When Michael Cusack moved to Dublin, in 1877, to open his academy preparing Irish students for the Civil Service examinations, sport throughout Ireland was the preserve of the middle and ascended classes.
Within Cusack’s academy sport was central with students who were encouraged to participate in rugby, cricket, rowing and weight-throwing.
In the early 1880’s Cusack turned his attentions to indigenous Irish sports. In 1882 he attended the first meeting of the Dublin Hurling Club, formed ‘for the purpose of taking steps to re-establish the national game of hurling’.
The weekly games of hurling, in the Phoenix Park, became so popular that, in 1883, Cusack had sufficient numbers to found ‘Cusack’s Academy Hurling Club’ which, in turn, led to the establishment of the Metropolitan Hurling Club.
On Easter Monday 1884 the Metropolitans played Killiomor, in Galway. The game had to be stopped on numerous occasions as the two teams were playing to different rules.
It was this clash of styles that convinced Cusack that not only did the rules of the games need to be standardised but that a body must be established to govern Irish sports.
Cusack was also a journalist and he used the nationalist press of the day to further his cause for the creation of a body to organise and govern athletics in Ireland.
On October 11 1884 an article, written by Cusack, called ‘A word about Irish Athletics’ appeared in the United Ireland and The Irishman. These articles were supported a week later by a letter from Maurice Davin, one of three Tipperary brothers, who had dominated athletics for over a decade and who gave his full support to the October 11 articles.
A week later Cusack submitted a signed letter to both papers announcing that a meeting would take place in Hayes’s Commercial Hotel, Thurles on November 1 1884.
On this historic date Cusack convened the first meeting of the ‘Gaelic Athletic Association for the Preservation and Cultivation of national Pastimes’. Maurice Davin was elected President, Cusack, Wyse-Power and McKay were elected Secretaries and it was agreed that Archbishop Croke, Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt would be asked to become Patrons.
From that initial, subdued first meeting grew the Association we know today.
Cups & Trophies
Sam Maguire Cup
Awarded to the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Sam Maguire was a native of Dunmanway, Co. Cork, where he was born in 1879. At 20 years of age, he took a position with the postal service in London. There he was prominent in GAA affairs as a member of the Hibernians club and played with London in the All-lreland football finals of 1900, 1901 (captain) and 1902.
He was active in the Irish Republican Brotherhood and he initiated Michael Collins into that organisation. In December 1924 he returned to Dunmanway and died there three years later.
Liam MacCarthy Cup
Awarded to the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. The trophy commemorates the memory of Liam MacCarthy who was prominently associated with the GAA in London.
Tom Markham Cup
The Tom Markham Cup is presented to the winning county of the ESB GAA Football All-Ireland Minor Championship.
Irish Press Cup
Awarded to the winners of the All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship
New Ireland Cup
Awarded to the winners of the National Football League.
Dr Croke Cup
Awarded to the winners of the National Hurling League.
Andy Merrigan Cup
Awarded to the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship.The All-lreland Club championships began in 1971, but the first winners of this trophy, presented for the football championship to the association by the Wexford County Board, were U.C.D. in 1974.
Tommy Moore Cup
Awarded to the winners of the All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship.A native of Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny, Tommy Moore was prominently associated with the Faughs club in Dublin for most of his adult life.
Awarded to the winners of the U21 Football Championship.
The Cross of Cashel
Awarded to the winners of the All-Ireland U21 Hurling Championship.
M.J. “Inky” Flaherty
Awarded to the winners of the Connacht Senior Hurling Championship.
J.J. Nestor Cup
Awarded to the winners of the Connacht Senior Football Championship.
Bob O Keeffe Cup
Awarded to the winners of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.
Awarded to the winners of the Leinster Senior Football Championship.
Munster Senior Hurling Cup
Awarded to the winners of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship.
Munster Senior Football Championship
Awarded to the winners of the Munster Senior Football Championship.
Liam Harvey Cup
Awarded to the winners of the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship.
Anglo Celt Cup
Awarded to the winners of the Ulster Senior Football Championship.
Awarded to the winners of All Ireland Colleges Football.
Awarded to the winners of All Ireland Colleges Hurling.
Awarded to the winners of the 3rd Level Hurling Championship.
Awarded to the winners of 3rd Level Football Championship.