The Liam McCarthy Cup:
Cup Commemorates A Famous London G.A.A. President Who Parents Came From Ballygarvan, Co. Cork and Bruff, Co. Limerick
Name: Liam McCarthy Born: 21st May 1853 Died: East Dulwich, London 1928
Place Of Birth: Southwark, London, England
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Father: Eoghan McCarthy - born Ballygarvan, Co. Cork
Mother: Brigid Dineen - born Bruff, Co. Limerick
Family: 4 Sons - William; Edward; Francis; Eugene
Boyhood: Liam's parents were evicted from their quayside dilapidated Cork city home for non payment of rent and the young couple set out for England. Although London born, Liam inherited a deep passion for Ireland and the family only spoke Irish in the home.
Nationalism: His father ensured that their Irish roots would never be forgotten or misplaced in society and this inevitably isolated the families welfare who were regularly frowned upon as Paddies in London.
The formative years of his life were tough and money was hard come by and like many young people of the 19th century, Liam was sent to work on the railways at fifteen and he also worked as a Blacksmiths helper.
After travelling all over English railways for some years, romance blossomed for the young Londoner when he met his wife Alice and they soon settled down to married life in London.
Marriage brought Liam into the packaging trade of his wife's family packaging business and he soon established himself as a natural businessman in the company.
By now Liam was active in republican circles for the struggle for Irish freedom and his acquaintances around London, were Michael Collins and Sam Maguire. Both Corkmen were active in gaelic games and played regularly for the London senior football team and it was natural that Liam McCarthy should join G.A.A. ranks as an administrator.
Following Michael Cusack's 1884 G.A.A. foundation, the man to steer and pioneeer gaelic games in England, would be Liam McCarthy and he became the first President of the British Gaelic Games Council, a position he served for ten years.
Liam McCarthy Cup:
He set up his own Packaging company called St. Brigid's Works manufacturing trendy cardboard gift boxes. His success in the packaging industry and in his own new venture began to thrive soon after and this enabled Liam to devote more time to the G.A.A. and to the Irish cause.
He invested great sums of his own money in G.A.A. affairs in Britain and made numerous trips across the Irish sea to meet up with Michael Collins and a host of Irish based G.A.A. officials.
In 1922 Liam McCarthy presented the G.A.A. with a trophy which cost £50 from Edmond Johnson Ltd. of 94, Grafton Street, Dublin and it was left to the officials to decide which competition should benefit.
The All Ireland senior hurling championship was still in its infancy without a major trophy and it was the home county of his mother, Limerick, who won the inaugural 1921 championship, played at Croke Park, on Sunday 4th March 1923.
Living in London as a Londoner and with a huge Irish heritage from his parents, and as a successful businessman, Liam McCarthy also became a leader in London's Irish community and was elected a councilor for Peckham's North Ward.
As Chairman of the London G.A.A. Board, Liam had Michael Collins and Sam Maguire also as members of the Board.
In political life and despite his advanced years, he joined the London branch of the Irish Volunteers and along with his sons he was allegedly a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
The early 20th century was a difficult time to be Irish in Britain and joining outlawed political establishments was frowned upon.
In 1915, Britain introduced conscription. A crisis meeting of the London branch of the Irish Volunteers was held at his home in East Dulwich to discuss conscription. As a Community Councillor Liam McCarthy could not publicly advise Irishmen to avoid conscription but in response to a question by Michael Collins he said, "If you come from Clonakilty, it is obvious where you must go" – that would imply – return to Ireland where conscription was not in force.
Ironically on Liam's death, the G.A.A. did not advance his noble G.A.A. deeds and permitted this historic gael to lay in an unmarked London grave for over seventy years. Liam had four sons from his marriage to Alice but his departure from the G.A.A. was not regrettably as harmonious as he would have desired.
The original cup was replaced in 1992. The Liam McCarthy Cup was first presented by the donor himself on March 4th 1923 to the captain of Limerick (his mother's county) as 1921 All Ireland champions Limerick defeated Dublin by 8 - 5 to 3 - 2 in the All Ireland final.
A replica Liam McCarthy Cup was presented in 1992 to Kilkenny captain, Liam Fennelly, after defeating Cork in the final.