 29th April

Eoin Larkin

Laochra Gael returns with the story of Kilkenny hurler, Eoin Larkin. Hurling has been at the core of his life since he was a boy. And the game was vital in maintaining Eoin’s bond with his father after his parents’ separation. After successful years underage, Eoin became a cornerstone of the greatest team of all time, winning 8 All Ireland medals and Hurler of the Year. But in the background he was struggling. Towards the end of his career, his mental health declined. He kept his suffering a secret, until he received a phone call from Brian Cody that changed his life.

 

Pete McGrath

Pete played football in the North in the seventies, a time when Gaelic Games was a dangerous pursuit. As a teacher and trainer, he instilled in young people that sport was the best way to express their nationalism. As manager of Down, he brought the Sam Maguire across the border for the first time since the sixties, inspiring an Ulster Takeover in football. The cloud of violence was always present, but for a time Pete McGrath and the Down footballers united the province, and the country.

 

Briege Corkery

eighteen All Ireland medals and sixteen All Stars, Dual-Star Briege has won more than anyone in the history of Gaelic Games. She accepted two Sportswoman of the Year awards with humility and shyness. She was the ultimate team player. The life and soul of the dressing room, the lynchpin on the field, Briege collected her last All Ireland six months after giving birth to her son Tadhg. In the conversation about the greatest of all time, Briege Corkery is at the centre.

 

Bernard Flynn

Despite being small from the day he was born, Bernard was at the centre of the Meath football revival under Seán Boylan. As part of a legendary full forward line, Bernard provided some of the greatest individual displays of any forward in his era. Unbeknownst to anyone, he was struggling the whole time. He paid dearly for it in retirement when his body completely gave up. And while he was suffering physically, his entire business collapsed overnight. It was then that Bernard learned the true meaning of survival.

 

Seán Cavanagh

Seán overcame his early challenges with nutrition to become one of the most accomplished athletes of his era. He put himself under incredible pressure. Insecurity became a driving force, and he came through the tragedies that were visited upon the team to win three All Ireland titles. Uncompromising on the field and in life, Seán has had his share of criticism. But nobody bothers Seán more than Seán Cavanagh, one of the most fascinating characters in modern sport.

 

Liam Griffin

For the Series Finale of Laochra Gael comes the story of Liam Griffin. He was inspired by the Rackards and their likes as he grew up, but Wexford hurling was in dire straits when Liam was made manager in 1995. It went from bad to worse from the start with heavy defeats and controversy. In his second year as manager, unbeknownst to anyone he would be stepping down as soon as Wexford were out of the championship because of his wife Mary’s illness. As it happened, they went all the way in 1996. He wasn’t there for long but Liam Griffin’s legacy will live forever.

 

Ahead of the new Laochra Gael Series Uachtarán CLG, John Horan said: “I am delighted to see the success of the Laochra Gael series continuing and for another batch of worthy heroes to be recognised. The history of the GAA has been blessed by some inspirational figures who have helped shape the games that are so popular today and mean so much to so many. This series gives us a chance to again salute that contribution. Congrats to all involved.”

TG4’s Head of Sport, Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said:  “TG4 are very proud to be broadcasting another great series of Laochra Gael which marks the great achievements and stories that our Gaelic Games legends have to tell.  This is the beginning of the nineteenth series of Laochra Gael which aired on TG4 for the first time in 2001 and it has continued as a long standing and popular part of our schedule bringing these amazing stories to viewers in Ireland and all over the world. I wish to thank all the participants who took part, their families, Nemeton TV, GAA, LGFA, Camogie Association and everyone in the extended Gaelic Games family for all their assistance in making this series happen in such a challenging year.”

 

This new season’s batch of GAA Legends already included Kevin Cassidy who lost out on an All Ireland medal because of his contribution to a book – Ryan O’Dwyer, who was on the cusp of leading the Dublin hurlers to glory, before he cost them an All Ireland title.  Thérèse Maher, who finally fulfilled her destiny having lost five All Ireland Camogie Finals. Roscommon’s Shane Curran, one of football’s great characters, and the prototype of the modern playmaking goalkeeper. Johnny Pilkington, the heartbeat of the mighty Offaly hurlers of the 1990s, and one of the game’s greatest characters. And Dermot Earley, who showed extraordinary courage in the face of crippling injuries, cancer and the death of his father. These can currently be viewed on the TG4 Player.

Twelve outstanding Gaels. Twelve remarkable personal stories.

 

The series is produced by NemetonTV, the independent production company from An Rinn in the Waterford Gaeltacht which has produced much of TG4’s acclaimed sports coverage.

Media Contact: Linda Ní Ghríofa, Communications Editor TG4, linda.ni.ghriofa@tg4.ie   Mob: 087 9172864

Among the various 2021 sub-committees of Leitrim GAA which were approved at a meeting of the Leitrim GAA Management Committee of 13.03.2021 is the newly established Cairde Liatroma Sub-Committee.  This committee will be responsible for fundraising ongoing and in addition to normal activities of the Leitrim GAA Supporters Club Committee.  The new committee will be making an exciting announcement on Friday night at 8pm here and on our Facebook page.

We wish the members of all the sub-committees the best of luck in their work throughout 2021.

Leitrim GAA Management Committee: Enda Stenson (Chair): Michael Quinn: Declan Bohan (Rúnaí): Martin McCartin: Noeleen McLoughlin: Barbara Loughlin Byrne: Terence Boyle: Attracta O’Reilly: PJ Meehan: John Mulvey: Pat Feely: Enda Tiernan: Laura Crossan: Paddy O Connor: Paul Murphy: Jamie Murray: Mark Heslin: Vincent O Rourke: Brian Blake.

Competitions Control Committee: Seamus McManus (Chair): Vincent O Rourke (Rúnaí): John Keenan [Rúnaí Smachta]: P. Mc Morrow: M. Doherty: S. Mc Goldrick [Underage Fixtures]: H. Phelan [Coiste Iomána]: E O Grady [Referees coordinator]. D. Bohan (Fixture Analyst)

Hearings Committee: S. Mc Govern (Chair): L. Faughnan [Rúnaí]: P. Egan: S. Murray: J. Mc Nama: K. Torsney: T. Boyle.

Finance Committee: M. McCartin [Chair]: J. Mulvey: N. McLoughlin: P. O’Connor: M. Quinn: E. Stenson: D. Bohan.

Cairde Liatroma Committee: M. McCartin (Chair): J. Mulvey: M. Feeney: N. McLoughlin: E. Duignan: P. White: S. Clarke: C. Clarke: B. Doyle: B. Blake.

Public Relations/Marketing Committee B. Loughlin-Byrne: J. Molloy: B. Doyle: D. Bohan: E. Tiernan: B. Blake.

Coiste Iomána: P. O Connor (Chair): H. Phelan(Rúnaí): E. Stenson: D. Bohan: Martin McCartin: plus one delegate of each affiliated club.

Cultural Committee: L. Crossan(Chair): G Keegan: B. Reynolds: R. Kennedy: C. Crossan: K. Butler.

Supporters Club: J. Mulvey (Chair): M. Quinn, M. Mc Cartin: J. J. Cullen: M. Feeney: N. McLoughlin: S. Mc Goldrick: G. Gallogly: J. McWeeney: T. Boyle: A. O’Reilly: B. Loughlin-Byrne: P Brown: C. McCartin (NY).

Coiste na nÓg: P. Murphy [Chair]: M. Kenny(Rúnaí): B. Loughlin Byrne: N. McLoughlin: S. McGoldrick: P. McGourty: M. McKiernan: M. Heslin.

Coaching and Games Steering Committee: P. Murphy [Chair]: T. Keenan [Rúnaí]: E. Stenson: D. Bohan: M. McCartin: B. Loughlin Byrne: M. Heslin: C. Cregg.

Páirc Seán Committee: S. Mc Goldrick (Chair) M. Doherty: R. Butler: S. Murray: E. Stenson: S. Butler: M. Diffley: A. O Reilly: M. McCartin:

Health and Wellbeing: B. Loughlin-Byrne (Chair) N. Brady (Rúnaí): K. Williams: M. Fanning: T. Boyle: D. Loftus: H. McHugh: M. Heslin.

Handball: J. Murray (Chair): J. Smyth (Rúnaí): S. Wrynn (Treasurer): N. Scollan (PRO):

Fixtures Analysts: D. Bohan: M. Quinn.

County Development and Safety: T. Boyle (Chair) M. Quinn: P. McGourty: P. Feely: PJ Meehan: H. Clinton: S. Mc Goldrick.

 

The death has occurred of Dr Philomena MacManus, mother of John MacManus, loyal sponsor and long time friend of Leitrim GAA. We wish to express our deepest sympathy to her husband Desmond, children Liz, John, Maeve and Dervla, brother Fergus, sisters Leon, Norleen and Mai, daughter-in-law Maria, sons-in-law Fred, Conor and Denis, adoring grandchildren Cathal Óg, Aisling, Eoin, Garrett, Eabha, Ríona, Gavin, Desmond, Aoife, Conall, Tom and Maebh, sister-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and large circle of friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh sí.

Would you like to become a Foster Parent? Please follow the link Below

 

                                            Fostering Poster MS teams 10th March 2021 (1)

A Message from Tomás Ó Muirí,  Runaí, Coiste Scór Chonnacht.
Please see below details of a webinar that takes place on this Thursday at 7pm for the role of “Irish Language & Cultural Officer”.
This seminar will be delivered “as Béarla.”
We ask the Cultural Officer in each club to attend. It will take just one hour and should prove very beneficial to both new and existing officers.

Masonite Ireland, a long-established manufacturing company in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, is seeking to recruit a number of General Operatives to start in March.

Responsibilities

As a General Operative, you will be responsible for:

  • Performing all duties assigned to you by your Team Lead.
  • Operating machinery and equipment to deliver high-quality products.
  • Troubleshooting when required.

Further details here

Masonite Ireland has a long association with Leitrim GAA and is currently the sponsor of the Adult Club Leagues.

The prize draws, associated with the Leitrim GAA 50 Miles in January Challenge, for the fundraisers and donors took place earlier this evening and were beamed out on Facebook live. The following were the lucky winners:

Fundraisers Draw

1st Prize Signed Leitrim Jersey

Ann Whitney, Keshcarrigan.

2nd Prize Leitrim GAA Jacket

Paula Mollahan, Leitrim Village.

3rd Prize Leitrim GAA Wind Cheater

Aoife Dorr, Longford.

 

Donors Draw

1st Prize Coaching Session for a nominated team at Leitrim COE with Terry Hyland’s Management Team

Mandy Gilmartin

2nd Prize €1,000 Brick in Wall at Leitrim GAA McGovern Aughavas COE

Marie McWeeney

3rd Prize 1 Year Subscription to Leitrim GAA TV

Patrick O Meara

While we have the contact details of the winners in the Fundraisers Draw, we do not have access to the contact details of the winners in the Donors Draw. In order to claim your prize, you need to contact secretary.leitrim@gaa.ie with factual verification of your donation receipt and we will contact you back to confirm details.

Leitrim GAA is hugely appreciative of the efforts made by almost 2,000 people across the globe towards this extraordinary success which has been contributed to and shared equally by all donors, participants and organisers.

Míle Buíochas daoibh go léir.

 

Every five years it’s Leitrim’s turn to travel to New York and play the first game in the Connacht Championship.

Every year is different but also very special. Thousands of Supporters travel from Leitrim for the match and do the 5 day trip.

Leitrim jerseys everywhere, on Broadway, in the Bronx, in Queens, on Ellis Island, in Macy’s store, in Woodbury Common, on the New York Subway, in the yellow cabs, and on tour buses.

Manhattan Hotels choc a block with Leitrim visitors, and Rosie O Grady’s, the Playwright, JP Clarkes, Rory Dolan’s and all the pubs with any Leitrim connection bursting at the seams.

What makes the visit to NEW YORK so special every five years is the welcome given to the team and its supporters by the Leitrim Society of New York.

Leitrim people who left Leitrim warmly welcoming the family, neighbours and friends from their home place.   The Society liaise with the Leitrim County Board and organise functions and get togethers for the team and the supporters during the five day trip.  Leitrim Co Board really appreciate all the work the Society do for them on every visit.   It is given with a heart and a half and make the county boards job so much easier.

Below is a photo taken in 2003 of Leitrim people in New York who work tirelessly on behalf of Leitrim people in the Big Apple.

The Society and the Leitrim Supporters in New York will again help the Co Board tomorrow when they will complete a fund-raising day as part of the Leitrim 50 MiIe Challenge.

County Leitrim is so lucky to have such great people always willing to lend a helping hand.

 

 

 

 

The big weekend is here as over 1,250 fundraisers from around the globe finish out the 50 Mile challenge in various time zones.  There have been many wonderful Leitrim themed stories shared amongst the group who assembled on Facebook. It has been a month long trip down memory lane coupled with some very touching stories.  The pride of following the Green and Gold has been the common bond.

The fundraising has been magnificent and we are now in the final leg as we approach the target of €50,000 in our main account.  To donate & help us get there – please click:   gofund.me/2b327521

One of the participants in the challenge is 93 year old PJ McNabola – a proud Leitrim man – here is a little bit about PJ:

PJ McNabola one proud Leitrim man.
Leitrim people are proud and none prouder to be from Leitrim than PJ McNabola.  PJ was born in 1927, a historic year for Leitrim football when they won the Connacht Senior Championship. He was present the next time Leitrim won the Connacht Senior Championship in 1994. When Leitrim got to the Division 4 final in 2019 against Derry in Croke Park PJ was not going to miss it.  At the age of 92 PJ’s family ensured he would be in attendance and the Leitrim Observer honored him by taking his photo in the Croke Park Hotel before the match.

 

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, hat, tree, outdoor and nature

 

For a man that never played football his love of football was all consuming.  In Eslin at that time they had no football team and PJ still regrets not been able to play.  Down the years he has been an avid fan of his beloved Eslin, he loves to cheer on his grandchildren Kyle, Joshua, & Kayleigh who play for Fenagh and Niamh who plays for Mohill.  PJ occupies the only Corporate Box overlooking Mohill GAA pitch namely his bedroom window !

PJ was an ever present at all Leitrim games over the years.   Wherever the match was PJ with his nephews Padraig & Liam Higgins would be there. Limerick or Belfast, wet wind or rain the three boys would be there.

PJ, at 93 is still out and about and has participated in our 50 Challenge during the month of January.

Well done PJ and all of the participants, you are wonderful people !

If you would like to sponsor any of our participants please click here:

 

 

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and outdoorPJ with Gráinne Heeran McNabola