The G.A.A. History of Cashel and Rosegreen

Post Advertiser, Nov. 1985, Vol 1 No 9


One of the major events of the year took place at Grant's Castle Hotel recently with the launching of the 'GAA History of Cashel and Rosegreen'. The book is a massive contribution to the history of the parish over the past hundred years and is a tribute to the author, Seamus J. King, who is a teacher at Rockwell College. Seamus hails fram Lorrha and wrote a history of his home club, which appeared early in 1984. He has been living in Cashel for twenty years. 

The book is a handsome hardback volume of 567 pages and covers in great detail the history of the many clubs that have existed in the parish of Cashel and Rosegreen since 1984. In all there have been no fewer than twelve clubs, surely a record. Equally impressive with the extent of the research is the number of photographs contained in the book, over two hundred in all. As the author said at the launching it was a hard two years slog of research and writing. 

The book was launched by Michael Lowry, chairman of the Tipp. County Board, before a representative gathering of the Gaels of Cashel and some from outside. Among the visitors were Willie Corbett, chairman of Tipperary Remembers Weekend, Liz Howard, County P.R.O., Brendan Ryan, chairman of the West Board and others. Among the local luminaries present were Dean C. Lee, Patron of the Club, Willie Ryan, President, former greats like Jim Devitt, Mickey Murphy, Michael Burke, Paddy O'Brien and Jim Devitt. 

Social History

The book is more than a G.A.A. affair. It is no mere reciter of games and scores and teams. It is much more. A very comprehensive introduction gives a picture of Cashel during the last quarter of the 19th Century. This information was gleaned from the numerous travel books of the period as well as the local newspapers. Generally, the picture that comes across is not very flattering to the town. 

The chapter on the foundation of the club in the town makes most interesting reading: it took a long time to get a club going and three attempts failed before a final successful one was made under the chairmanship of Dr. Richard Wood, grandfather of the present Councillor Tom Wood. The book covers the coming of the railway to the town. It quotes a report from the 'Cashel Sentinel' of June 20, 1904: 'For the second time the labourers engaged in working on the new railway works from Gouldscross to Cashel have gone out on strike for higher wages. In the previous strike their wages were increased from three pence to three and a half pence an hour. It was hoped, that this would have brought peace but, on Wed. June 17, they struck again for another halfpence and invaded the streets of Cashel. Over one hundred and fifty men were involved and they grumbled that the work was too hard and the pay too little'. 

They gained their extra half-penny and went ahead to finish the work. Such little vignettes. are to be found in the book and they give it a social as well as a sporting connection. The author also tries to give a picture of G.A.A. affairs in the county and division in so far as they impinged on the life of the parish. 

Johnny Leahy

There was a great love affair between Cashel and Boherlahan. Initially it was with Tubberadora. It is difficult to explain. The normal result of proximity is irritation and jealousy. But no such feelings obtained in relations between Cashel and the neighbouring parish. In fact Cashel supported the men from the Boherlahan parish every step of the way. The Brass Band followed them to matches. The people of the town lit bonfires when the men from Boherlahan won. In 1901 the people of Cashel presented the victorious, three-in-a-row Tubberadora All-Ireland team with a set of 'silver medals'. There was a major function at the City Hall and this book faithfully records these events. 

According to the book Johnny Leahy played his first hurling with Cashel. Tubberadora were gone and Boherlahan hadn't yet arrived. The year was 1908 and the parish had two teams, in the county championship that year, Cashel and Racecourse. Cashel were in the mid and Racecourse in the south. Cashel were beaten in the mid final by Thurles and Johnny Leahy was a newcomer to the Cashel team that year at the age of sixteen years. 

But the book covers so much it is impossible to do it justice in a short review. As well as the history there are twenty-one appendices that fill out certain areas in greater detail. Here are to be found extensive accounts of the games in local post-primary schools, of camogie and handball and athletics in the parish. There are profiles of the greats like Jack Gleeson, Michael Burke, Mickey Murphy, Jim Devitt and Peter O'Sullivan. Even the exiles aren't forgotten. Paddy Doheny writes from New York and there's a final piece called 'English Memories'.

A massive and comprehensive work!