JP McManus's 'incredible' €3.2m gift to GAA clubs roundly cheered
JARLATH Burns has described JP McManus’s €100,000 gift to every GAA county board in Ireland as “quite remarkable” - while GAA official Alan Milton said the Irish billionaire’s act of generosity was “unprecedented” in the Association’s history.
It is understood some county secretaries have already received their cash windfall through the post with the simple instruction attached that the money is to be distributed evenly to the clubs.
The Limerick man, who was ranked seventh in Ireland’s 2017 rich list and is estimated to be worth €2b, has been a huge supporter of Limerick GAA and other sports including horse racing.
McManus watched with pride as the Shannonsiders finally ended their 45-year wait for the All-Ireland Senior Hurling title last month when they beat defending champions Galway in the final.
The total amount of McManus’s donation to GAA clubs across Ireland is €3.2m.
“The fact that a Limerick man is making donations to Gaels in Donegal, Wexford, Kerry and Antrim is just remarkarble,” said Milton, the GAA’s Communications Manager.
“I can’t speak for JP but he’s obviously derived so much pleasure from the work that all those Limerick clubs have done to put those green jerseys in Croke Park. This is his way of acknowledging that which is really remarkable.”
Milton added: “This is unprecedented. It’s an incredibly generous gesture and is in keeping with how supportive he’s been to Limerick GAA and we all know how passionate he is of sport in general. The money went straight to the counties; it didn’t come through Croke Park.
“There are always going to be challenges for our clubs and it goes without saying some of the costs around teams are greater than they’ve ever been. There wouldn’t have been a bad time to receive such a financial gesture like this.”
There was plenty of warm reaction to JP’s philanthropy on social media last night with former Sligo star Eamonn O’Hara tweeting: ‘JP for President’.
Ex-Tyrone ace Sean Cavanagh wrote: ‘Amazing from JP. Hope he has thought through. Mens, Ladies, Hurling, Camogie, Handball and Rounders – some lobbying around county boards ahead!’
Last night, Former Armagh captain Jarlath Burns heaped praise on the Limerick man.
“I’ve heard lots about JP McManus down through the years and how decent a man he is. Regardless of how much money he has it’s lovely to think that he’s still rooted in the values of love of place and how an All-Ireland victory can galvanise people and give so much genuine happiness to people.”
Burns, who is secretary of his club Silverbridge in south Armagh, said the cash windfall will help in all kinds of ways.
“Like every club, there is the mundane stuff – we need a new lawnmower, we might have to buy a new generator because the one we have has seen better days...
“You know the saying: ‘You make a living out of what you get but you make a life out of what you give’. The amount of people that’s going to be affected by this is incredible… We are all blessed when someone intrinsically good like that comes along.
“He has done this because he knows the GAA is a badge of integrity within the community. The money is not going to make our club, but I can tell you, it will help.”