The GAA knows a thing or two about the importance of the past as well as the present, and while sport tends to live primarily in the ‘now’ then is so much to shape that from what has gone before.
History happens every minute of every day and often becomes so in the blink of an eye.
So it is with the GAA Museum which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary and has unveiled a programme of activities to mark the special milestone.
When it first opened its doors under the new Cusack Stand in 1998 the Good Friday Agreement had just been signed and the punt consigned to history.
TV3 had just come into being and Offaly and Galway, Kilkenny and Waterford were to be All Ireland Champions across the four main codes of Gaelic Games.
They are the moments of a new annual exhibition looking back over the past 20 years, including the staging of the Special Olympics World Games and the opening up to international rugby and soccer.
The shirt worn by the first soccer goalscorer is part of the new collection. Can you remember who that was? The answer is at the bottom of the story.
“I’m delighted to officially open the ’20 Years’ exhibition here at the GAA Museum,” said GAA President John Horan. “It’s a remarkable achievement to reach the 20 Year mark and this new collection is the perfect way to commemorate the journey so far. It also serves as a launch pad for a fantastic season of celebratory events which we are all very much looking forward to.”
“I’d encourage all sports fans to visit the GAA Museum on this very special year and take time to experience this exhibition. I wish the team at the GAA Museum the best of luck with their anniversary programme which I’m sure will attract big crowds over the summer months and beyond.”
GAA Museum- 20 Years is curated by GAA Museum curator Joanne Clarke and is housed on the ground floor of the GAA Museum under Croke Park’s Cusack Stand. It will run until May 2019. Entry to the exhibition is included with tickets purchased for Croke Park Stadium Tours, Ericsson Skyline Tours or the GAA Museum.
Full details of the GAA Museum 20 programme of events can be found at www.crokepark.ie/gaamuseum20. Highlights include a free family evening, a photography competition, a midsummer performance and plenty more.
Oh, and the answer to who scored the first ever soccer goal at Croke Park, it was the appropriately named Stephen Ireland.
Join us later in the month for a special interview with Museum Curator Joanne Clarke ahead of the Annual GAA Summer Scool on June 30th.
Image Credit: Sam Barnes, Sportsfile