Galway legend’s medals and memorabilia to go under the hammer

A forgotten Galway legend’s medals and memorabilia will go under the hammer next Monday in Kilkenny.

Leonard McGrath who was born in Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia, clinched a senior medal for Galway in the county’s first hurling All-Ireland final in 1923 playing at full forward and in the county’s All-Ireland Football success in 1925.

His dual code achievements have been matched by only 16 others in the history of the GAA and he is the only Galway man to do so.

The unique collection which is estimated to be worth between €15,000 and €20,000 which his descendants have held since his death, are up for auction as part of a timed online auction from Monday, April 27 to May 5 with Fonsie Mealy auctioneers which is based in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny.

Auction director George Mealy said; “He was a true all-rounder on and off the field and he really is a forgotten member of Irish sport. His life has become a lost story. His life tale doesn’t get more uplifting that this.

“Leonard achieved it all - he truly was a sports giant before we had the likes of rugby giants prior to Karl Mullen and Brian O’Driscoll, hurling and football heroes such as Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin and Bernard Brogan of Dublin.”

As a young boy, McGrath returned to his parents’ native land and was reared in Galway, qualifying as a teacher in 1918 at St. Patrick’s College.

He also played rugby where he was a member of the Galwegians side who claimed the Connacht Senior Cup in 1926-27, defeating UCG in the final.

However, his exploits in the oval ball game resulted in his being expelled from the GAA for playing a “foreign sport”.

McGrath also excelled in golf and cricket and was a highly regarded singer and participated in many Feis Ceoils and other singing competitions.

Auction director George Mealy said Leonard McGrath was a true all-rounder on and off the field, and he really is a forgotten member of Irish sport. His life has become a lost story. His life tale doesn’t get more uplifting that this.

“Leonard achieved it all - he truly was a sports giant before we had the likes of rugby giants prior to Karl Mullen and Brian O’Driscoll, hurling and football heroes such as Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin and Bernard Brogan of Dublin.”

Other interesting lots on the online auction include a highly important IRA Army Council Archive dating from 1924 to 1925 and 1929 and 1931. Lot 274 which has a guide price of €1,500 is a central file of documents sent to and issued by the IRA’s Chief of Staff, who for much of the period covered was Moss (Maurice ) Twomey.

A large collection of Republican postcards which include images of Roger Casement, Countess Constance Markievicz, Pádraig Pearse, and Thomas MacDonagh worth up to €700

Lot 238 is from the De Lorean Motor Company Belfast and comprises two large ‘blue-prints’ for sections of the factory and associated facilities, by Brodie & Hawthorn, Architects, Belfast 1979.

The De Lorean Company, was not a commercial success, and material connected with the company is scarce. The car is famous from its exposure in the futuristic movie trilogy, Back to the Future, and is guiding at €300

For whiskey lovers, lot 415, the Irish, Green Spot, from John Jameson & Son, Old Irish Whiskey. Distilled at Jameson’s Bow Street Distillery and bottled at 10-years old by Mitchell & Son, in Dublin in the 1950s guiding at €1,250 to €1,750.

 

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