Sam Maguire Cup

Staunton's drawing of the 1928 Sam Maguire Cup
Matthew J. Staunton c.1910
Original 1928 Sam Maguire Cup

The Sam Maguire Cup, often referred to as Sam or The Sam (Irish: Corn Sam Mhic Uidhir), is the name of the cup that is awarded to winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, the premier "knockout" competition in the game of Gaelic football played in Ireland. The series of games are organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and are played during the summer months with the All-Ireland Football Final being played on the third or fourth Sunday in September in Croke Park, Dublin. The Sam Maguire Cup was first presented to the Kildare team in 1928 after defeating Cavan.[1]


The Cup is named after Sam Maguire, an influential figure in the London GAA and a former footballer.[2] A group of his friends formed a committee in Dublin under the chairmanship of Dr Pat McCartan from Carrickmore, County Tyrone, to raise funds for a permanent commemoration of his name. They decided on a cup to be presented to the GAA. The Association were proud to accept the Cup. At the time it cost £300. In today's terms that sum is equivalent to €25,392. The cup is modelled on the Ardagh Chalice and the commission to make it was given to Hopkins and Hopkins, a jewellers and watchmakers of O'Connell Bridge, Dublin.

The silver cup was crafted, on behalf of Hopkins and Hopkins, by the silversmith Matthew J. Staunton of D'Olier Street, Dublin. Maitiú Standun, Staunton’s son, confirmed in a letter printed in the Alive! newspaper in October 2003 that his father had indeed made the original Sam Magiure Cup back in 1928.

Matthew J. Staunton (1888–1966) came from a long line of silversmiths going back to the Huguenots, who brought their skills to Ireland in the 1600s. Matt, as he was known to his friends, served his time under the renowned Dublin silversmith, Edmond Johnson, who made the Liam MacCarthy Hurling Cup in 1921. The 1928 Sam Maguire Cup is a faithful copy of the Ardagh Chalice. The bowl was not spun on a spinning lathe but hand-beaten from a single flat piece of silver. Even though it is highly polished, multiple hammer marks are still visible today, indicating the manufacturing process.

Kildare was the first county to win the "Sam Maguire Cup" in 1928 after defeating Cavan 2-6 to 2-5. The original trophy was retired in 1988 as it had received some damage over the years. The GAA commissioned a replica from Kilkenny-based silversmith Desmond A. Byrne and the replica is the trophy that has been used ever since. The original Sam Maguire Cup is permanently on display in the GAA's museum at Croke Park. In 2010 the GAA asked the same silversmith to produce another replica of the trophy (the third Sam Maguire Cup) although this was to be used only for marketing purposes.[3] Meath's Joe Cassells was the first recipient of "Sam Óg". Meath have the distinction of being the last team to lift the old Sam Maguire and the first team to lift the new one following their back-to-back victories in 1987 & 1988.

Only Nine men have had the honour of being presented with the trophy twice as captain. They are; Joe Barrett (Kerry), Jimmy Murray (Roscommon), J. J. O'Reilly (Cavan), Seán Flanagan (Mayo), Enda Colleran (Galway), Tony Hanahoe (Dublin) Declan O'Sullivan (Kerry), Brian Dooher (Tyrone) and Stephen Cluxton (Dublin) being the only captain to lift it three times. Since the cup was first played for in the All Ireland final of 1928 Kerry have won it 30 times (7 All Ireland wins before 1928), far more than anyone else. Dublin are next with 10 (14 All Ireland wins before 1928). Galway have won it 9 times (1 All Ireland win before 1928), Meath 7 and Cork 5 (2 All Ireland wins before 1928).

Past winners

The Sam Maguire Cup was first presented to the winning team in 1928.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 Kenny, Tom (14 April 2011). "The men who first brought Sam to Galway". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 14 April 2011. In 1928, the Sam Maguire Trophy was presented to the GAA, and ever since, it has been the dream of every county in Ireland to hold it aloft in Croke Park on the third Sunday in September.
  2. Prendeville, Tom (22 August 2010). "GAA heroes died poor and alone". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  3. O’Connor, Colm (August 19, 2010). "All-Ireland replica trophies nearly ready". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
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