Only photo of the 'Champion of the US' T.J. O'Mahony presented to The GAA Museum

Only photo of the 'Champion of the US' T.J. O'Mahony presented to The GAA Museum

20th December 2011


The only known photograph of Irish ‘Champion of USA’ runner found and presented to GAA Museum 123 years later.

The only known photograph of one of the greatest Irish athletes of the pre-modern Olympic era, which was recently discovered in Kilkenny a remarkable 123 years after it was taken, was today officially handed over to the GAA Museum in Croke Park. T.J. O’Mahony, aka The Rosscarbery Steam Engine, from west Cork, was GAA Irish Champion in the quarter-mile (400 metres) in 1885, 1887 and 1888 and Irish Amateur Athletics Association (IAAA) champion in 1886, and became Champion of the USA on the GAA’s ‘Gaelic Invasion’ tour of the USA in 1888, when the some of the country’s finest hurlers and track and field athletes were dispatched to America to promote Gaelic sports. Turning to journalism after retiring from athletics, he died in Hendrick Lane, Smithfield, Dublin in 1914, aged just 50.

A memorial plaque unveiling and the first annual 5km run in his honour were held in his home town of Rosscarbery on October 1st last.

Pictured at the handing over ceremony in Croke Park today were (left to right --

Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh (former RTE commentator)

Mark Dorman (Director of The GAA Museum)

Paul O’Mahony (T.J. O’Mahony researcher and writer - no relation - and Head of Communications at Concern Worldwide),

Michael O’Sullivan (Chairman of Rosscarbery Community Council and President of Carbery Ranger GAA club),