A host of big names were in attendance for the launch of the 2014 M. Donnelly GAA All Ireland Poc Fada Finals at Croke Park.
GAA Uachtarán, Liam Ó Néill and Uachtarán An Cumann Camogaíochta, Aileen Lawlor, and a list of top intercounty hurlers and camogie players were all in attendance at Croke Park for the unveiling of this year's event.
The eagerly-awaited finals will take place on Saturday the 2nd of August 2014 on Annaverna Mountain, Ravensdale, Cooley, Co. Louth at 11am and will feature what could yet be a 'puck-off' between All-Ireland winners Brendan Cummins and Clare goalkeeper Patrick Kelly and Laois' Eoin Reilly.
This unique GAA sporting and cultural contest promises to be a great day of sport. Tipperary’s Cummins is the man of the moment, though, as he is looking to win a record 8th title.
"It's a record I'd love to capture but it's a very competitive event," Cummins admitted. "I know the competition will be very stiff. The fact that GAA president Liam O'Neill will be in attendance really boosts the profile as well."
The provincial Poc Fada Champions Donal O’Brien (Mayo), Eoin Reilly (Laois), Andrew Fahy (Clare) and Ruairi Convery (Derry) and the four provincial runners-up Patrick McKillion (Tyrone), Stevie Brenner (Waterford), Nigel Daly (Galway) and Kevin Walsh (Kilkenny) will compete against Patrick Kelly (Clare), Alan Nolan (Dublin) and Stephen Clynch (Meath)
Patricia Jackman of Waterford will also be attempting to make history by winning her sixth M Donnelly Camogie Poc Fada title in a row. The decorated camogie star will, however, face strong competition from Catriona Daly (Galway), Martine McMahon (Limerick), Stephanie Carthy (Dublin), Louise Dougan (Derry), Aoibheann Murphy (Armagh) & Niamh Mackin (Louth).
The M Donnelly Under 16 All Ireland Poc Fada will see Alan Kelly (Laois), Barry Kenneally (Cork) & Donal McKernan (Antrim) compete again last year’s winner Jack Coyne (Galway) for the prestigious title.
Speaking at the launch GAA Uachtarán, Liam Ó Néill said “There are few events in our diary that stand out from the rest of our activities in the same way as the Poc Fada. The Annaverna Mountain is the perfect picturesque setting for truly unique event and with the contestants including some of the highest profile hurlers in our game who are participating at a time of the year when their season reaches fever pitch, in itself says everything about the importance they place on their involvement. I would also like to thank Martin Donnelly for his continued support of the Competition, this year will be the 18th sponsoring the Finals in the Cooley Mountains.
Speaking at the launch Uachtarán An Cumann Camogaíochta, Aileen Lawlor said:
“Camogie are delighted once again to take part in the annual Poc Fada Finals, this will be our 11th year taking part and over the last number of years competition has been quite stiff with only a poc of the sliotar between the contestants.”
Speaking at the launch Martin Donnelly said: “This event is the GAA at its most raw. There are few placed I would rather be than the Cooley Mountains on Saturday. I am delighted to continue support of this wonderful competition, which is a truly unique event, and I am sure this year’s final will be one of the best. The interest is really high.“
Humphrey Kelleher, Chairman of the National Poc Fada Committee stated: “County boards are starting to really embrace this event and you could see that from the way the respective finals were rolled out all over the country this year. An Poc Fada is one of our finest traditions and we in the GAA, whether it be at club, county, provincial or national level have a responsibility to cherish and develop it to the best of our ability. It is incumbent upon us all to pass on to the next generation this intrinsic part of our Gaelic Games culture in a healthy and vibrant state.”
For further information visit www.pocfada.gaa.ie