Treasures of Lár na Páirce No. 15

Argentine Hurling Trophy

One of the unusual treasures of Lár na Páirce is a hurling trophy from Argentina. It’s a substantial object with the name Copa Victor Migues on it. The trophy is thirty-one inches in height and is made of silver. There is a removable lid on the cup, with a laurel wreath protruding from the lid. The cup is decorated in places with a laurel leaf motif. It was played for when the game of hurling flourished among the Irish immigrants to Argentine during the twenties and thirties.
The Irish began arriving there in the early part of the 19th century and as well as getting involved in sheep herding and meat processing, the immigrants, who hailed predominantly from Westmeath, Longford and Wexford, played hurling in their spare time. The first official game was played in 1900 between two districts in the city of Buenos Aires. The number of players was only nine aside because of the shortage of hurleys. The game developed up to World War 1, when there was a falling off because of the difficulty of getting hurleys from Ireland. An attempt was made to produce hurleys from Argentinian mountain ash but they weren’t satisfactory. The game revived again after the war and during the twenties and thirties, the game flourished. As many as six teams existed and a championship of sorts was started. To help the competition, Dr. Victory Miguez, a friend of the Irish, who was married to a Westmeath woman, put up a trophy.
William McGrath from Cahir, Co. Tipperary went to Argentina in 1928 and became involved in the game. In the course of time his team won the trophy three times and, when he returned to Ireland on the eve of World War 2 he brought the cup with him for safe keeping. ‘Bring it home to Tipperary with you and when we want it, we will send for it.’
They never did and when William McGrath passed away in 1991, he still had the cup in his possession.