First All-Ireland hurling final to be commemorated

July 12, 2012

Tipperary's Bonner Maher and Offaly's Millennium Man Brian Whelahan Launching the Festival of Finals to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the first All-Ireland Hurling Final in St. Brendan's Park, Birr, Co. Offaly
A festival to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the first All-Ireland hurling championship in 1887 - the final of which was played on April 1, 1888 - will take place in Birr later this month.

The 'Festival of Finals' will run from July 27-July 29 in the Co. Offaly town, which staged the first All-Ireland hurling final, and will incorporate a series of events to mark the milestone. This will include a re-enactment of the 1887 final by some of the country's top GAA stars, including local heroes Daithi Regan, Michael Duignan and Brian Whelahan.

The event will also incorporate a blitz by club teams from around the country with a series of matches taking place over in Birr, Crinkle, Drumcullen and Carrig. The festival will culminate with a parade through Birr on Sunday, July 29 and the final of the a hurling blitz that will feature currently All-Ireland club champions Loughgiel Shamrocks, runners-up Coolderry, host club Birr, Lucan Sarsfields, Shelmalier, Smith O'Brien's, Tullaroan and Meelick-Eyrecourt, who represented Galway in the 1887 final.

Speaking at the launch of the event, Offaly hurling legend Brian Whelahan commented: "Festival of Finals embraces the proud history of the GAA by bringing together clubs from all over Ireland. It's very appropriate that this unique event takes place in Birr, home of the first All-Ireland hurling final in 1888 and also the first club hurling final in 1971. It promises to be a weekend of high quality hurling and a celebration of the rich heritage of the GAA."

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