Liam McCarthy (GAA patron)

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Liam McCarthy (born on May 21, 1853 in Southwark, London, died 1928 East Dulwich, London) is best known for having the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) Liam McCarthy Cup named after him.

Early life[edit]

Liam was born in Southwark, London to Irish parents who had emigrated from Ballygarvan, County Cork. His father Eoghan McCarthy was nicknamed Capall, Irish for 'horse' because of his great strength. Liam grew up in a close knit Irish community; he played hurling on Clapham Common and Irish was the first language in the family home. After leaving school he worked as a blacksmith's hammerman and as a railwayman.

Marriage and business life[edit]

In 1875, at age 22, he married Alice Padbury in St George's Cathedral, Southwark. The couple had four sons. Her family owned a fancy box factory and Liam joined the family business but a few years later he struck out on his own setting up a fancy box factory in the family home. After some years he set up a factory in Peckham which he called St. Brigid's works.

Political and GAA life[edit]

Liam became a leader in London's Irish community and was elected a councilor for Peckham's north ward. He was also elected chairman of London GAA county board, a position he held for 10 years. Michael Collins and Sam Maguire were also members of the London county board. Despite his advanced years he joined the London branch of the Irish Volunteers along with his sons; he also was allegedly a member of the IRB. In 1915, Britain introduced conscription; a crisis meeting of the London branch of the Irish volunteers was held at his home in east Dulwich to discuss conscription. As a councilor Liam could not publicly advise men to avoid conscription but in response to question from Michael Collins he said, "If you come from Clonakilty it is obvious where you must go" - in other words advising them to return to Ireland where conscription was not in force.

Liam McCarthy Cup[edit]

In conjunction with two of his sons, Liam commissioned the manufacture of a trophy based on an ancient Irish drinking cup. This cup was offered to the GAA central council in Croke Park and was gratefully accepted. It is awarded annually and in perpetuity to the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. his friend, Sam Maguire, presented a similar Cup for the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship(difficult to know how this could have happened when Sam Maguire died in 1927 and the cup was presented in 1928 by his friends) The first winners of the Liam McCarthy cup were Limerick in 1921.

The GAA club grounds in Ballygarvan are named after him.