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Donnelly hopes Poc Fada can mark GAA’s comeback this year

Donnelly hopes Poc Fada can mark GAA’s comeback this year

The long-time sponsor of the Poc Fada believes the competition is best placed to mark the return of GAA activity this summer.

Doubts surround if a Championship will go ahead this year despite encouraging words from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on last night’s Late Late Show that it could still happen in mid to late August or September.

However Martin Donnelly, the Clare man who has been sponsoring the Pic Fada for the last 25 years, believes the annual All-Ireland across the five-kilometre course on Annaverna could be a feasible way of reviving GAA action this year.

The annual event on the Cooley Mountains traditionally takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Donnelly told The Irish Examiner that with the benefit of television coverage and the use of drones, it could really capture the imagination.

“Things would obviously have to improve from a health and safety point of view but what better way to come back then by celebrating the very heritage of the game of hurling.

“It is an All-Ireland competition and it has had some famous winners like Brendan Cummins, Davy Fitzgerald and Ger Cunningham. The drones have been used a few times before and they could really add to the coverage of it.

“I truly hope it’s not the only GAA event to take place for the remainder of this year but as things stand it’s one of the safest that can.”

The competition celebrates its 60th anniversary this year having been founded by local priest Father Pól Mac Sheáin and Dundalk’s Naomh Moninne Hurling Club as a way of acknowledging the legend of Cú Chulainn in the area. The winner is deemed to be the person who has completed the course in the least number of pucks.

Read the full interview with Martin Donnelly here.

Pictured above: Brendan Cummins on his way to a ninth Poc Fada title on Annaverna in 2015. Picture credit: Pat McGinn