Carrying Jimmy's coffin at his funeral were Tipperary footballers, Liam Mc Grath, Philip Austin, George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers), Gerry Fitzgerald, Mia Dean, Ger Fitzpatrick PICTURE: PJ WRIGHT
The friends of Jimmy Cunningham came together to organise a benefit night for him recently.
Jimmy, who served as masseur for the Tipperary football teams for many years was diagnosed with leukaemia in late 2018 and as a result until a short time ago was undergoing treatment for the condition.
The idea of the benefit night was to help with ongoing medical costs and to relieve pressure on Jimmy’s family with a benefit game, organised for St Cronan's Park Roscrea on Saturday May 25 at 6pm which will be followed by refreshments, music and a monster auction in Phelan's Market House Roscrea after the game.
Items on the night to be auctioned include signed jerseys from the Tipperary hurling and football teams, signed Munster and Leinster rugby jerseys and a signed Sydney Swans jersey kindly donated by Colin O'Riordan, a good friend of Jimmy's down through the years along with trailers of timber and turf to name just a few things.
Sadly, Jimmy went to his eternal reward late on Thursday, May 9, and never got the chance to attend the benefit night.
With the good will that had been shown by people far and wide from all corners of the world the committee took the decision to continue with the benefit fund to help the family through these difficult times and the benefit night will now also be a celebration of Jimmy's life.
The term ‘great Gael’ is often used loosely in GAA circles but it's fair to say Jimmy can be put into this bracket.
Jimmy gave a lifetime of service to both Roscrea and Inane Rovers GAA Clubs in playing, administrative and coaching roles.
Jimmy was part of the Tipperary team beaten in the 1975 Munster Minor Hurling final by Cork but they later avenged that defeat by beating Cork in the 1978 Munster U-21 Final.
Jimmy served in later years as masseur for the Tipperary football teams and was involved in the backroom team when Tipperary won an historic first Munster U-21 Football title defeating Kerry in Tralee in 2010 and again in 2015 when they where controversially beaten by Tyrone, a game Jimmy always maintained Tipp should have won.
One of his proudest days with Tipperary was when they defeated Dublin in the 2011 All-Ireland Minor Football and Liam McGrath lifted the Tom Markham Cup. Indeed the special bond between Jimmy and Liam was clear to be seen as Liam helped carry Jimmy's coffin to his final resting place.
The night of May 25 promises to be a fun filled evening and a celebration of Jimmy's life with Jimmy having served with numerous teams both inside and outside the county and highly respected by all those who had the pleasure of working alongside him down through the years. Players and management from all these teams will be in attendance on the night. The response so far has been phenomenal and the support shown is a real comfort to all his family. Tickets are €10 and are on sale from committee members, pubs in Roscrea and various GAA clubs across the county. Tickets can also be purchased on the evening outside the grounds but please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Readers also can donate online at gofundme.com (jimmy cunningham benefit fund).