The 2018 Croke Park Charity Challenge took place on Tuesday in Croke Park and was followed by a star-studded gala dinner in the stadium. Perhaps most importantly it enabled Mayo to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand to claim a trophy.
Well-known figures from the worlds of sport, business and politics took the opportunity to run out onto the pitch and in some cases even score a point into the Hill 16 end.
The purpose of the event was to raise money for Self Help Africa and it succeeded in that to the tune of €220,000.
“I’m delighted to see such a strong turnout today in support of this year’s Croke Park Charity Challenge,” said organiser Alan Kerins who spoke recently at the Sport for Business Sport for Social Good Conference.
“It is a fantastic occasion in aid of a great cause and the support received from individuals and organisations in the spheres of Irish business and politics has been heart-warming.”
“It goes without saying the GAA are like a family, and I’ve been blown away by the level of support I’ve received from the GAA community.”
“Proceeds from the event will support the African projects of Irish-based international development organisation Self Help Africa, including projects that I have been supporting in Zambia for more than a decade.”
The event saw fans, former players and members of the media line out for a Cork team managed by Rebels legend Billy Morgan and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and a Mayo team managed by current TD John O’Mahoney and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Among the well-known faces lining out were A.P. McCoy, Kieran Donaghy, Dean Rock, Luke Fitzgerald, Michael Daragh McAuley, Cora Staunton, Sonia O’Sullivan and Seán Óg O’hAilpín, among many others.
There was a strong corporate presence as well with backers of the event including Corrib Oil, Fáilte Ireland, McKeever Sports, Devitts, Diageo, Off The Ball, and Teneo.
“We were delighted once again to be sponsoring the great work done by Alan Kerins and Self Help Africa. It’s very satisfying for us to know that our financial contribution is making a difference in the lives of those who need it,” said Eugene Dalton, CEO of Corrib Oil.
Really enjoyable day at #crokeparkchallenge #GAA thanks to @alankerins and @selfhelpafrica got to run out with these legends @Deanrock14 @AIDOXI @starryboy14 @soniaagrith @Flinto23 #Djcarey #MícheálÓMuircheartaigh pic.twitter.com/yvXHG7rbL2
— AP McCoy (@AP_McCoy) October 23, 2018
Great day in @CrokePark for @selfhelpafrica well done @alankerins @paulbyrnesmedia & all the team for organising such a fantastic event. A brilliant day ends with Mayo lifting a cup in the hogan stand! #thecurseisover #CrokeParkChallenge pic.twitter.com/4AvyVEbqKM
— Jacqui Hurley (@jacquihurley) October 23, 2018
— Brendan Griffin (@BGriffinTD) October 23, 2018