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Sam Maguire Cup: Corn Mhig Uidhir              

The Sam Maguire Cup is awarded annually to the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

The cup is named after Cork man, Sam Maguire, who was instrumental in the GAA scene in London at the turn of the 20th century.  After Maguire’s death in 1927, a group of Sam Maguire’s friends commissioned a cup to commemorate the dedicated Gael, who had given a lifetime of service to the GAA.

The cup, which is modelled on the early Christian Ardagh Chalice, was crafted by silversmith Matthew Staunton on behalf of Hopkins and Hopkins of Dublin and cost £300.
The Sam Maguire Cup

The Sam Maguire Cup was presented to the GAA in 1928. Kildare were the first county to win the Sam Maguire Cup and captain William ‘Bill’ Gannon was the first man to ever lift it.  

In 1987, the original Sam Maguire Cup was retired - Meath’s Mick Lyons was the last Captain to receive it on All-Ireland Football Final day. Meath were also the first team to win the new replica Sam Maguire in 1988, when it was presented to their captain, Joe Cassells.
Mick Lyons, Meath - 1987

The replica Sam Maguire was hand crafted by Silversmith Desmond Byrne and took 500 hours to make and continues to be awarded annually to the All-Ireland Football champions.

The original Sam Maguire Cup resides permanently as part of the GAA Museum’s treasury of trophies.
Stephen Cluxton, Dublin - 2019

Who was Sam Maguire?

Sam Maguire was born in Dunmanway, County Cork in 1877.  On leaving school, he joined the Civil Service and was assigned to duty in London. There he grew in prominence – first in the GAA and later in the Irish Republican Brotherhood. 

He was an outstanding footballer and played in three All-Ireland Finals, in 1900, 1901 and 1903, captaining the London (Hibernians) team on the latter occasions, pictured below holding the ball. As his playing career came to an end, Sam Maguire devoted his energy to the legislative side of the Association.  He became a regular delegate to Annual Congress, chairman of the London County Board and, finally a trustee of Croke Park.
London Hibernian Team 1903

Sam Maguire also played a pivotal role in the Irish War of Independence, as he recruited Michael Collins into the republican movement in 1909. Maguire himself reached the rank of Major General and Chief Intelligence Officer of the Irish Republican Army in Britain.  During the War of Independence, all major Republican operations in Britain were largely under Maguire’s control.

On his return to Ireland in 1923, Sam Maguire took a job with the Irish Civil Service, but on 29th December 1924, he was summarily dismissed without pay from his post, having been accused of conspiring against the government and state services.

Sam Maguire passed away in his native Cork on 6th February 1927, after suffering from tuberculosis for a lengthy period.

At the GAA Museum, you can also see:

Sam Maguire’s Pocketwatch

To mark Sam Maguire’s transfer back to Ireland in 1923, a group of his fellow Gaels presented him with this gold pocketwatch, which is now on display in the GAA Museum

Captain’s Cup

This miniature replica of the Sam Maguire cup, was presented to Meath’s Peter McDermott, Captain of the All-Ireland winning team in 1954

Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks

The Sam Maguire Cup was listed as part of ‘Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks’, a collaboration between The Irish Times and the Royal Irish Academy, assessing a century of Irish creativity. A panel of experts chose a single Irish artwork for each year from 1916 to 2015.

View the video on the Sam Maguire Cup here on the Irish Times website.

Sam Maguire Fact File

1927The year that the Sam Maguire Cup was commissioned.
300The cost of the original cup.
16"The height of the original cup.
12 poundsThe weight of the original cup.
1928The year the Sam Maguire Cup was first presented. Kildare were the inaugural winners. William 'Bill' Gannon was the first captain to claim the cup.
1987The year the original Sam Maguire Cup was retired. Meath were the last winners. Mick Lyons was the final captain to life the original 'Sam'.
500 hoursThe length of time that it took the replica Sam Maguire Cup to be hand crafted by Silversmith Desmond Byrne.
1988The year the replica Sam Maguire Cup was first presented. Meath were the first winners. Joe Cassells was the first captain to lift the replica trophy.
16The number of different counties that have won the Sam Maguire Cup 1928 - 2019.
6The record number of times that the same captain (Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton) has lifted the Sam Maguire Cup. (1928 - 2019)
30The record number of times that one county (Kerry) has been presented with the Sam Maguire Cup (1928 - 2019).