STARS from across the sporting world were among over 3,000 people who turned out at Staker Wallace GAA club grounds to mark the official opening of the state-of-the-art facility.
Hosted by JP McManus and the local club, the official opening also coincided with the 40th anniversary of Limerick’s last All-Ireland senior hurling victory in 1973.
Guests in attendance on Sunday evening included GAA president, Liam O’Neill, commentator Micheal O’Muircheartaigh, both the Limerick and Kilkenny teams of ‘73, rugby legend Keith Wood, horse trainer Aidan O’Brien, former Tipperary hurler Nicky English, and the oldest Limerick man to to hold an All-Ireland senior hurling medal, Tommy Cooke who will celebrate his 99th birthday in August.
The injured Kilkenny star Henry Shefflin also made the trip to the Kilbreedy grounds outside Kilmallock to see his side take on Limerick in a pre-championship challenge.
Limerick were victorious on a scoreline of 1.25 to 1.20.
Following the game, 340 guests were treated to a three-course meal inside the clubhouse, courtesy of JP McManus.
As guests took their seats at their tables, fond memories of ‘73 were reignited as footage of the famous All-Ireland win was played on a giant screen.
Addressing the Limerick team of ‘73, Mr McManus said: “It’s great to have you with us tonight. Looking at the match brought back some great memories.”
He also thanked the reigning All-Ireland champions, Kilkenny, for making the journey to the Staker Wallace club grounds.
“We have so much respect for this Kilkenny team – on the field, off the field. Ye are are credit to the game and a credit to the organisation.”
To the Limerick team of today, 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.”
Mr McManus complimented the Staker Wallace club for their efforts in ensuring that everybody was well looked after at the function.
“Full marks,” he said.” I take a lot of pride in the way you had the parish looking the way it is. It is a credit to you all.”
For full story and photos see the weekend edition of the Limerick Leader.