24-hour marathon match raises £50k for charity

January 09, 2017

What is believed to be the longest non-stop GAA match in history was played out in Tyrone over the weekend.

The gruelling football game commenced at 11am on Saturday at the Tyrone Centre of Excellence in Garvaghey and ended shortly after 11am yesterday. Each team had 26 players which they rotated throughout the 24 hours as £50,000 was raised for two charities, the Michaela Foundation and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

The Michaela Foundation was set up in memory of Micheala McAreavey, who was murdered whilst on honeymoon in Mauritius six years ago. Her father, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, coached one of the teams, while her widower John McAreavey was among the players to take part.

"It was great how it ended," Harte told the Belfast Telegraph.

"They (the players) got a new lease of life in the last hour, or hour and a half. I couldn't believe it. They were like the walking wounded through the night and early in the morning before the day broke.

"But when they saw the new day arrive with more people arriving to watch them play, they got a new lease of life and more energy. It's such a credit to them that they kept it going to the end."

He added: "I am very proud of all those people who volunteered to take part, and all the support staff and team around it. It was a wonderful event and people can be very proud of it."

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