1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final

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1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Final
1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final programme.jpg
Event 1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
Date 14 September 1947
Venue Polo Grounds, New York City
Attendance 134,491
Weather 86 °F (30 °C)[1]

The 1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final was the sixtieth All-Ireland Final and the deciding match of the 1947 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, an inter-county Gaelic football tournament for the top teams in Ireland.


For the first and only time, the final was played outside of Ireland, at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, New York City, to cater for the large Irish-American community there. The New York final was also intended to observe the centenary of the Great Famine that triggered mass Irish emigration to the U.S. and other countries.[2] Around 30,000 people were in the ground for the final.[3] Cavan travelled by air and Kerry by sea; the Ulster team credited their victory partially to their shorter time spent travelling. The Cavan team flew via the Azores, taking 30 hours. Kerry's trip by Ocean Liner took far longer.[3]

Mick Higgins, a key member of the Cavan team that day,[4] recalled in later life: "There was no huge send-off for us in Cavan, but both teams got a good reception in New York when we arrived. I remember the team stayed in the Commodore Hotel, but I stayed with my relatives." He also remembered there was "oppressive heat" during the game itself.[3]

Match summary[edit]

After a slow start, Cavan fought back to lead 2-5 to 2-4 at the break and went on to win by four points. Peter Donahue scored eight points from frees and was called "the Babe Ruth of Gaelic football" in the New York press. Michael O'Hehir broadcast radio commentary back across the Atlantic Ocean.[5][6]


The Cavan team returned to Ireland aboard the RMS Queen Mary. Higgins recalled, "It was only after we arrived in Southampton that we realised the joy of it all. Large numbers of Cavan people turned up to see us in London and Birmingham. We were treated like kings in Cavan."[3]


The 1947 All-Ireland final brought about an understanding that a large audience existed for Gaelic games highlights.[2]


  1. ^ "National Climatic Data Center". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-08-23. High temperature recorded at "New York Central Park OBS Belvedere Tower, NY US" station. 
  2. ^ a b Moran, Seán (30 November 2011). "'GAA Football Gold' is worth its weight in memories". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Cavan GAA legend Mick Higgins dies at the age of 87". BBC Sport. January 28, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ Martin Breheny (January 29, 2010). "Cavan football mourns loss of legend Higgins, hero of 1947 Polo Grounds". Irish Independent. Retrieved January 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ High Ball magazine, issue #6, 1998.
  6. ^ [1]