By Damian McCarney
Cavan Post – TUESDAY 20 APRIL 2010
Everyone in Cavan knows who won the 1947 All-Ireland, most people know who we beat in the final, many know where this unique game was held, but few seemingly know why it was played there. A special match will be held in May in a bid to shed light on why Cavan’s victory over the mighty Kerry in New York’s Polo Grounds was held in the Big Apple all those years ago. “The significance of next month’s game is to remember the vision of the men of 1947 in Croke Park who sat down and said it would be a good idea to remember the famine victims,” Michael Blanch, chairman of Committee for the Commemoration of the Irish Famine victims (CCIFV) told the Post. “It was the 100 anniversary of Black ’47 and also to recognise America for taking in so many people.” Michael claims that even amongst fanatical football supporters the famine dimension of the historic match remains relatively unknown. “I spoke to a Galway man who had won three All-Irelands, he was a history teacher, and do you know he didn’t know why the final was held in New York?” said Dublin taxi driver Michael.
The event forms part of this year’s national Famine Memorial Day, taking place in Murrisk, Co Mayo. Each year an international city with a proud history of receiving Irish emigrants is ‘twinned’ to the national commemorations, and when New York was chosen for 2010, a recreation of the legendary game seemed an appropriate gesture. Organisers have designed special Cavan and Kerry jerseys and are hoping to get 32 players, representing the 32 counties to don the shirts and wear their native county socks and shorts and play in the community event. It is understood that President Mary McAleese will attend the event.
Michael also hopes to use the event to mark the recent passing of one of Cavan’s greatest ever footballers, Mick Higgins. “As Mick Higgins died this year, it could also be a testimony to his memory, the contribution he made to the GAA as a player, as a manager, as a trainer, and as a nice human being,” said Michael. A venue has yet to be confirmed for the event which will take place on May 23. Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Olivia Blanch on 087 9040 888 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org