Limerick star Sean Finn shows the Liam MacCarthy cup to Colm Cleary, Ben Corbett, Sean Mulcahy and Liam Boyle, Bruff GAA club Picture: Keith Wiseman
LIMERICK’S incredible All-Ireland victory has still not sunk in for the people of Bruff.
Well over a thousand people turned out for the village’s celebrations this Tuesday evening, in what was a true homecoming for the Liam MacCarthy cup.
MacCarthy’s mother, Bridget Dineen, hailed from Bruff, and the cup was carried up Crawford Street past the family’s ancestral home during the celebrations.
County players Sean Finn and Paul Browne were joined by some local members of the backroom team, all of whom played their part in making Limerick’s dreams come true.
The team doctor, Dr James Ryan, sideline assistant Alan Feely, and Denis Barrett, selector for the 1973 winning Limerick team, are all proudly from Bruff.
And Limerick coach Alan Cunningham was there with his mother Mary Hogan who is from Camass, Bruff, as well as kitman Ger O’Connell, who is from Pallasgreen.
“It went fantastically well, there was a fine crowd, much bigger than we expected,” said Tom Bulfin, MC for the event. “People waited so patiently throughout the evening with young kids.”
And little Caoimhe Smith was probably the youngest of them. At just six weeks old, she was the perfect size to perch inside the MacCarthy cup with her parents Seán and Nicola and brother Cian looking on.
“Davy Ryan sang his song, Limerick Pride, and the two boys were very well-received, they are great lads and they are great role models,” said Tom.
“They would be very highly thought of not only within the county, but as great club men as well. They’re both exceptionally good with the kids. They have a great maturity about them.”
Club chairman Maurice Hehir summed up the sentiment in the parish with a joyous message to fellow club members after the homecoming.
“Well what a night, what a 10 days, what a year so far!
“We have a great club with great people in it, and we can and we will achieve great success together.”
Sean’s father Brian Finn and Paul’s father Michael Browne were schoolboys in ‘73 when the MacCarthy cup last came to Bruff. They could very clearly remember the day, and were overjoyed to see it at the time.
Little did they know, the next time the cup would come to Bruff, it would be in the arms of their sons.
“The win has meant nearly more to the fathers and the families than for the lads themselves – they are very grounded. It doesn’t seem to have sunk in,” said Tom.
On Wednesday morning, the Bruff contingent visited the Carebright facility and their past-primary school, Scoil Dean Cussen.
Added Tom Bulfin: “That’s the beauty of the GAA, it’s the continuity and the community. Even if the All-Ireland wasn’t won and there was heartbreak and defeat, the GAA would keep going as it has done through plenty of bad times as well as successes.”