Rapturous reception for Limerick hurler Richie McCarthy in San Francisco

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Barry Doherty, Michael Clancy, Richie McCarthy, Barry O’Brien, Kildimo, Kevin Browne, Bruree and Tom Carroll, Caherline, at the banquet in San Francisco

Barry Doherty, Michael Clancy, Richie McCarthy, Barry O’Brien, Kildimo, Kevin Browne, Bruree and Tom Carroll, Caherline, at the banquet in San Francisco

LIMERICK hurler Richie McCarthy brought priceless silverware to San Francisco to help fund GAA facilities in Treasure Island.

The Kilfinane man was the guest of honour at the annual awards banquet for US based GAA players in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday night. Upwards of 400 people attended the gala event in the Spanish Cultural Centre on Alemany Boulevard.

Liam Reidy, who used to write the Broadford notes 30 years ago, was in attendance on Saturday night. His dad Tommie currently writes the notes.

“The last time Limerick people in San Francisco welcomed the Liam MacCarthy Cup was back in 1974 when Eamonn Grimes visited. Local Limerick Gaels came out in force to welcome Richie and the cup for the special evening for local GAA followers,” said Liam.

The father-of-four said Richie presented medals and awards.

“It was an honour to have Richie and the Liam MacCarthy in San Francisco for the weekend. All I can say is that Richie was a fantastic ambassador for his club, county and his country,” said Liam.

All proceeds will go to the San Francisco GAA Board and help maintain their wonderful playing facilities on Treasure Island.

“It costs $100,000 a year just to keep the fields watered,” said Liam, whose son Shane plays Gaelic football for the San Francisco U-14 team. The teenager was in Killarney last week to perform in the All-Ireland Irish dance championships.

Liam came over to America in June of 1997 to play hurling for Naomh Padraig and never left.

“Liam Keane from Castlemahon was the initial contact for me. His late brother Joe encouraged me to travel here to the west coast,” said Liam, who attended the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork during a holiday at home.

“I was lucky enough to be in Croke Park with my family. What a game to witness. It literally brought a tear to my eye,” said Liam, who watched the final at the Irish Centre. The same emotions experienced in Croke Park and across County Limerick were felt early in the morning in San Fran.

“It was nerve wracking but when Tom Condon caught the ball in the air, burst out the field and the final whistle blew it was euphoric to say the least! I was born in December 1973 and I grew up listening to the stories of the older Gaels in west Limerick talking about that 1973 win. I thought I’d never see them win an All-Ireland to be honest,” said Liam, who got to hold his namesake on Saturday thanks to Richie. The Blackrock GAA man flew to the east coast during the week and was the guest of honour at a fundraiser for The Hope Foundation on Wednesday night in New York.