Sam Maguire

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Sam Maguire
Personal information
Sport Gaelic football
Position
Born 1879
County Cork, Ireland
Died 6 February 1927(1927-02-06)
Inter-county(ies)
Years County
?-? London
Cork

Samuel "Sam" Maguire (1879 – 6 February 1927), an Irish republican and Gaelic footballer, is chiefly remembered as the eponym of the Sam Maguire Cup, given to the All-Ireland Senior Champions of Gaelic football.

Early life[edit]

He was born in the townland of Mallabraca near the town of Dunmanway in West Cork and was a member of the Church of Ireland[1][2]

He had four brothers and two sisters. Willie was the eldest then Mary, Jack, Dick, Paul (who married a Roman Catholic and whose son became a Roman Catholic priest), Sam and Elizabeth. The Maguires farmed 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land. He went to school in Dunmanway and then to the national school in Ardfield. This is the same school Michael Collins later attended. At the age of 20 Maguire passed the exams.

Professional life[edit]

He then took a job in the British Civil Service in London. Maguire joined and captained the successful London Hibernians Gaelic football team to several All-Ireland finals between 1900 and 1904.

In 1907 he went into the administration of the London GAA, becoming the Chairman of the London County Board and a regular delegate to the Annual Congress of the GAA. He later became a trustee of Croke Park. Coincidentally, Vice-Chairman of the London County Board was Liam McCarthy who gave his name to the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Cup.

He is also remembered in the political sphere for recruiting the nationalist leader Michael Collins to the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1909 and for many years was one of Collins right hand men. As Collins's chief intelligence officer in London, Maguire became the centre of Scotland Yard's investigation into the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson. Maguire was tipped off and fled to Dublin in December 1923[3] where he got a job in the newly established Irish civil service. Because of his political opinions and his sympathies to the Anti-Treaty forces, he quickly clashed with his superiors and was dismissed.

Death[edit]

Cork-based Margaret Walsh, who has written Sam Maguire: The Enigmatic Man Behind Ireland's Most Prestigious Trophy, says that "what became of him was very sad". "In 1924, he was sacked and deprived of his pension. They (the Irish Government) gave him £100 and that was it. "In 1925, he came back to west Cork to live. He then developed TB and died in penury in 1927 aged 48. They say that he died of a broken heart and penniless," she says.[4]

He is buried in the cemetery of Saint Mary's in Dunmanway. A Celtic cross was raised over his grave with a simple inscription

Erected to the memory of Samuel Maguire, Mallabraca who died 6th February 1927 by the people of Dunmanway and his numerous friends throughout Ireland and England in recognition of his love for his country.

Dunmanway's Dohenys GAA club named their home pitch Sam Maguire Park in his honour, and the club's under-age teams joined with the Randal Og Club compete under the moniker "Sam Maguires". On 15 September 2002, a statue of Sam Maguire was unveiled as the centrepiece of a new €500,000 plaza in Dunmanway's town centre.

Sam Maguire Cup[edit]

The Sam Maguire Cup was designed and presented to the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1928 in his honour after his death in 1927. The cup cost £300 in 1928 (equivalent to €26,395 now). After it had been commissioned by the committee under the chairmanship of Dr Pat McCartan, the task of making the cup was given to Hopkins and Hopkins, a jewellers and watchmakers, of O'Connell Bridge, Dublin. Although Hopkins and Hopkins were commissioned to make the original Sam Maguire Cup, this company did not have the facilities for such a big job. Instead, they outsourced the making of the cup to the silversmith Matthew J. Staunton of D'Olier Street, Dublin.

Kildare was the first county to win the Sam Maguire cup after defeating Cavan 2–6 to 2–5 in 1928. The cup was replaced in 1988, Meath being the first recipient of "Sam Óg" after a defeat of Cork.

Dublin are the current holders of the cup after defeating Mayo on 22 September 2013. The score was 2–12 to 1–14 Dublin winning by only 1 point.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A History of Sam Maguire". Retrieved 30 April 2007. 
  2. ^ "Rebel GAA,Sam Maguire". Retrieved 30 April 2007. 
  3. ^ Mike Cronin, 'Maguire, Samuel [Sam] (1877–1927)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oct 2005; online edn, May 2006
  4. ^ Prendeville, Tom (22 August 2010). "GAA heroes died poor and alone". Irish Independent.