THE FRIENDS of Limerick ‘73 have got all 21 signatures of the 1973 All-Ireland winning panel in just two weeks ready for the launch on Saturday.
Limerick hurling fanatic John Franklin, Knockane, came up with the initiative to celebrate the men 40 years after they brought the Liam McCarthy home.
He got three replica jerseys from Retro GAA and three hurleys from Niall Maher, Doon.
Two jerseys and two hurleys will be raffled while the remaining will be auctioned to the highest bidder.
All the proceeds will go to the Daughters of Charity in Lisnagry, MS Limerick and Milford Hospice.
The only concern John and the committee had was tracking down Andy Dunworth - a sub forward in 1973 - who is working in America.
John put out an appeal in a story about the project in the Leader two weeks ago. After reading the piece Andy’s sister-in-law, Mary Dunworth, from Banogue, got in touch with John.
“Thanks to Mary we got Andy’s signature and were able to transfer it on to the jersey so we have the full set now. We started with Seamus Horgan in Tournafulla and the last person was Eamonn Rea in Dublin. He had about 16 Limerick men when we arrived in his Parkgate Street pub last week. It was a great night.
“Meeting all the lads over the last few weeks, reminiscing about 1973 and hearing the old stories was brilliant,” said John.
Now they have the jerseys and hurleys signed they are ready to have the launch from 8.30pm on Saturday night, February 23, start selling raffle tickets at €2 a line and beginning the auction.
Fittingly it will be held in Moore’s pub - proprietor, Anna Moore, is a sister of corner-back in 1973, Willie.
Since John started Friends of Limerick ‘73 there has been a huge reaction.
“We were at a match the other day and everyone was asking us when they can start buying tickets. We’ll be selling them at matches too beginning with the game against Antrim in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday and the other nights,” said John.
After the launch they are holding six other events where fans will be able to bid for the signed jersey and hurley.
A quiz in the Idler Bar in Knockane on March 2; a cake sale in the old library in Doon on March 31; a “brain of Limerick” quiz in the Woodlands Hotel on April 4; quiz in Ahern’s Bar, Kilteely on April 13; 5km run/walk in Knockane on April 27, culminating with the final auction and raffle result in Kilteely on June 7.
“At every function we will take bids on the jersey and on the hurley. If you are in Doon on Saturday night and you bid the highest we will get you to sign a piece of piece of paper of what you bid.
“That bid will continue then on to the next event and we will start from that amount. It will culminate then on the final night in Kilteely. We should have a great auction on the final night,” said John.
Since they started getting the ball rolling other parties have got involved. Photographer Michael Martin has many shots he took in Croke Park in 1973 that have never been seen before that he will put together.
And Donie O’Mahony - uncle of current star Gavin - of Thomas Street Framing has offered to frame the jerseys.
“It has just taken off. It’s amazing,” said John, who came up with the idea after travelling to pay his respects at Páidí Ó Sé’s grave with son Jack and friends Danny Beary, Pallasgreen, and Tom O’Dwyer, Doon.
“We were saying how sad it was that he had passed away at such a young age and how all the Limerick heroes from 1973 are all alive,” explained John.