GAA to celebrate links to the Olympics on centenary of Team Ireland at the games

Event to take place at Croke Park on Sunday

GAA President Jarlath Burns said he is seeking an early meeting with the Taoiseach and Tanaiste over the Government’s criticism of the streaming service, GAAGO
GAA President Jarlath Burns (Niall Carson/PA)

This Sunday, the GAA will make a presentation at Croke Park to celebrate its athletics past and to commemorate a century of Ireland’s Olympic Games involvement.

Representatives of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Olympians and Paralympians will be the GAA’s guests of honour at the Galway-Waterford camogie quarter-final and Limerick-Cork hurling All-Ireland semi-final.

The event marks 100 years since the first official Team Ireland competed at an Olympics in Paris in 1924 – a team that featured Gaelic football stars Larry Stanley of Kildare in the high jump and Mayo sprinter Seán Lavan, the man who invented the solo run.

The godfather of Ireland’s Olympic participation was Limerick native JJ Keane, a member of the GAA’s Central Council, Chair of the GAA Athletics Committee from 1906-1922 and a double football All-Ireland winner with his adopted club Geraldines in Dublin. He was also Ireland’s first ever representative on the International Olympic Committee.

The summer of 1924 also featured the staging of the Tailteann Games by the Irish Free State, a Celtic Olympiad for the Irish diaspora, which was largely based at Croke Park and held in 1924, 1928 and 1932.

ROME, ITALY - JUNE 10: Gold medalist Ciara Mageean of Team Ireland celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s 1500mon day four of the 26th European Athletics Championships - Rome 2024 at Stadio Olimpico on June 10, 2024 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images for European Athletics)
European Athletics Championship gold medalist Ciara Mageean has a strong background in camogie. (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images for European Athletics) (Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images for European Athlet)

As well as a presentation to the OFI, the GAA will facilitate the staging of a novel mile run on the pitch – an event that has not been held at Croke Park since 1966 when the late Kerry Olympian and Gaelic Games journalist Tom O’Riordan set a time of 4.12.1 for running a mile over five laps of the pitch in a Tailteann games athletics event. A field of runners is being assembled to tackle that record this weekend.

Uachtarán CLG Jarlath Burns said: “We are the Gaelic Athletic Association and as such we are enormously proud of the rich history and heritage that exists in the athletics exploits of our members.

“From our first President and internally renowned athlete Maurice Davin through to the outstanding role model, new European champion and camogie player Ciara Mageean, there is a link between Gaelic games and athletics that is worth celebrating.

“This occasion affords us the opportunity to not only commemorate our athletics past, but also remember the achievement that was the Tailteann Games, the involvement of GAA members in previous Olympics, and especially wish the 2024 Team Ireland bon voyage and adh mór ahead of their departure for Paris next week.”

The announcement comes on the day that the GAA also remembers the achievement of GAA member Tom Kiely from Ballyneale in Tipperary, regarded as the greatest athlete of his generation, who on this day 120 years ago was crowned all-round champion in the 1904 Games in St Louis.