Pipes are calling for Sam at start of charity trek
GAA broadcasting legend Micheal O Muircheartaigh welcomed Sam Maguire back to his native Kerry ahead of today's 'Sam to the Summit' charity trek up Ireland's highest peak.
The retired Gaelic games commentator and the Kilorglin District Pipe Band led a parade through Keel, Co Kerry, last night.
There were plenty of GAA figures to be seen, including Kerry football hero Tom Prendergast and Carlow footballer John Nevin as well as hundreds of supporters to kick off today's climb up the Carrauntoohil mountain.
They will join players representing all 32 counties who will carry medals and other GAA memorabilia as well as Gaelic football's biggest prize – the Sam Maguire trophy – to scale the summit of the 1,038-metre mountain to raise funds for the Alan Kerins Projects charity, which supports some of the poorest communities in Africa.
At 9.30am this morning,119 registered climbers will take approximately three-and-a-half hours to climb to the top of the mountain with the trophy and other GAA medals in tow before they begin the two-and-a-half hour trek downhill.
A special harness has been made to help the climbers carry the trophy, which weighs in at a hefty eight kilogrammes.
The trek aims to raise €100,000 and donations are already nearing that goal, said spokeswoman Judi Pheysey.
"We have sponsors from across Ireland, including GAA enthusiasts who have fundraised over the past five years," she said.
The climb is the brainchild of Galway physiotherapist Alan Kerins, who rallied GAA clubs across Ireland to take part in the fundraising.