Limerick county board chairman John Cregan has heaped praise on local business man JP McManus following on from his €3.2 million donation to all 32 county boards around the country recently.
In a letter sent to county secretaries, McManus detailed that the donation was for the continued development of GAA in the county and was to be split evenly between every club throughout the county.
When news broke in the weeks following on from Limerick’s historic All-Ireland triumph that McManus was donating €100,000 to every county board around the country, people throughout the country were left in amazement at the generosity of the gesture by McManus, a GAA man through and through.
“It was unprecedented in its nature,” Cregan said. “I’ve never heard of or come across anybody doing something like this in the past and it was a real surprise and fantastic boost for clubs to be able to get this and particularly in the manner he wanted it distributed evenly to every club and every county.
“This was an amazingly generous gesture on his behalf like to go outside his own county and to include everybody. There are many clubs struggling out there all of the time and they’re trying to get the few pound together with fundraising events they’re having and this is a great bonus for them and I think it should be taken in the spirit it was given because there was some little bits of criticism here and there.
“It’s also important to note that this is something JP McManus does every day of the week in the sense that when it’s not GAA it’s other very worthy and worthwhile charities, groups, organisations that are doing good work in their communities throughout the county in particular. That’s the kind of man he is.
“We’ve got massive feedback from clubs and counties throughout the country just expressing their thanks to JP McManus and his family for this wonderful gesture.”
In terms of the breakdown for clubs in Limerick, the money will be split evenly between the 65 clubs around the county with each club garnering in the region of €1,500 each which will come as a huge boost to each and every one of them.
Cregan confirmed that the money has been distributed to clubs around the county in the last few days and also added that county boards around the country will be reverting back to JP advising how their money has been distributed and how much clubs have received.
McManus, who has sponsored Limerick’s flagship GAA teams since the mid 00’s saw years of financial backing come to fruition in August of this year as John Kiely’s Limerick senior hurlers defeated Galway to claim the counties first All-Ireland title in 45-years, just rewards for all he has done for the county according to Cregan.
“He’s been very supportive of Limerick GAA for a number of years. This man is steeped in GAA like and he has a fantastic passion for it. He experienced an awful lot of good will on the back of Limerick’s win, as did all of us from all over the country and further afield,” he said.
“Both JP and ourselves (county board) have remarked on a number of occasions of how gracious Galway were in defeat. They were most gracious and I think that really struck a chord with JP, he mentioned that to me on more than one occasion since the All-Ireland final how gracious Galway players and their supporters were.
“We also have to remember the likes of JP and Pat McDonagh (owner of Supermacs), all the very bad years that they experienced in a sense that victories weren’t coming, championship games weren’t being won and they were still ploughing away and they were still investing, supporting their native counties.
“Obviously then when you do win it’s a fantastic achievement from them because they can feel that they have made a contribution and certainly in our case it really made a huge difference to JP, he was thrilled with the victory,” he added.
With the developments in GAA and the ultra-professional approach required to succeed nowadays, funding is becoming sought after more and more to cover the costs required to back inter-county teams and set-ups.
In that regard, the Limerick county board are hugely grateful to JP for his continued support, which played no small part in the Treaty men’s success in Croke Park in August.
“The way the game has gone particularly in the whole area of preparation, you’re obviously raising the cost of it as well you know and you need somebody like JP that you know you have their support and you try and do things right to ensure you get the greatest benefit from the financial support they’re coming forward with like.
“We try to do that at all times with Limerick, like. His contribution to us would have been integral in the whole journey and then the victory obviously subsequently.
“We had a lot of lean years like but his support to us was hugely important in the sense that we built a management team that worked very professionally.
“There was an awful lot of ingredients and there was an awful lot of different things you can point at that contributed to the success like and at the end of the day you have to be able to keep the lights on and pay for it like and we’re very grateful that we were in a position to do that like and without his support we wouldn’t be in a position to do that.”