LIMERICK’S most celebrated racehorse owner, JP McManus, will be hoping his county’s pedigree shines through this Sunday.
Mr McManus who is the main sponsor of the county’s GAA teams through the Sporting Limerick brand will attend the Munster final with his wife Noreen and their family.
Since he was named the official sponsor back in 2004, the devoted GAA supporter has injected millions into the development of Gaelic games in the county - including €5m towards the redevelopment of the Gaelic Grounds.
“JP has been very good to the county board and we are very appreciative,” commented Mike O’Riordan, secretary of the county board this week. “There is no other county in the country that has a sponsor like him. We are very appreciative to the staff at Martinstown Stud for their courtesy towards us over the last number of years,” he added.
Speaking last May at the official opening of the Staker Wallace grounds, Mr McManus said his greatest wish is for the county to finally end their All-Ireland senior hurling championship famine which dates back to 1973.
Speaking after footage of that famous day was played inside the clubhouse, Mr McManus said: “The Limerick lads [1973 team] – ye have been my heroes for far too long.”
To the Limerick team of today - who saw off the challenge of Kilkenny on the night - he offered these words of encouragement: “We have great hopes and great aspirations for you and we saw tonight a little bit of what can be done. Ye were great out there tonight.”
A native of Ballysheedy, Mr McManus was one of the youngest ever chairmen of his local club, South Liberties.
He famously named one of his horses after his South Liberties clubman, captain of the all-conquoring ‘73 team, Eamonn Grimes.
Mr McManus’ younger brother, Gerry, has also played an instrumental role in the development of Gaelic games in the county, investing heavily in the promotion of hurling and football at underage and minor level.
The brothers will undoubtedly be hoping both the minor and senior teams are in the winners’ enclosure on Sunday afternoon.