GAA President Liam O’Neill, former World 5000m champion Eamonn Coghlan and the hurling stars of Tipperary and Waterford will all celebrate the life and sporting achievements of GAA co-founder Maurice Davin at a festival in Carrick-on-Suir this summer.
The Maurice Davin Festival committee has announced details of the programme of events it’s organising to commemorate the Carrick-on-Suir man, who was not only one of the GAA’s founders and first president but also a renowned track & field athlete.
Most of the festival, which will combine Davin’s passion for GAA and athletics, will take place over the June Bank Holiday Weekend, coinciding with the town’s Clancy Brothers Music & Arts Festival.
However, the opening event - a mouth-watering match between Tipperary and Waterford senior hurling teams in Davin Park - will take place two weeks before the main festival programme on Friday, May 17 at 7.30pm. The Carrick-on-Suir Pipe Band will perform before the match.
Maurice Davin Festival Committee Chairman Bobby Fitzgerald said the managers of both counties will be fielding full strength teams for the challenge game.
“The participating players will be presented with once off memorial medallions, specially created for the event, in The Carraig Hotel after the match,” he said.
The unveiling of a nine foot limestone memorial statue of Maurice Davin outside Davin Park by GAA President Liam O’Neill will be the highlight of a day of commemorative events on Saturday, June 1.
The day will begin with Mr O’Neill laying a wreath at Maurice Davin’s grave in Churchtown Cemetery near Carrick-on-Suir at 12 noon.
The Bishop of Waterford & Lismore William Lee, the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly Dermot Clifford and Reverend George Cliffe of the Church of Ireland have been invited to partake in the blessing at the grave side and also at the unveiling of the statue.
The unveiling ceremony will take place at Davin Park at 3pm. The event will be attended by all past Presidents of the GAA as well as leading dignitaries in the cultural and sporting world.
It will be followed that evening by the official opening of the Maurice Davin and Local GAA Club exhibition of memorabilia at The Carraig Hotel.
Robert Frost, Chairperson of the Munster GAA Council, will officially open the exhibition at 5pm.
Mr Fitzgerald said the Maurice Davin Festival Committee wished to thank Marie McMahon and all the staff at South Tipperary County Museum for the loan of exhibition material and also the relatives of Maurice Davin, who are making available various items not previously seen.
The festivities will continue on Sunday, June 2 with a One Mile Fun Run in Carrick-on-Suir at 11am that will be launched by running legend Eamonn Coghlan.
There will also be an Athletics Family Fun Day in Davin Park from 11.30am to 1.30pm. The festivities will close that evening with a hurling match at Davin Park at 7pm.
“The whole weekend will be a wonderful occasion to honour the late Maurice Davin and will attract significant media interest,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
“It will be an event of culture and historical significance and large crowds are expected to travel to join in the celebrations.”
Meanwhile, sculptor Barry Wrafter is due to finish the memorial statue of Davin within the next fortnight.