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PLAQUE MARKS GAA FOUNDER'S MARRIAGE

A PLAQUE to commemorate the marriage of GAA founder Michael Cusack has been unveiled at Ballela Gaelic Club.

The event was attended by grand-nieces of Michael and Margaret Cusack on Friday and culminated in a talk entitled 'The Cusack Connection': about the founder of the GAA and his links to the Woods family of Dromore at the Newry Arts Centre.

Michael Cusack founded the Gaelic Athletic Association at Hayes' Hotel, Thurles on November 1 1884 and became the organisation's first Secretary.

He had earlier taught at St Colman's College, Newry and was married to Dromore native Margaret Woods in 1876.

His legacy lives on through a number of clubs which have been named after him and, of course, the famous Cusack Stand at Croke Park.

The plaque was unveiled as part of the GAA's 125th anniversary celebrations which have been ongoing throughout 2009.

Following on from the successful Schools Day and L na gClub in April and May, further plans for the 125th Anniversary year include the Down 125 Dinner in November, which will be attended by GAA President Christy Cooney; an enhanced county final day which took place on Sunday and a special Book of Photographs.

Friday's events began the County Final weekend in Down, which culminated with the senior football decider in Newry on Sunday and a parade of local clubs led by the Artane Boys' Band.

The chairman of the Down 125 Committee, John Devaney, noted the importance of celebrating the county's link to the GAA's founding father.

"We are proud of the way the Association has grown and developed to become the foremost organisation of its kind in Down and across the country," he said. "We owe our place in Irish society to the ambitions of the founding fathers who perhaps could not have imagined what the GAA would become.

"Michael Cusack is an iconic figure within Cumann Lthchleas Gael, and his strong links to Co Down is something we are proud of. In a year that celebrates the milestone of 125, we felt it appropriate to honour that connection."

 
 
 

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