Profiles of West Tipperary Football Team of the Millennium

West Tipperary G.A.A. Convention Handbook, December 8, 2001


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Goalkeeper, John O'Donoghue, Arravale Rovers

Although more associated with hurling, John O'Donoghue has a distinguished football career, which began as a minor in 1960 and continued at senior level as late as 1975. He played junior football in 1962 and progressed to senior ranks about the mid-sixties.  Initially he played outfield, usually at wing-forward, but took over as goalkeeper in 1970, when his career on the senior hurling team came to an end.

During this long career he had some success.  Probably the highlight was the winning of Division 2 of the league in 1971, when it was run as a separate competition.  He was also on the team which defeated Dublin in the Bloody Sunday Commemorative game in 1957.  He was picked twice for the Railway Cup, winning a medal in 1972. He gave long and distinguished service to Arravale Rovers.


Right corner back, Brian Lacey, Round Towers

Brian played as much hurling as football at underage. Coming from Arravale Rovers, an equal opportunity club, he was at home in both codes. His early success was in football and two county finals at under-14 and under-18 level. In the Abbey School he won an All-Ireland Colleges B hurling medal and played minor hurling,  not football, for the county. When he .went on to UL he concentrated on hurling and played Fitzgibbon.  He played under-21 football with the county for one year.

He played with the Tipperary senior team for three years, 1995, 1996 and 1997, losing to Kerry on all three occasions. His work brought him to Dublin and, as his residence was in Kildare, he transferred to that county. His rise was meteoric. In his first year, 1998, Kildare made the breakthrough in Leinster for the first time since 1956, only to lose to Galway in the All-Ireland. Brian impressed sufficiently well to win an All­ Star in the number 2 jersey . Since then another Leinster title was won and he hopes that the elusive All-Ireland will be won this year.


Full-back, Mick Byrnes, Lattin-Cullen

Mick Byrnes' football career stretches from the beginnings of the sixties to the start of the eighties. 1963 was an incredible year. There was a county minor football title with St. Patrick's, a combo of Lattin-Cullen and Solohead, plus West titles in minor hurling, under-21  football and hurling, and junior hurling.  The following year he graduated to senior ranks and a great period of success followed. West titles were won in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, and another near the end of his career, in 1983. During that period one county final was contested, unsuccessfully, against Commercials in 1967.

Mick's county achievements are also impressive. He captained the county minor football team in 1964, played under-21 in 1965 and 1966, and was a regular on the senior team from 1967 to 1971. He was Footballer of the Year in the county in 1969. Two years later he emigrated to the U.S. and remained there until 1977.  While in New York he won two football championships with Sligo, while playing junior hurling with Tipperary.  When he returned to Lattin he continued to play with the club until he retired in 1983. He is currently chairman of the club.


Left fullback, Mick McCormack, Aherlow

Mick was a dual player and when he was growing up in the Glen there was little or no hurling. However, he did win an under-14 hurling title, which was a novel thing for Aherlow at the time. At the Abbey School there was hurling success, with a Harty medal  in  1959.   Later  at U.C.C.  he  had an opportunity in indulge both passions, winning two Fitzgibbon Cups and two Sigerson Cups. And he had another double, winning Cork county championships in hurling and football in 1963 and 1964. At home in Aherlow during the summer it was mostly football and he played minor, under-21 and senior football for the county. His senior career stretched from 1964 to 1971 and brought him victory in Division 2 of the league in 1971, During these years he played his club football with St. Finbarr's and, after he married, with Ballincollig.


Right wingback, Patsy Dawson, Emly

Patsy Dawson 's career began with the Emly-Lattin minor football victory in the west in 1956. He progressed from there to the- county junior team in 1957 and was on the senior side in 1958. From then until 1970 he continued to play for the county, giving many fine displays. One of the highlights was the defeat of Dublin in the Bloody Sunday commemorative game in 1967 in which Patsy damaged the reputation of no less a footballer than Des Foley.

Parallel with his football career Patsy also played hurling, initially at junior level, but later at intermediate .. He won two All-Irelands in the latter grade in 1963 and 1966. He was also successful in hurling and football with his club.  His favourite position was centre-back.  His fielding and kicking of the ball was first class.  He had great reach, with a fine high catch, and great stamina. He would have held his own in the strongest football counties.


Centre-back, Larry Maher, Galtee Rovers

Larry's long and distinguished career began with the Cahir Slashers with whom he won a south minor football title in 1943 and a minor hurling title in 1944. He played a pivotal role in Galtee Rovers junior football title in 1947 and his first senior west title the following year: He was the heart and soul of the great Galtee Rovers team that won six successive west titles between 1949 and 1954, captaining the team in the first of these years. County titles were won in 1949 and 1950.

A big, powerful, strong man, his presence at centre back gave inspiration to his colleagues and provided a bul wark to all opponents' efforts. He was recognised by the county, playing senior in the late forties and early fifties_ The nearest he got to national honours was in 1952 when Tipperary were defeated by Dublin in the league semi-final. He was also selected for Munster in Railway Cup. His normal position was centre back but he ended up at full. He continued to play and inspire the teams of Banta and Kilmoyler during leaner periods, a tribute in itself to his durability, and finally finished his career with west titles in 1962 and 1963.


Left wing-back, Ailbe Ryan, Emly

'The best footballer that ever came out of Emly with the heart of a lion,' was the way one man described him. He came to prominence in the late forties during some exciting matches with Galtee Rovers. In these games Ailbe ranged from the halfback line to the half forward line and had outstanding games. His talent was recognised by the county selectors and he played on the county junior football team. He was also a good hurler and played on the county junior hurling team. In 1951 he was a member of the senior football team and played in the league.  He became a regular on the team. The Munster selectors recognised his ability in 1952 and 1953 when he played on the Railway Cup team. Inthe latter years he marked Jim McKeever at Croke Park when Ulster defeated Munster in the final.

During the fifties he played for Emly in hurling and football. He had great power and strength together with great skill and stamina. He has been described as having the characteristics of 'an iron man and a rubber ball.' He was usually the outstanding man on the field, with his favourite position at wingback.


Centre field, Edmond 'Taylor' Condon

Ned backboned the Lattin-Cullen success of the fifties and sixties. His early promise was shown when he played centre field for Tipperary minor footballers in 1951. In fact he was an outstanding centre-field player. His claim to fame was his high fielding skill. He had a great pair of hands and could reach high to fetch a ball out of the air. He never let the ball drop and his tactic was to boot it back again from where it came. He had good height and was built strong.

He won seven west senior football titles in all, two of them with Solohead. He also had an inter-county career, playing junior and senior football with Tipperary at different times. He retired in the mid sixties


Centre field, Vincent O'Donnell, Galtee Rovers

On April 5, 1970 in Emly Vincent played under-21 and junior football for Tipperary and later in the evening turned out in minor hurling for the county. It's a tribute to the kind of player he was, a man of prodigious talent. He was a superb athlete, winning honours in that field. He progressed to under-21 but his talent was recognised at senior level and he was a sub on the team that won Division 2 of the football league in 1971. Later he won a Railway Cup medal as a sub in 1978, the only such medal in the Galtee Rovers club. He won west senior football titles in 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1979, and county titles in 1976, 1980 and 1981. He was footballer of the year in 1976. Playing at centre-back he was a tower of strength with safe hands and great left-footed  clearances.


Right wing-forward, Sean McGovern, Galtee Rovers

A dual player Sean played minor hurling and football for Tipperary in 1952, winning the All-Ireland hurling title against Dublin. He was on the county junior football team in 1953 and 1954 and was promoted to senior level after that and continued to play into the sixties. During the second half of the fifties Sean's work as a forester took him away from Tipperary and he played junior football with Cork and Wicklow in these years. He could hurl also and was on the Tipperary intermediate team, beaten by Wexford in the 1961 All-Ireland . He won six west titles with Galtee Rovers, some in the early fifties at the beginning of his career, and again in 1962 and 1963.

He was a shining light during the leanest period in his club. He played centre field for the club and usually wing-forward for the county. According to the judges he was the greatest stylist that Galtee Rovers ever produced and he was always noted for sportsmanship of the highest quality.


Centre forward, Tom Power, Arravale Rovers.

Tom had a long career in football that stretches from 1932 to 1952. He first came to prominence as a member of the Clonpet junior football team that won the West in 1934. The following year he was on the Tipperary junior football team beaten by Sligo in the All-Ireland.  In 1936 Clonpet and Arravale Rovers amalgamated and won a south senior football title, an achievement repeated in 1941. In the latter year Tom captained the team. In between these two titles Tom won the Tipperarymen's Cup in 1937. He was selected for Tipperary in 1938 and played at senior level until 1941. His talent was recognised by the Munster selectors who picked him on the successful Railway Cup team in 1940.

He continued to grace the playing fields of the west until 1952. A gifted footballer, strong, talented and direct, a beautiful kicker of a ball with left or right foot, he was also a big personality who made an impact on people during his long career.


Left wing-forward, Brendan Kissane, Arravale Rovers.

Brendan was the third of a trio of forwards - the other two were Andy Greensmyth and Billy O'Donoghue - of outstanding quality, who made Arravale Rovers an outstanding football club in the thirties. Brendan's career began with a blaze, winning a county minor football title in 1933 and a west junior title the same year.  There followed a south senior football medal in 1936 and a Tipperarymen' s Cup the year after. The year 1941 brought west and county senior football titles and Brendan captained the county senior football team the following year. In fact his county senior football career began in 1936 and was to continue until 1944. What he lacked in robustness, Brendan made up for by fast, accurate and scientific play.


Right corner-forward, Seamus McCarthy,  Galtee Rovers.

One of the most distinguished footballers ever to come out of Galtee Rovers, Seamus has an impressive playing and managing record. His first medals in the club were won at under-21 level, two West and a county in 1975. To this he was later to add seven west senior football titles and three county, in 1976, 1980 and  1981. He progressed to county playing at minor, under-21 and senior, his latter career stretching from 1974-82. He always played comer-forward for Tipperary and centre field or centre forward for the club. He was footballer of the Year in 1981 and captained Tipp the folJowing year. He went quickly into management, looking after the minors in 1983 and 1984, taking them to the All-Ireland in the latter year. He managed the under-21 's from 1985 to 1988 and on three of these years the eventual All-Ireland champions narrowly beat the team. He progressed to the senior footballers in 1992 and managed them until 1996, winning a McGrath Cup in 1994 and the All-Ireland B championship the following year. His next port of call was the juniors and he brought them to All-Ireland honours in 1998. He was a selector of the Munster team that won the Railway Cup in 1999. He was Tipperary Person of the Year in 1984 and Munster Council Manager of the Year in 1998. An unsurpassable record


Full-forward, P. J. O'Brien, Galtee Rovers.

His career began in the late forties and continued through the fifties and is equally divided into football and hurling. His footballing career was spent with Galtee Rovers but in 1952 he moved to Thurles, where his playing career continued as a hurler with Thurles Sarsfields. He exploded on to the scene with an incredible game against Holycross-Ballycahill in the 1953 mid championship. He scored five goals in the space of seven minutes to transform a Holycross ten-point  lead into a substantial deficit. He went on to win a few county finals with the Sarsfields and he played some league matches for Tipperary. He didn't forsake football though. In 1952 he helped Sarsfields to a mid football final and came up against his former club in the county semi-final, losing out to them in a replay at Cashel. He played on his brother that day. A fine footba11er, he won three west senior titles, 1949-51, before leaving Bansha. His favourite position was full forward, though he also played at centre. He played junior football for the county for one year and senior football for two years.


Left full forward, Billy O'Donoghue, Arravale Rovers.

Billy has been described as the greatest small man who ever played football. His career began in the Glen under the influence of Tom Lee, who was laid to rest as late as February past. Billy was on the team that won the Tipperary Primary Schools county title. A minor in 1935 he won a Munster medal, only to be beaten by Mayo in the All-Ireland. He won a south senior football title in 1936 and a second title in 1941. He went on to win a county title when Arravale defeated Castleiney­ Loughmore in the final. The Tipperaryman's Cup was won in 1937. His talent was recognised by the county selectors and he played comer-forward for the senior team in 1940, 1941 and 1942. One of his great memories from these years was scoring a goal from twenty yards against the 'unbeatable' Dan O'Keefe of Kerry at Sean Treacy Park. Illness ended his football career. Billy was a county senior football selector from  1955-61.    He never did win an All-Ireland but he enjoyed the vicarious