Pictured at the launch of the The Irish TV Gaelic Masters competition at The Imperial, Cavan at the weekend are back, l-r, Máirtín O’Reilly, Irish TV; John Duignan, Secretary, Gaelic Masters; John Pat Sheridan, Chairman Gaelic Masters; David McShane, Donegal; Seamus Sororhan, Leitrim, Stephen Dolan, Leitrim. Front l-r, Damian Gormley, Tyrone; Pat Mulchrone, Mayo; Jerome McKiernan, Cavan; Colin Mallon, Antrim; Richard Donovan, Galway and Joe Corroon, Westmeath.
The launch of both the IRISH TV All-Ireland Gaelic Masters Semi-Finals/Finals and the Gaelic Masters international series against Australia took place in Cavan over last weekend.
The event provided an opportunity for players and club representatives to get together in advance of the competitive fixtures set to take place over the next number of weeks.
In the international series there are two Australia v Ireland test matches, the first to take place on October 19th at Kilkerrin, Clonbeirne, County Galway with the second test On October 22nd at The Denn GAA Club County Cavan.
The teams will compete for the Paddy Gaffney Memorial Cup, in honour of former Irish Masters footballer Paddy Gaffney from Cavan who hails from the Denn GAA club, with members of the Gaffney family in attendance at the launch.
The official announcement of the semi-finals pairings will also pave the way for the IRISH TV All-Ireland Gaelic Masters finals scheduled for November 12th while a training session will take place at 3.30pm in Breffni Park in Cavan.
Gaelic Masters, which caters to teams of inter-county senior players aged over 40, includes a Premier Final and a Shield Final. The hosting of a touring Australian team to play an Irish selection in two test matches adds an international dimension to the league.
GROWTH OF GAELIC MASTERS SERIES
The Gaelic Masters has been gaining considerable ground since it launched in 2012 with 12 counties going forward in the 2016 series, namely Mayo, Galway, Longford, Leitrim, Sligo, Westmeath, Offaly, Tyrone, Cavan, Monaghan, Antrim and Donegal. A number of other counties are tipped to join in 2017. Any county can get involved, there is a registration process and Gaelic Masters Committee and all players must be 40 years or older in the year they compete.
The Irish TV Gaelic Masters competition was launched at The Imperial, Cavan on Saturday evening. The Gaelic Masters is a competitive inter-county tournament for footballers over 40 to compete after their sporting careers have come to an end. The Gaelic Masters like Irish TV is growing in popularity every year. At the launch from Longford are from left Sean McCaughey, PRO Gaelic Masters; John Duignan, Secretary; Gaelic Masters, James Breslin, Longford and Treasurer Gaelic Masters, John Pat Sheridan, Chairman Gaelic Masters and Pat Cullinane, Games Development Officer, Gaelic Masters. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Pat Cullinane, player and PRO Galway Masters explains:
“Gaelic Masters Association is a group of players aged 40 or older who still have the energy and vigour to be playing, usually at junior or intermediate level for their own clubs and who wish to tog out for their county. Gaelic Masters allows players who are still active at our age to continue playing.
“Not every county has a team yet but we are well on our way with several more signing up. We expect it to grow and grow because there is huge popularity and interest in keeping fit and healthy both in terms of physical and mental health as well as through enjoying competitive sport.”
Mark Dempsey, Commercial Executive with IRISH TV added: “IRISH TV is delighted to have sponsored and broadcast both the Final and Shield Final of the Gaelic Masters live since 2014. The response to last year’s event was unbelievable. We had a huge crowd at the final in Clonbeirne in Co Galway.”
Former GAA President Dr Michael Loftus recalled that the competition started in 1990 within the GAA when it was known as the Masters Gaelic Football and ran for about 19 years.
“Fair dues to the Gaelic Masters, they recommenced it in 2012 and have kept it going. My advice is to keep playing, keep at it because of the medical and fitness benefits that accrue and also the social benefit from mixing with players for a long time. When I meet players of my vintage I am delighted to meet them – but wouldn’t it be great to meet them on the pitch again too!”
Gaelic Masters player for Mayo, John Pat Sheridan, said the competition grew from teams playing individual games on a round robin basis towards the semi-finals and then the finals.
“Our big breakthrough came with IRISH TV when they came in to broadcast the finals live. It was a great spectacle for Masters football and showcased our ability to compete and play at a competitive level at over 40. We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
Galway player John Davin added that the camaraderie was one of the best elements of the sport. “You’re playing with a lot of lads that you used to play against. That’s one of the big things. They say life begins at 40 but it definitely does with the Masters.”
The following players have been selected to represent Ireland in the upcoming International Rules matches v Australia
Lloyd Kelly, John Slattery, Sean O Dowd, Declan Meehan, Ger Keane, Ollie Hannon (Galway) Philip Rainey, Joe Corroon, Joe Cunnane (Westmeath) Bryan Hennelly, Sean McCaughey, Danny O Toole (Mayo) Eamonn O Hara, David Durkan, Con O Meara (Sligo) John Coyle, Declan O Neill, Mike Keane (Longford) Oliver Costello, Kiernan Fox, Mark Rehill, Christy Shiels, Jason O Reilly, Padraig Sheridan, Jerome Kiernan (Cavan) Gavan McElroy, Kevin Gormley, Mark Gallagher, Damien Gormley (Tyrone) Charlie Gallagher, Charlie Doherty, David McShane, Daniel Bradley (Donegal) Colin Mallon, Ronan Hamill (Antrim) John Kenny, Roy Malone (Offaly)
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