Ag Ceiliúradh Mícheal Ó Cíosóig
By Cian Murphy
Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy led a delegation to Glasnevin cemetery today to mark the 175th anniversary of the birth of Michael Cusack, the teacher from Clare who was a driving force behind the creation of the GAA.
Together with Maurice Davin, Cusack’s passion and energy for a new approach to the promotion and development of sport in Ireland and his interest in reviving hurling paved the way for the formation of the GAA in 1884, with Cusack appointed joint secretary at the pivotal meeting in Hayes’s Hotel.
Uachtarán McCarthy and Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan were joined by representatives from Clare and Dublin GAA as well as the provincial councils, and member sof the GAA history committee. Monsignor Fr Eoin Tynne performed a blessing on the Cusack grave in Glasnevin followed by a wreath laying ceremony.
Speaking at the graveside on the calendar anniversary of his birth in 1847, Uachtarán McCarthy said: “Cusack’s passion and energy put sport and the GAA in the midst of the great revival that gripped Ireland in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
“And even though he did not stay long at the helm of the Association he invested so much energy into creating, it remains a lasting legacy to Cusack and his vision.
“Were he alive today Cusack would gaze upon a GAA that has 250,000 children under 17 registered and playing hurling and Gaelic football.
“Gaelic games are present in every community thanks to the deep roots planted by clubs. The GAA is in every corner of the island through 1,600 clubs and present in more than 450 GAA clubs dotted all over the globe.
“The vision that illuminated the small billiards room of Hayes’s Hotel in 1884 continues to inspire all of those who follow in the footsteps of Cusack and Davin.
“We honour their legacy wherever we gather to play Gaelic games.
“Their work gifted future generations the great games we have today.
“With that gift comes a responsibility to ensure that our games are never again in the perilous state that they were in prior to the actions of Cusack and his contemporaries to revive them.
“To ensure children in our schools and communities through our clubs can take part in these great games, and that the GAA is relevant and supportive of our members and society is the baton passed on to us.
“Michael Cusack’s name lives on not just in statues and sports stadia but in the games that are an intrinsic part of who we are, and we remain proud and grateful for his dedication to that cause.”