Cork hurling icon Donal Og Cusack promotes Irish-US Gaelic Heritage Awards in New York

GAA icon Donal Og Cusack talks to New York City speaker Christine Quinn

Cork hurling icon and chairman of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) Donal Og Cusack is in New York this week to promote the GPA’s inaugural Irish-US Gaelic Heritage Awards Gala on November 15.

The Gala Night, sponsored by global independent advisory firm Teneo Holdings, will honour US corporate champion of Ireland Don Keough and Cusack, three-time All-Ireland medal winner and author of the ground-breaking sports biography Come What May, sees the GPA’s forthcoming event as major departure for the players’ association.

“We are deeply grateful to be in a position to salute a person of the calibre of Don Keough and it is a wonderful opportunity for the Gaelic Players Association to promote our organisation by celebrating our shared heritage in this way,” said Cusack.

“The 2011 and 2012 GAA/GPA Football All-Star teams, some of our Ireland’s most wonderful athletes and sporting ambassadors, will be present on the night and it promises to be a unique and very special occasion.

“Myself and our chief executive Dessie Farrell were privileged to meet with Don Keough in Dublin on the weekend of the All-Ireland hurling final and we were both deeply moved by the experience, particularly by the generous advice which he shared with us.

The Gaelic Players Association represents over 2,500 current players making it one of the largest player associations in the world. Formally recognized as the county players’ representative body in 2010, the GPA is supported centrally by the GAA but faces the challenge of meeting rapidly escalating demands on the Programs it provides for players.

“The Awards Night is a new departure for the GPA as we are promoting the work we do at a completely different level and to a new audience,” added Cusack. “We believe passionately that the Player Development Program, operated by the GPA on behalf of the county hurlers and footballers of Ireland, is critical to the future health of Gaelic games.

“By increasing awareness of our games and our players we can help potential supporters to understand this important message. Gaelic games and the GAA are of monumental importance to Irish society and a successful county tier sustains the wider Association.

“However, the challenge for the GPA is ensuring that the Program can continue to meet the growing demand for services from our amateur players which is why we are hoping to generate the support of donors here in the US.

“It is hugely encouraging to see the support our work is receiving in America to date and we are indebted to our Advisory Board based in New York and our Dinner Committee chaired by Declan Kelly.”

Cusack will be a guest at tomorrow (Thurs) night’s Wall St 50 Banquet recognizing the outstanding accomplishments and success of the best and the brightest Irish-American and Irish-born leaders of the financial industry.

The GPA’s Ireland-US Gaelic Heritage Awards and Dinner Gala sponsored by Teneo will take place in the Marriott Marquis New York on Thursday November 15. For more information see www.gaelicplayers.com or contact Carla Capone at gpa@carlacapone.com.

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