Sam Maguire Cup

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Staunton's drawing of the 1928 Sam Maguire Cup
Matthew J. Staunton c.1910

The Sam Maguire Cup, often referred to as Sam or The Sam (Irish: Corn Sam Mhic Uidhir), is a trophy awarded annually by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to the team that wins the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, the main competition in the sport of Gaelic football. The Sam Maguire Cup was first presented to Kildare, winners of the 1928 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. The original 1920s trophy was retired in the 1980s, with a new identical trophy awarded annually since 1988.

The GAA organises the series of games, which are played during the summer months. The All-Ireland Football Final was traditionally played on the third or fourth Sunday in September at Croke Park in Dublin. In 2018, the GAA rescheduled its calendar and since then the fixture has been played in early September.

Old trophy[edit]

The original Sam Maguire Cup commemorates the memory of Sam Maguire, an influential figure in the London GAA and a former footballer.[1] A group of his friends formed a committee in Dublin under the chairmanship of Dr Pat McCartan from Carrickmore, County Tyrone, to raise funds for a permanent commemoration of his name. They decided on a cup to be presented to the GAA. The Association were proud to accept the Cup. At the time it cost £300. In today's terms that sum is equivalent to €25,392. The commission to make it was given to Hopkins and Hopkins, a jewellers and watchmakers of O'Connell Bridge, Dublin.

The silver cup was crafted, on behalf of Hopkins and Hopkins, by the silversmith Matthew J. Staunton of D'Olier Street, Dublin. Maitiú Standun, Staunton's son, confirmed in a letter printed in the Alive! newspaper in October 2003 that his father had indeed made the original Sam Maguire Cup back in 1928.

Matthew J. Staunton (1888–1966) came from a long line of silversmiths going back to the Huguenots, who brought their skills to Ireland in the 1600s. Matt, as he was known to his friends, served his time in the renowned Dublin silversmiths, Edmond Johnson Ltd, where the Liam MacCarthy Hurling Cup was made in 1921.

The 1928 Sam Maguire Cup is a faithful model of the Ardagh Chalice. The bowl was not spun on a spinning lathe but hand-beaten from a single flat piece of silver. Even though it is highly polished, multiple hammer marks are still visible today, indicating the manufacturing process.

It was first presented in 1928 - to the Kildare team that defeated Cavan by one point in that year's final.[2][additional citation(s) needed] It was the only time Kildare won old trophy. They have yet to win the new trophy, coming closest in 1998, when Galway defeated them by four points in that year's final.

Kerry won the trophy on the most occasions. They were also the only team to win it on four consecutive occasions, achieving the feat twice -first during the late-1920s and early-1930s (1929, 1930, 1931, 1932), and later during the late-1970s and early 1980s (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981).

In addition, Kerry twice won the old trophy on three consecutive occasions, in the late 1930s and early-1940s (1939, 1940, 1941) and in the mid-1980s (1984, 1985, 1986). They also won it on two consecutive occasions in the late-1960s and early-1970s (1969, 1970).

Galway won the old trophy on three consecutive occasions in the mid-1960s (1964, 1965, 1966).

Roscommon won the old trophy on two consecutive occasions during the mid-1940s (1943, 1944), as did Cavan later that decade (1947, 1948).

Mayo won the old trophy on two consecutive occasions during the early-1950s (1950, 1951), while Down did likewise in the early-1960s (1960, 1961).

Offaly won the old trophy on two consecutive occasions during the early 1970s (1971, 1972), while Dublin did likewise later that decade (1976, 1977).

Six men won the old trophy twice as captain: Joe Barrett of Kerry, Jimmy Murray of Roscommon, John Joe O'Reilly of Cavan, Seán Flanagan of Mayo, Enda Colleran of Galway and Tony Hanahoe of Dublin.

The original trophy was retired in 1988 as it had received some damage over the years. It is permanently on display in the GAA Museum at Croke Park.[3]

Original 1928 Sam Maguire Cup on display in the GAA Museum at Croke Park

New trophy[edit]

The GAA commissioned a replica from Kilkenny-based silversmith Desmond A. Byrne and the replica is the trophy that has been used ever since. The silver for the new cup was donated by Johnson Matthey Ireland at the behest of Kieran D. Eustace Managing Director, a native of Newtowncashel Co. Longford.[4] Meath's Joe Cassells was the first recipient of "Sam Óg". Meath have the distinction of being the last team to lift the old Sam Maguire and the first team to lift the new one following their back-to-back victories in 1987 and 1988.

Cork won the new trophy on consecutive occasions in the late-1980s and early-1990s (1989, 1990), while Kerry did likewise during the mid-2000s (2006, 2007).

Dublin are the only team to win the new trophy on more than two consecutive occasions, achieving a historic achievement of six-in-a-row during the second half of the 2010s (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020).

Stephen Cluxton of Dublin is the only captain to have won the new trophy seven times as captain, doing so in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. No other person as ever won either the old or new trophy as captain more than twice. Two other men have won the new trophy twice as captain: Declan O'Sullivan of Kerry and Brian Dooher of Tyrone.

In 2010, the GAA asked the same silversmith to produce another replica of the trophy (the third Sam Maguire Cup) although this was to be used only for marketing purposes.[3]


See All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for a list of all-time winners of the competition.

Old Trophy

  •    Kerry – 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1946, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1962, 1969, 1970, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986
  •    Dublin – 1942, 1958, 1963, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1983
  •    Galway – 1934, 1938, 1956, 1964, 1965, 1966
  •    Cavan – 1933, 1935, 1947, 1948, 1952
  •    Meath – 1949, 1954, 1967, 1987
  •    Mayo – 1936, 1950, 1951
  •    Down – 1960, 1961, 1968
  •     Offaly – 1971, 1972, 1982
  •    Roscommon – 1943, 1944
  •    Cork – 1945, 1973
  •    Kildare – 1928
  •    Louth – 1957

New Trophy

  •    Dublin – 1995, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  •    Kerry – 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014
  •    Tyrone – 2003, 2005, 2008, 2021
  •    Meath – 1988, 1996, 1999
  •    Cork – 1989, 1990, 2010
  •    Down – 1991, 1994
  •    Donegal – 1992, 2012
  •    Galway – 1998, 2001
  •    Derry – 1993
  •    Armagh – 2002

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prendeville, Tom (22 August 2010). "GAA heroes died poor and alone". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  2. ^ Kenny, Tom (14 April 2011). "The men who first brought Sam to Galway". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 14 April 2011. In 1928, the Sam Maguire Trophy was presented to the GAA, and ever since, it has been the dream of every county in Ireland to hold it aloft in Croke Park on the third Sunday in September.
  3. ^ a b O'Connor, Colm (19 August 2010). "All-Ireland replica trophies nearly ready". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Sam Maguire and the Longford Connection". Longford Leader. 15 Jul 1988.