Millionaire McManus to relaunch GAA club in style
MILLIONAIRE JP McManus, pictured, is pulling out all the stops for the official opening of his neighbouring GAA club's new pitch and clubhouse.
Staker Wallace GAA club was provided with two new pitches and a state-of-the-art clubhouse in Limerick after agreeing to sell its former grounds to the international financier.
Mr McManus required the grounds to ringfence his lavish mansion at Martinstown and the property deal was agreed in 2006.
Subsequently, the club had two sand-based pitches, complete with floodlighting and a state-of-the-art clubhouse, built for it in Kilbreedy West, Kilmallock.
Such is the quality of the facilities, the Limerick county hurlers regularly train at Staker Wallace – a club that has less than 100 members.
And Mr McManus has used his influence to ensure the small club will be the envy of the rest of the country this weekend.
On Sunday, Micheal O Muircheartaigh, the Artane Boys Band from Dublin and the Limerick and Kilkenny teams that contested the 1973 All-Ireland senior hurling final will all be at the club.
Mr McManus has also lined up a challenge match between current All-Ireland hurling champions Kilkenny and his native Limerick as the centre-piece event.
Current and former players are being supplied with new suits, shirts, shoes and ties ahead of the big day and the band will provide the entertainment.
The last Limerick man to raise the Liam MacCarthy cup in 1973, Eamon Grimes, will cut the tape while GAA president Liam O'Neill will address the guests.
The challenge hurling game will begin at 7pm. The former hurling greats of 1973 will be introduced to the crowd at half-time, with Mr O Muircheartaigh as MC.
Rugby stars Paul O'Connell and Keith Wood have also been invited along with former Tipperary star forward, Nicky English.
A dinner for up to 350 people, including the teams and invited guests, will take place in the clubhouse after the match.
It is not yet known if Kilkenny manager Brian Cody, who also played in the 1973 final, will attend as he is still recovering from cardiac surgery that he underwent last month.