Credit Unions County Senior Hurling Championship 2000

Tipperary GAA YearBook 2001 pp 93-95


Toomevara won their second hattrick of county senior hurling titles in eight years when they defeated Thurles Sarsfields in the final at Semple Stadium by 2-10 to 0-11 on October 15. In doing so they added the first title of the new century to the last one of the old to emulate the achievement of the parish of Moycarkey-Borris, who did the sameone hundred years earlier albeit with two different clubs, Horse and Jockey in 1899 and Two-Mile-Borris in 1900.

Toomevara's victory was richly deserved and their superiority on the day was much greater than a margin of five points. They played with tremendous composure, went about the task in hand with a cool competence and were never at any time significantly threatened.

Thurles Sarsfields did not really perform to their potential on the day and came no way near the impressive performance they produced against Cappawhite in the replayed semi-final.

In fact Sarsfields had played spectacular hurling during the year and none more so than in the mid final. In a very impressive display, especially from a forward line which got vintage performances from Ger O'Grady, Eddie Enright and Lar Corbett, the Blues defeated Loughmore-Castleiney by 1-20 to 3-11 in an exciting final at Semple Stadium on August 27.

On the same day at Clonmel Carrick Swans broke a ten year barren spell when defeating Ballingarry by 1-11 to 1-10 in the south final. Down four points eight minutes into the second half they received a heavy blow with the dismissal of defender, John Brophy. However, they regrouped, rose magnificently to the challenge and had a point to spare when the final whistle sounded. 

A week earlier the west final between Cappawhite and Kickhams was played at Golden. Kickhams were defending their title and Cappawhite were looking for their first since 1987. They gave a brilliant display in the first half and led by ten points at the interval. In the second half they withstood the best efforts of Kickhams and ended their thirteen year famine by the convincing margin of ten points on a scoreline of 3-17 to 1-13.

The north final, between Toomevara and Moneygall, was the last of the four divisional finals and was played at Nenagh on September 9. In a game that failed to live up to its promise, the vastly experienced county champions proved too good for the young emerging hurlers of Moneygall. In the end the margin of victory was nine points on a scoreline of 3-13 to 1-10.


Two quarter-finals were played at Semple Stadium on September 9. The Kickhams-Carrick Swans encounter produced a deluge of goals. Kickhams got four of these in a period of eight minutes between the eleventh and the eighteenth minutes . Before this onslaught Carrick led by four points to one against the wind. However, they recovered well and the sides were level,
4-3 to 2-9 at the interval. The game was won and lost in the third quarter. During this period Kickhams scored seven unanswered points from which Carrick never recovered and that was the margin of victory , 5-11 to 2-13, at the final whistle.

On their performance in the second game Cappawhite just about deserved to beat Ballingarry. They dominated the first quarter, leading by 1-7 to 0-2 at the end of it and although Ballingarry recovered somewhat, were still in front by 1-11 to 0-7 at the interval. Cappawhite then fell asleep for the opening twenty minutes of the second half. During this time Ballingarry drew level and went ahead by a point. In danger of defeat Cappawhite recovered with a goal by substitute, Sean ONeill, in the twenty second minute. They followed up with a point to put a goal between the sides. In the remaining minutes Ballingarry scored twice and Cappawhite once to give the relieved west team a two-points margin of victory on a scoreline of 2-15 to 1-16 .

The remaining two quarter-finals were played on the weekend of September 16/17. Toomevara and Loughmore- Castleiney clashed in the Ragg on Saturday. The mid runners-up tore into the game and had they got the breaks the result might have been close to scoring goals. Toomevara recovered and a goal by Paddy O'Brien in the twenty sixth minute set them up for a half-time lead of 1-6 to 0-3. They copper-fastened their lead with a Michael O'Meara goal three minutes into the second-half and by the end of the third quarter they led by 2-8 to 0-5. Loughmore-Castleiney recovered with a Ned Ryan goal followed by two points to reduce the deficit to four points. But then, as if sensing danger, Paddy O'Brien collected about fifty yards out, raced through a static Loughmore-Castleiney defence to score his second goal and set Toomevara up for victory. In the end they won by 3-12 to 2-7.

The last of the quarter-finals was played at Templemore on Sunday., September 17th. Thurles Sarsfields continued to impress with a vigorous performance against Moneygall. The mid champions got off to a flying start and had 1-3 on the board after seven minutes.

Moneygall recovered in the second quarter and were only a goal in arrears at the interval. In very wet conditions Thurles dominated the third quarter and left no doubt as to the eventual outcome. Any time Moneygall scored Thurles responded and at the final whistle they had a six-point margin on a scoreline of 1-19 to 0-16.


The two semi-finals were played at Thurles on October 1. First into the fray were Toomevara and Kickhams. Toomevara got off to a smooth start against the breeze and were three points in the lead after five minutes. It seemed as if predictions were on their way to fulfilment. But then Kickhams blasted these predictions out the window with a barrage of three goals. The first by Vincent Kelly was disallowed but two by Richard Horgan and Paul Morrissey put Kickhams into a 2-1 to 0-3 lead after twelve minutes. Unfortunately for Kickhams they didn't build on the scores and Paddy O'Brien's accuracy from frees ensured that Toomevara recovered to lead by 0-11 to 2-4 at the interval. The third quarter was crucial. During this period Toomevara scored 1-6 while Kickhams failed to raise a flag. In the final quarter Kickhams tried hard for the goal that never came and Toomevara were comfortably in front by 1-17 to 2-7 at the final whistle.

The second semi-final was a game that Cappawhite should have won but were lucky to draw in the end. It tooka Eugene O'Neill point from a free six minutes into injury time to level the match and give them a second chance against Thurles Sarsfields. But, they should never have found themselves in that situation. Playing with a strong breeze in the first half they opened up a 0-10 to 0-4 lead at the interval which seemed substantial enough in poor scoring conditions. The game remained close during the third quarter during which Sarsfields reduced their deficit to four points. The decisive score came in the eighteenth minute when Matty Dowd scored a fortuitous goal as the ball skidded into the Cappawhite net. The goal gave a mighty lift to Thurles and Cappawhite were put very much on the defensive. In the closing minutes Thurles drew level and went a point ahead before O'Neill got the equalizer for Cappawhite. The final score was 1 -10 to 0- 1 3.

The replay was a week later at the same venue. While Cappawhite had played out of their skins in the drawn game it was Sarsfields who turned on the style in the replay. In fact they were such a transformed side they made Cappawhite look pedestrian. They weren't in the same class as the Thurles men and struggled all over the field to find any kind of fluency. Sarsfields raced into the lead in the opening half and were twelve points to three in front after twenty-seven minutes. Cappawhite rallied during the remaining minutes to score four points to Sarsfields' one and  leave the half-time score 0-13 to 0-7.

Sarsfields started the second half with three points. Then Cappawhite had a goal from John Ryan after four minutes and there was hope that it might spark a revival. Such was not to be the case. Cappawhite could make no inroads into Sarsfields lead and as the game progressed the chances of a recovery looked less and less possible. In the end Sarsfields went home impressive winners by 1-24 to 1-13 and raised their hopes for the encounter with Toomevara.


The final was a very attractive fixture. The sides hadn't met in a final since 1992 when they drew and Toomevara won the replay. In fact during the years 1992 to 1996 Toomevara had won five encounters between the sides. The 1992 victory had set Toomevara on their way to dominating the county championship during the nineties. They were going for their third-in-a -row, their second such achievement during the period. The odds seemed stacked in their favour. In their games to the final, they showed a zest and a freshness which indicated that winning hadn't interfered with their hunger for victory.

Their side had been strengthened by the introduction of a few fast and skillful forwards like the O'Briens , Bevans, McGrath and Cummins. At the other end they had a very skillful player in
Brendan Dunne.

On the Sarsfields side there was hope. Their great performance against Cappawhite in the replayed semi-final was enough to foster such hope. Some of their players, like Gary Mernagh and Brendan Carroll, had stepped up their performances. In the forward line they had players like Larry Corbett, Ger O'Grady and Matty Dowd to match the best of Toomevara. They also had the experience and commitment of Tommy Maher, Catha! McIntyre and the two Enrights. They had a good blend , some fine performances to prove their credentials and a great hunger to break a barren spell stretching back to 1974. On top of everything they had a manager of experience and achievement in Paddy Doyle.

However, it's the day that counts and all the predictions cannot forecast how players and teams perform on the day. In this case Sarsfields did not perform. They struggled during the hour to get the rhythm going. The smart performances they gave on the way to the final were somehow left behind. The individual performances which had been a highlight of their previous games were not delivered. Anything they achieved on the day was done with too much effort and energy. They scored eleven points in the hour, five of these in the last ten minutes when Toomevara were a man short, which contrasted with an average of almost twenty points for the seven championship games to the final.

In contrast Toomevara were calm, cool and collected, above all efficient. They came into the game without Eoin Brislane, who was hospitalised on the morning of the match, and Paul McGrath, who was sidelined with a broken thumb. They lost Rory Brislane and Tommy Dunne in the course of the second half. And yet they had five points to spare at the final whistle. They were, above all else, composed. They were there to do a task and didn't allow the occasion to get to them. They set about winning as they had done in their previous games, doing everything simply, quickly and well. They had all the answers and their victory sets them off at a standard above the rest in the county.

An attendance of 8,500 at Semple Stadium on October 15 were treated to a game which fell far short of expectations.  Toomevara opened the scoring with a point but Thurles had a great chance of a goal in the seventh minute. Three minutes later John O'Brien scored a goal for Toomevara from a pass from his brother, Paddy. At the end of the first quarter Toomevara were ahead by 1-3 to 0-2. They continued to dominate the second quarter and were in front by 1-6 to 0-2 after twenty-two minutes.  Sarsfields were doing a lot of attacking but getting nowhere against a superb Toomevara defence, especially the inner line of George Frend, Rory Brislane and Brendan Dunne. However, in the remaining minutes they came more into the game, scoring three points to one from Toomevara, to leave the half-time score 1-7 to 0-5.

The score did not adequately reflect Toomevara 's superiority. They were playing the better hurling, making the more effective moves. They were very good at touching the ball away from their opponents, advancing it twenty or third yards with deft touches, when they couldn't get in a full stroke. Overall, they were the more skillful combination.

Whereas the first half was incident free, the second half saw no less than three players get red cards. Referee, Willie Barrett, saw fit to give Tommy Dunne his marching orders ten minutes into the second half as a result of a melee. Five minutes later Sarsfields' Tom Ryan got his red card as a result of a charge on his opponent. And, in the twenty-first minute, Rory Brislane, the Toomevara full-back, got his marching orders as a result of a second yellow card. Three sending-offs might suggest a dirty game but that would be far from the truth. Whereas the game was niggling in spots, the sending-off offences were isolated incidents.

Sarsfields did not continue their revival in the second half. John O'Brien almost had a Toomevara goal in the third minute but was foiled by an alert Ciaran Carroll. Three minutes later O'Brien scored on his second chance to put Toomevara 2-7 to 0-6 in front. The next ten minutes were scrappy as three players got their marching orders. Sarsfields came more into the game and began to run at the Toomevara backs. With five minutes to go they had reduced the deficit to four points. Try as they might they couldn't get the goal they required. During these final minutes Paddy O'Brien scored a point to give Toomevara their 2-10 to 0-11 victory.

And so Toomevara proved once again that they were the strongest club in the county, with a fine blend of youth and age. They were very well prepared and completely focused on what they were doing. On the other hand Thurles Sarsfields were left to regret their failure to do justice to themselves or to deliver the kind of performance they showed themselves capable of in earlier games.

Scored for Toomevara: John O' Brien 2-1; Paddy O'Brien 0-7; Ken Dunne, Tommy Dunne , 0-1 each. 

Scorers for ThurLes Sarsfields: J. Enright 0-4; E. Enright 0-2; Brendan Carroll, Connie Maher, Ger O'Grady, Larry Corbett, Stephen Mason 0-1 each.

Toomevara: John Cottrell, George Frend, Rory Brislane, Brendan Dunne, Philip Shanahan, Tony Delaney, Brian Duff, Terry Dunne (captain ), Padraig Hackett, Ken Dunne, Kevin Cummins, Paddy O'Brien, Mark Bevans, Tommy Dunne, John O'Brien. Sub: Michael O'Meara for Kevin Cummins.

Thurles Sarsfields: Ciaran Carroll, Brian O'Grady , Tommy Maher, Gary Mernagh, Pat Treacy, Seamus O'Shea, Cathal McIntyre , Brendan Carroll (captain), Tom Ryan, Larry Corbett, Eddie Enright, Matthew O'Dowd, Ger O'Grady, Johnny Enright , Connie Maher. Subs: Stephen Mason for Connie Maher, Tony Ruth for Matty O'Dowd.

Man of the Match Award: John O'Brien (Toomevara).
Referee: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan).


Results at a glance:

County final: Semple Stadium, October 15, 2000.
Toomevara 2-10 Thurles Sarsfields  0-11
Referee: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan).

County semi-final replay: Oct. 8, 2000.
Thurles Sarsfields 1-24 Cappawhite 1-13
Referee : Michael Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs).

County semi-finals: Semple Stadium, October 1, 2000.
Toomevara  1-17  Kickhams 2-7
Referee: Tom Lonergan (Kilsheelan).

Thurles Sarsfields  1-10 Cappawhite 0-13
Referee: Michael Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs).

County quarter-final: Templemore , September 17, 2000.
Thurles Sarsfields 1-19 Moneygall 0-16
Referee: John Ryan (Cashel King Cormacs).

County quarter-final: The Ragg, September 16, 2000.
Toomevara 3-12 Loughmore-Castleiney 2-7
Referee: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan ).

County quarter-finals: Semple Stadium, September 9, 2000.
Cappawhite 2-15 Ballingarry  1-16
Referee: Willie Clohessy (Drom Inch).
Kickhams 5-11 Carrick Swans 2-13
Referee: John Collins (Templederry).