GAA Presidents Award Croke Park, Feb 9th 2018

GAA Presidents Award

Croke Park, Feb 9th 2018

On February 9th, 2018 in Croke Park, Seamus King was a recipient of one of the prestigious annual GAA President's Awards.  The award was in honor of Seamus's lifetime of service to the GAA. 

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Marjorie Hamill (1941-2018) Eulogy at the Funeral Mass, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Creagh, Feb 7th 2018

Marjorie Hamill (1941-2018)

Eulogy at the Funeral Mass, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Creagh, Feb 7th 2018

 

Rev. Fathers, Andrew and Jane, members of the extended family.

I don't think it would be proper to allow Marjorie to disappear into the dark night of death without a few words in her honour.

I want to sympathise deeply with Andrew and Jane, who have lost a devoted mother, who was always there for them when they returned from their travels. She was the anchor of their lives.

Marjorie was the third in our family of two boys and two girls and she is the first to go and it will put a big gap in our lives because, even though we all lived apart we did keep in contact and we were always united on New Year's Eve with a meal and on New Year's day with a sumptuous repast  at Kathleen  and Liam's.

Marjorie was absent this year, having become ill on December 3, but we drank a few glasses in her absence and hoped that she would be well soon.

But, she wasn't. She gave us hope a few times during the past weeks but, more often than not it was only a short respite and, as the weeks wore on and she fought with the many failures in her system, our hopes for her recovery became fewer and we were all gathered on Sunday to watch her heading towards her end.

During this period we had the opportunity to have conversations with Andrew and Jane who, because of  their work continents away, had almost disappeared off our radar. Marjorie's illness brought us all closer together. 

During those weeks she was extremely well cared for by the front line staff in both the Portiuncula and Galway University Hospital. I have nothing but the highest praise for their caring professionalism and we are all extremely grateful to them for the way they looked after Marjorie during her last days.

Marjorie was a bit prone to accidents. We expected perhaps not the worst but something to go wrong when she was doing something. I remember going a play in the school in Oranmore when she was a boarder there. She was in charge of the curtain and she slipped off the stage and brought the curtain down with her.

Her driving skills were problematic and she had many an argument with piers and bollards.

She broke her leg on one occasion by falling over a trough for feeding the hens.

And, I heard last night that Marjorie went through a door in the Bundestag, Berlin for a smoke during a visit to that city, and almost created an international incident, when she tried to get back into the building!

I suppose because of these mishaps, we had a protective nature towards her, even though she learned to look after herself well.

I suppose another memory of her was to have been on the slow side. On one occasion we climbed Croagh Patrick and Liam and I left her behind on the way down, she was so slow. Also, at one stage she had to prepare the dinner at home for a period and she could never get it ready in time for Daddy who was a stickler for the 12 o'clock meal. Instead of improving her ways, she used to turn back the clock and convince him he had come in early.

But Marjorie managed and got on with her life and was in charge of medicines in St, Brigid's hospital at a time when the hospital was a very large going concern and in the days before computers were available to record and control what took place in her department.

And she did all this in a laid-back manner always having the time for a chat with a patient or a member of the staff. I suppose this is the quality I admired most about her, her time for people, her capacity to listen and to bond with others.

Her friends say she hadn't a bad bone in her body. They have nothing only good memories of her. She hadn't a bad word for people and was great to keep a secret. She didn't carry stories and was a thrusted friend

What I only learned recently was her love of poker, not high stakes stuff I might add but small stuff where a tenner pot would be big money. Marg and the cards revealed a different person.  She was a member of two schools and, as far as I can make out, she bossed both of them. She kept a great eye on the table and on the cards that were played and was very sharp on payments to the pool. In fact she wouldn't deal until everyone had the money paid in. Everything had to be in order before the cards could be dealt.

I suppose most of us associate Marjorie  with a love of smoking.. She was so happy when she had one and following the smoking ban, a regular sight during a gathering was to see her disappearing outside for the drag. We encouraged her often to give them up but she was never going to do so and it wasn't only the cigarette that gave her satisfaction but the conversations that occurred when she went out for her fix.

Marjorie had a good sense of fun and enjoyed the good story. I recall her remarking on how  all the old psychiatric hospitals were located between rivers and railways, as if the planners had a nefarious intent. She told me numerous stories from St. Brigid's and one she told with humour was of the patient running away and racing madly for the river and the nurses tearing after him with their white coats flying in the wind and he arrives at the water's edge before them and turns around to face his pursuers and says: I fooled you! I fooled you! The story tickled her humour.

And, so with these few thoughts and memories, we come to say a last farewell to Marjorie, the daughter of Joe King and Annie Slevin, the wife of the late David, the mother of Andrew and Jane, the sister of Maura, Seamus and Liam, the relation of an extended family, the friend of many of you and, as we do so we say goodbye to one who didn't do any extraordinary things during her seventy-seven years but who was a person with a generous heart,  a lively spirit, a person capable of strong friendships, and we wish eternal rest to her soul and that her memory will remain fresh in the lives of all who knew her.

 

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Patrick Roger Cleary General Secretary G.A.A. 1889-1890 Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2018 p 39

Patrick Roger Cleary General Secretary G.A.A. 1889-1890

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2018 p 39

 

Patrick Roger Cleary was born in Lagganstown, in the Parish of New Inn and Knockgraffoin the youngest of the five children of Roger Cleary and his wife Hanora (Ryan), and baptised in New Inn Church on March 14, 1857.

One account has him educated in Mungret College, but this is unlikely as Mungret was an agricultural school at the time and it is doubtful if Cleary’s parents, who farmed a small holding, would be able to afford the fees of a boarding school. The nearby Rockwell College was founded in 1864 and was initially a seminary for the education of priests for the Scottish Mission. Maybe Patrick Roger had early intentions of the priesthood? Another possibility is that he was educated by the Christian Brothers in Tipperary Town. At any rate P. R. Cleary was fluent in the Irish language and knew Latin. There were still hedge schoolmasters in the area and he may have
received his education from them.

However he was educated, he qualified as a teacher and was appointed Principal of Inch St. Lawrence National School in Caherconlish, a single-roomed school of the type that was common in rural Ireland at the time, with eighty pupils. He married a local girl, Minnie Dooley, whose father was a member of the R.I.C. , in the Augustinian Church in Limerick on January 19, 1888. They had a son, Roger, who was born towards the end of the same year, and died at the age of six, and three daughters, Minnie, Nan and Kitty. There was a second son, Michael Patrick, who was born in Limerick and died at the age of three months.

 

Involvement with the G.A.A.
 

The fact that P. R. Cleary and Minnie Dooley were married in the Augustinian Church in Limerick rather than in the Church in Caherconlish may reveal something of his relationship with the Parish Priest, Fr. William Cooney. A native of Coleman, Clerihan, Cooney was appointed P.P. of Caherconlish in 1869 and resigned from there in 1889. It seems that he didn’t get on well with Cleary, possibly more to do with Cleary’s involvement with the G.A.A. than his politics. Cooney was no lover of Archbishop Croke and the dislike was mutual. The Archbishop described him as ‘rough, big and uncivilized, though strange to say, conscientious, sober and correct.’ He was a staunch patriot and was prominent in the Tenant Right Movement, when he was curate in Moycarkey. It would appear that his issue with Cleary may have been his involvement in the G.A.A.
more than anything else.

At any rate Fr. Cooney sacked Cleary from his job as principal of Inch St. Lawrence N.S., Caherconlish. After losing his job, Cleary was employed as an agent to the Prudential Assurance Company, which worked well as a cover for his secret job as a travelling I.R.B. organiser. His involvement in the I.R.B. helped his spectacular rise through the ranks of the G.A.A.

The G.A.A. was rent by divisions at the time, which had their origins in the political situation that existed. The ‘New Departure’, a move to bring about an alliance between the parliamentary agitators and the advocates of physical force, for a common national approach, was not fully accepted by the latter group and the conflicting views found their supporters within the G.A.A. The physical force group of Fenians gained dominance on the Central Council and some counties, including Limerick, had two county boards representing the different viewpoints, an official one and a breakaway band of people not prepared to accept the Fenian policy.

 

Elected General Secretary of G.A.A.

At the convention of the ‘official’ county board in Limerick, in 1888, P. R. Cleary was elected secretary of the board, which indicated that his sympathies were with the Fenian side. He was a delegate to the Annual Congress of 1888, held in Thurles in January 1899, and was elected general secretary of the Association. His fellow Limerick delegate, Anthony Mackey, was elected treasurer. At the following Annual Congress in November, Patrick Cleary was elected for a second term. He served until the next convention, when he was succeeded by Maurice Moynihan of Kerry.

His two years in office were beset with difficulties. A number of counties refused to recognise the Central Council and would not take part in the All-Ireland championships. However, Cleary succeeded in completing the intercounty championships although with reduced participation by counties, eight in both hurling and football. He organised the games and refereed some of them himself. Dublin beat Clare in the hurling final and Tipperary beat Laois in the football in 1899.

Cleary’s refereeing achievements included being in charge of the Munster semi-final at Mallow on July 27, 1889, in which Cork defeated Kerry by 0-2 to 0-1. In the same year he refereed the two semi-finals of the Munster hurling championship in which Tipperary defeated Clare by 3-0 to 2-2 but lost the match on an objection, and Kerry beat Cork.

All in all Patrick Cleary proved to be an active secretary and, considering the limiting circumstance in which he was operating, his performance was satisfactory. He continued to take an active interest in the G.A.A. in Tipperary and was acting chairman of the county board for a time in 1902.  According to his obituary notice in the Tipperary Star ‘His interest in the fortunes of the G.A.A. was maintained all through his life and until comparatively lately when the weight of years was telling on his splendid physique. He travelled to all the principal hurling and football events in the southern area and was a familiar figure at Croke Park.’

 

Knew Tom Clarke
 

He was a member of the old Irish Republican Brotherhood and was on terms of warm personal intimacy with Tom Clarke and John Daly. He was no less ardent in the later phases of the National struggle and in 1920-1921. His house was raided several times by the Crown Forces. A man of fine personality and of no ordinary intellectual attainments, he was a most interesting conversationalist, while his warm good nature won for him the affectionate regard of everybody who knew him.

In May 1891 the Cleary family were living at Kilmallock and by mid-1892 were settled in Killarney, where it was noted by the Dublin Castle authorities that ‘he was received by the leading suspects of the place.’ When O’Donovan Rossa visited Kerry, P. R. Cleary took a prominent part in organising reception committees. Tragedy hit the family in April 1895 in Killarney, when his eldest child, Michael Patrick, died from valvalar disease of the heart.

By 1895 the family were back in Limerick, living in Thomondgate, where his youngest son, Michael Patrick Cleary, was born. The move back to Limerick was seemingly dictated by his new job as an agent for a Bordeaux wine firm, in which capacity he was enabled to travel all over Ireland promoting the I.R.B. cause.

His wife, Mary Anne Dooley, died in St. John’s Hospital, Limerick in September 1896 at the age of twenty-nine years, apparently of cancer, and he was left to bring up the three young girls by himself.

By 1901 he was back in Tipperary, living in the village of Bansha with his three young daughters and continued to move around the country as an agent for the French Wine Firm.

By 1911, he and his family had moved into Tipperary town, to Emmett Street, where he was now employed as a County Council land surveyor.

He designed the Maid of Erin statue, which was unveiled on March 10, 1907. He died at Emmett Street on July 8, 1933 and was interred in Kilfeacle Cemetery. A plaque to his memory was unveiled there by former G.A.A. president, Seamus Ó Riain, on August 15, 1990.

Treasures of Lár na Páirce Munster Senior Hurling quarter-final, Cork v Tipperary at Thurles, May 21, 2017.

Treasures of Lár na Páirce

Munster senior hurling quarter-final, Cork v Tipperary at Thurles, May 21, 2017

 

In an effort to inform people on the exhibits to be seen on a visit to Lár na Páirce, the Museum of Gaelic Games in Thurles, we have started a weekly post on our website, larnapairce.com called the Treasures of Lár na Pairce.

We started with Pat Madden’s hurley. Pat, as you know, was the Meelick man, who captained Galway in the first All-Ireland. Recently, a very impressive monument to a hurler was erected in Farrell’s Field, Birr, where the game was played. Pat’s hurley is anything but impressive, a roughly-hewn piece of timber that would probably be disallowed today on health and safety grounds!
Incidentally, Thurles Sarsfields are re-enacting the first All-Ireland at the Thurles Sports Fest on July 1. The two teams will be suitably outfitted in the playing gear of the period and there will be a vintage parade as well.

Another ‘treasure’ posted was the Tubberadora Cap.  Part of the playing gear of the famous Tubberadora team of the end of the 19thth century was a cap. The navy blue caps bore the embroidered letters T H C, Tubberadora Hurling Club, in gold. The caps were part of the playing gear presented to the Tubberadora team by Tipperary Grocers’ Assistants, residing in Dublin. The players wore the caps not solely for the team photograph but also wore them while the game was in progress. 

What was regarded as the first inter-county hurling game under G.A.A. rules, was played in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on Tuesday, February 9, 1886. The teams involved were North Tipperary and South Galway. Tipperary won by 1-0 to nil, the only score got by Charles McSorley of the Silvermines club. Michael Cusack organised the game and had a cup sponsored. It is regarded as the oldest G.A.A. trophy and it’s on permanent loan to Lár na Páirce, courtesy of the Silvermines Club, where the cup ended up and got its name.

The dress of the early camogie players in 1904 aped the Victorian dress fashions then in vogue. The players wore long skirts and a blouse and one of the rules stated that ‘Skirts to be worn not less than 6 inches from the ground.’ One of the curious rules at the time stated that ‘intentionally stopping the ball with the skirt was a foul’! When one looks at the dress in Lár na Páirce today one’s immediate reaction is: How was it possible not to stop the ball with a dress so long?

To date there have been eight posts of the treasures and it is intended to continue to post one a week or, as often as time constraints allow. Of course, you can see all the treasurers mentioned as well as many more by visiting the museum.

 

 

Ned Treston’s Photograph

One of Michael Cusack’s efforts to promote the game of hurling soon after the foundation of the G.A.A. was an exhibition match in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on February 16, 1886. The teams came from South Galway and North Tipperary and they travelled by train to Dublin on the previous day. They were greeted by Cusack and marched to the Clarence Hotel, where they stayed.

Following a meal, Cusack held a meeting with both sides in which the rules of the game were discussed and agreed. These were the days when most hurling rules were local and the new common set hadn’t yet been widely accepted. 

The next item to be discussed was the sliotar to be used. The Tipperary side introduced their sliotar, which was larger than that used in Galway, and it wasn’t well-received by the Galway players. The latter were then invited to show theirs and it was only then they realised they had left it at home in Gort! 

This was where the Galway captain stepped into the breach. Ned Treston was a saddler by trade and he decided to make the Galway ball. Before he retired for the night he made the cork core of the sliotar and waited until morning to find a harness maker to cover it with leather. 

As soon as businesses were open he did the rounds of the streets in the neighbourhood of the Clarence. There were quite a number of harness makers but five of them refused his request to cover the cork core with leather. The sixth man he came across said to him:  ‘Maybe you could do it yourself?’ which Ned did. It was the forerunner of the modern sliotar, based on the design of the cupped hand. 

The teams marched from the Clarence Hotel, four deep, with their hurleys on their shoulders to the Fifteen Acres in the Phoenix Park. According to Galway G.A.A. historian, Padraic Ó Laoi ‘The substitutes carried the goalposts.’ The field was marked with the players’ coats. There was no charge to see the game, which had been billed by Cusack as ‘The Championship of Ireland’.
It was nearly three o’clock before the teams lined up with Cusack as referee. Before the game started Dan Burke objected that the Tipperary team wasn’t properly dressed, as they wore neither shoes nor short pants. In the invitation to the teams Cusack had requested that the teams wear a distinctive dress. Cusack agreed with Burke that the Tipperary players were breaking the rules, yet he allowed them to play. 

The Galway men got a great reception when they stepped on to the field dressed with green caps, white jerseys. knickerbockers and shoes.

The Tipperary ball was used in the first half and the sides were level at halftime. The smaller Galway sliotar was used in the second half but it didn’t do Galway any favours. Ten minutes from the end Charlie McSorley of the Silvermines scored a goal for Tipperary and the only score of the game gave them victory.

Ned Treston’s ball, which became the prototype of all subsequent sliotars, no longer exists but his photograph holds pride of place in Lár na Páirce with the Silver Cup, which was presented to the Tipperary captain after the victory.

 

Sean O’Meara (1933-2017) Nenagh Guardian, May 6, 2017

Sean O'Meara

Nenagh Guardian, May 6, 2017.

The death of Sean O’Meara of Lorrha on March 18 saw the passing of an outstanding athlete  and hurler. Born in October 1933, he was the second son of Jim ‘The Private’ and Margaret O’Meara, and one of four children with Paddy older and Kathleen and Seamus younger.

He first played for Lorrha against Shannon Rovers in the under-15 championship at Kilbarron in 1943. Lorrha were slaughtered on the day by an opposition superbly trained by Rev. John Cleary, C.C. Sean as a nine-year old played on goals but gave such an exceptional performance that when Fr. Cleary spoke to the defeated side after the game, he singled Sean out as the only player he would select on the Shannon Rovers side!

After national school in Lorrha, Sean went to Pallaskenry Missionary College, as it was then known. He spent five years there during which he played with the college team. He impressed enough to be invited to play for the Limerick minors but he declined in the hope of getting a call up for Tipperary, which never came. One of the other things he excelled in while in Pallaskenry was running. The prime competition annually was the mile race and he won it three years in a row.

 

Played with Meath

Following his Leaving Certificate Sean spent a year in the Salesian Novitiate in Burwash, Sussex, U.K. following which he went to Warrenstown Agricultural College, Co. Meath for a year. His hurling ability was recognised when he was selected on the Meath senior hurling team in 1954, which had the distinction of beating Carlow and Offaly, before going down to Dublin in the Leinster semi-final. Playing at centrefield, Sean had as opponents Mick Ryan and Phil Shanahan of Tipperary, who were playing with Dublin that year. In the same year he got a trial with the Meath footballers, who defeated Cavan in the All-Ireland semi-final, before going on to beat Kerry in the final.

Back home in 1955, he played with Lorrha in the senior championship, losing out to Borrisileigh in the North semi-final. In the same year he was selected for the Tipperary hurlers in the  Munster championship and for the Tipperary footballers against Cork, but couldn’t play because of injury.

 

The Offaly Dimension

Later in the year he got a job as an insurance agent in Banagher on condition that he play with the local club, Shannon Rovers, so he transferred to Offaly. He played in the county hurling championship for two years, reaching the county final in 1956, only to be badly beaten by Drumcullen. He also played football with Cloghan, the football end of the parish, and reached the final in 1956, before losing to Tullamore.

Playing with Meath and Banagher brought Sean to the attention of the Tipperary selectors. He made his first appearance against Clare in the 1955 Munster championship, when Tipperary were surprisingly beaten. He played in the subsequent league campaign and partnered John Hough at centrefield in the final at Croke Park, when Wexford came back from the dead after half-time to defeat Tipperary. He was dropped in favour of Mick Ryan for the Munster championship semi-final, which Tipperary lost to Cork after leading by 2-6 to 0-1 at the interval.

 

National League medal

Sean was back on the team for the 1956-576 league campaign and played at full-forward on the side that defeated Kilkenny in the final at Croke Park on May 12, 1957. He was in the same position for the Munster semi-final against Cork, a game that was lost by the unlikely score of 5-2 to 1-11.
The winning of the league led to a trip to the U.S. in October. Tipperary played New York in the St. Brendan Cup, playing four games in all, one under lights. Sean decided to remain on in New York and was to remain there for ten years.

It was understandable that emigration wouldn’t bring an end to Sean’s playing career. He played with Cork (New York) in football initially, as he had got a job through a Cork connection, and won a championship with them. Later he played with Kilkenny and won a second football championship. But hurling was his first love and he won a championship with Tipperary in 1962.

 

St. Brendan Cup

Sean was part of the New York team which played Kilkenny in the St. Brendan Cup in the Polo Grounds on June 1, 1958. It was the last Gaelic match to be played in the historic ground and Sean had an outstanding game, scoring 3-6 at full-forward over the hour. It gave him the unique distinction of having won St.Brendan Cups with Irish and New York teams, and in consecutive years. He was to win his third later in the year, when  New York defeated Wexford by 3-8 to 3-7 in another final at Croke Park.

In 1960 Waterford travelled to New York and were beaten by a star-studded New York team on a scoreline of 7-7 to 3-4. Playing at full-forward, Johnny had an outstanding game and scored 3-2 off the great Austin Glynn before an attendance of 29,000 people.
During his time in New York Sean made a number of hurling trips to Ireland, wither with New York teams for league engagements or to play with Lorrha. For instance, he played with his native parish in 1965, when Lorrha were beaten a point by Kilruane in the North final.

 

Marriage

While in New York Sean married Peggy Egerton, originally from Oldcastle, Co. Meath, in May 1962. The couple had four girls, Margaret, Marie, Olivia and Valerie. All the girls, with the exception of Olivia, have won All-Irelands in athletics and represented Ireland at international level. They were good sprinters, and Marie was a jumper at well. She held the Irish ladies’ record for the triple jump at one stage.

Sean returned to Ireland in 1966 and was on the Lorrha side that won the North senior divisional side that year. He continued to play with the club until 1979, twenty-six years after making his first appearance as a senior with the club. During the same period he won two divisional junior football titles in 1966 and 1971, going all the way  to a county title in the latter year.

He remained an athlete all his life, participating in sports all over the country.  He took part in the first Dublin City marathon in 1979 and on two later occasions.

 

G.A.A. Administration

He was also involved in G.A.A. administration. He was registrar of the North Board for seven years and a trustee of the county board for four years. Refereeing was another part of his life. He refereed at all levels, divisional, county, Minster (Munster Club final 1977) and All-Ireland levels, and had the unique distinction of refereeing five divisional hurling finals in the same year, senior, intermediate, junior, under-21 and minor. He served as Tipperary representative on the Munster Referees Advisory Council.

Comhaltas played a major part in his life. Ever since Paddy Madden, Canon Martin Ryan and Peggy Wilde started the Irish Nights in the old hall in Lorrha in the 1960s, Sean was involved. He used to travel from Nenagh with his daughters every Friday night and the entertainment played a major part in his and his daughters’ lives. At one stage he was part of a half-set with Bernadette Turner, Tommy and Kathleen Houlihan and they won a number of Munster titles.

 

An Active Man

Sean O’Meara was always a most active man. During his sporting life he achieved a level of fitness that was exceptional in his time, when hurlers and footballers had a much more relaxed attitude to their physical preparations. He was a robust player who revelled in taking on opponents in physical battle and not many enjoyed coming in contact with him. As a contemporary of his in New York, Johnny Murphy of Cashel, described him ‘ a man you wouldn’t like to run into on the field of play.’ Off the field of play the same energy drove him in his job and his recreational activities. He was never a person to loll about but was ever restless for new activities, new challenges.

It was ironic, and very, very cruel then that he should be partly paralysed following an operation in the Blackrock Clinic in 2003, which rendered him extremely limited in the kind of physical activity he so enjoyed. It was a most frustrating experience for him to have to spend the last thirteen years of his life in such a state.

In spite of this he will always be remembered as a skilful bundle of energy on the playing fields giving his all for Lorrha, Tipperary and New York.