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Monday 14 October 2019

Enda's on the ball at emotional visit to GAA museum

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the revamped GAA Museum with GAA president Liam O'Neill.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the revamped GAA Museum with GAA president Liam O'Neill.

Michael Brennan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny had an emotional moment in Croke Park when he was given an All-Ireland programme featuring his late father.

He had not been expecting the memento of the 1936 final in which former Fine Gael TD Henry Kenny – played on the winning Mayo side.

Recovering his composure, Mr Kenny praised the GAA's role in Irish society during the launch of the revamped GAA museum in Croke Park.

"It is without any doubt the best amateur organisation on the planet," he said. "Every town, every village, every community has the GAA weaved into its very fabric."

More than 750,000 people have visited the GAA museum since it opened in 1998. Now the exhibits have been redesigned, with more recent moments celebrated and a Hall of Fame added.

PRAYING

Mr Kenny and GAA president Liam O'Neill spoke about the struggles of their respective counties, Mayo and Laois.

The Taoiseach said he did not believe the story of the Mayo football team being cursed since its last win in 1951. "We're trying hard, we're praying hard and, if it comes down to it, I'll have to legislate for the bloody thing," he joked.

The oldest living member of the GAA's Hall of Fame, former Tipperary hurling goalkeeper Tony Reddan (93), attended yesterday's launch.

Mr O'Neill said the Galway-born player had won three All-Irelands in a row, in 1949, 1950 and 1951, and added: "Christy Ring said you might manage to score a goal against Tony, but if you passed him making your way into the net, making your way out would be much more difficult."

One of the GAA's longstanding complaints is that the museum in Croke Park is not promoted enough to tourists. However, Mr Kenny said he was having discussions about including the stadium in a "triangle of tourism assets" with the Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery.

Irish Independent

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