Roses Kick off Charity Auction of World’s Most Famous GAA Jersey in Aid of CRY.

Roses Kick off Charity Auction of World’s Most Famous GAA Jersey in Aid of CRY.

Presenter, Dáithí Ó Sé and contestants from the 2014 Rose of Tralee International Festival teamed up with Kerryman Mike Griffin and his famous Na Gaeil Football jersey ahead of a charity auction for CRY Ireland which will be held later this month.

On the opening day of the celebrated Rose of Tralee International Festival, which runs until Tuesday, August 19th, presenter Dáithí Ó Sé donned the now world famous jersey which has not only been touched by the ‘hand of God’ Diego Maradona – but 23 of the world’s most famous footballers past and present.

Mike Griffin, a 25 year old teacher from Tralee Co Kerry has been the focus of plenty of attention already this summer having travelled to Brazil for the World Cup and acquired the signatures of some of the most famous names in football on a Tralee Na Gaeil GAA jersey he brought with him.

He travelled to media centres, training grounds and hotels sometimes taking long taxi drives to remote locations, waiting for hours just to get the opportunity of presenting the jersey for the elusive signature.

By the end of the World Cup some of the most famous players and personalities in the game had signed the jersey including five World Cup winners, two winning captains Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro, and the Brazilian legend Zico. The current German star Mesult Ozil signed the jersey after the World Cup Final in the Maracana Stadium with his World Cup medal around his neck.

Now Mike has decided to generously auction off his most prized possession in an upcoming online charity auction later this month to raise funds for Sudden Adult Death Syndrome charity Cry (Cardiac Risk in the Young) and he chose the Rose of Tralee Festival to announce his charity endeavour.

Mike has chosen CRY which supports families who have lost loved ones to Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome because he is both a teacher who works with young people and he coaches the underage Na Gaeil team.

At least one young person per week dies from sudden cardiac death or Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome in Ireland. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people in Ireland carry genes for inherited heart disease, more often than not unknowingly.

CRY Ireland was set up by Michael and Marie Greene who lost their teenage son Peter to the condition and a centre for Cardio- vascular Risk in Young Persons was set up in Tallaght Hospital in 2007, which is supported by CRY.

Mike is in the process of organising an online auction which he hopes to raise up to €20,000 for the charity.

“After considering a number of charities I decided to choose CRY as it is small and receives no direct government funding and yet does mammoth work screening and supporting families who have lost young people in such a sudden and heart breaking way. The jersey is an item of World Cup memorabilia that will attract attention on the wall of any public place. What’s even more important is that the funds raised from the sale could save a young sportsperson’s life,” he said. The Executive Chairman of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Anthony O’Gara, said: “Michael is an extraordinary young man. The creativity and dogged determination required to bring his initiative to fruition was immense and says a lot about his character. Most people would have held onto the jersey or sold it for personal gain and Michael’s generosity of spirit deserves tremendous credit.”

Michael Greene of CRY Ireland said: “Mike’s story is just such a happy and inspiring one and we are honoured that he has chosen CRY as his charity of choice. Monies raised by the auction will go towards supporting CRY’s free screening service in Tallaght Hospital and directly helps to save lives. Funds will also go towards providing support to family members who have lost someone to SADS.”

Editor’s Notes:

Sudden Cardiac Death Info:

  • An estimated  60-80 people aged 1-35 years die of SCD every year in Ireland
  • SCD may occur because of underlying heart muscle abnormality, electrical disorders, or other structural problems
  • In approximately half the cases the cause may be inherited – close relatives may have a 1 in 2 chance of inheriting the same condition and may also be at risk
  • Conditions that cause SCD cannot be cured, but if diagnosed risk of death can be significantly reduced
  • Best treatment of those potentially at risk includes expert assessment, access to genetic testing and psychological support and counselling – the CRYP Centre is the only clinic in the country that provides a complete service, and it is free to patient regardless of where they live.
  • Almost 1,500 patients can be seen each year in the CRYP Centre.


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