World record for Cancer Focus and Michaela Foundation marathon GAA match

 The "Marathon Match" was held on January in memory of Michaela McAreavery, the daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte who was murdered in Mauritius in 2011
Andrew Madden

A GRUELLING 24 hour GAA charity match has made it into the record books for the longest Gaelic football game in history.

In January two teams pounded the pitch through the night at Tyrone GAA’s Garvaghey Centre in a bid to set the new Guinness world record.

Players from across Ulster and Ireland took part in the ‘Marathon Match’ which raised more than £70,000 for two charities, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and the Michaela Foundation, set up in memory of Michaela McAreavey who was murdered in honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.

Her father Mickey Harte, the Tyrone GAA manager, coached one of the teams while her widower John McAreavey was among the players to take part.

The Michaela Foundation organises summer camps and other initiatives for young people, which are built around sports, the Irish language and faith-based activities.

Mr McAreavey said he was very proud of setting the record.

"I’m absolutely delighted for everyone involved that we have been officially granted with this world record, not least our fantastic players who really had to dig deep, both physically and mentally, to ensure we could achieve this mammoth challenge," he said.

Roisin Foster, CEO of Cancer Focus NI, said they were impressed by the achievement.

"We are delighted that we will be able to help even more cancer patients and their families thanks to the generosity of those who made donations or were involved in this amazing event," she added.

A presentation night for the players and their families will take place on May 13 in the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast.

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