Recent Publications 2014

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook, 2015 pages 84-85


C. J. Kickham's G.A.A. Club Mullinahone did justice to the 'little village' with the launch of their club history, The Green Above the Red, in their clubhouse on  August 22 last. Also, they got a larger than life Matt the Thresher to do the honours in the person of Micheal Ó' Muircheartaigh. 
It was a great night for the members of a club, which is one of the oldest in the county, having been founded in 1885. Originally a football club when the name of Mick Cahill was legendary on the football fields of Munster and beyond, it became a hurling force in the late 1980s when the equally legendary John Leahy stroke the hurling fields of Ireland like a colossus.

In the course pf his speech, history editor, Ricky Sheehan explained the book's title anf the club's motto, The Green above the Red. The original club colours were red but during a period of nationalist fervour, the players were travelling to a match when they decided they wanted the Irish green above the British red and so the new club colours were born.

Rickie added that Mullinahone had given 'soul' to the G..A.A. and there was no doubt that the village was Knocknagow in Kickham's famous novel and that generations of Mullinahone people had followed the example of Matt the Thresher by doing their best 'for the credit of the little village,'

He also proudly recalled the part played by Mullinahone players on Bloody Sunday in 1920. On that day in Croke Park there were six players from the club on the Tipperary team in and, as Mick Hogan lay dying on the field, it was Mullinahone player, Jimmy Egan, who brought him a priest, who was also from the village, Fr. Crotty.

The book,designed and printed by Modern Printers, Kilkenny, is a massive tome of 640 pages. As well as Rickie Sheehan, the committee responsible for its production included Lance Vaughan, Dick Egan, Neil Thompson, Joe Tobin,Tommy O'Sullivan and Sean O'Meara. The vast number of the pictures included are reproduced to the highest quality and the book would be memorable for this alone.

It is also a comprehensive account of the 127 years of the club's history, 1885-2012. One of the features of the book is the extensive use of match reports from the pages of the Nationalist. I would have preferred had many of them been synopsised rather than reproduced at length. The editor showed his ability in many places of being able to comprehend much in a very succinct and able manner. There is a good example in his summary of 1986:

When the history of the CJ Kickham Club comes to be written, 1986 will hardly go down as the best of years nor the worst of years. It is probably best to say that it was a year in which the flag was kept flying. Our AGM came and went. The meeting itself caused little excitement. The circumstances surrounding the holding were somewhat livlier, though they are now in the past. In the end there was no change, Dick remained in the chair, John kept the purse and Ricky the pen. John Croke also remained as hurling manager, Dick Egan replaced Jimsy Kelly as football supremo. Amalgamation was discussed but in the end it was the old story, i.e. Eire Óg in senior, under-21 snd minor hurling and football. As in previous years the amalgamation only worked in fits and starts, more so at underage level than at senior level.

In My Own Words by Paul Galvin

Paul Galvin's autobiography, published by Transworld for €16.95, will be of interest to many people, not only for his career in football. He was also a teacher and there was a famous incident in 2010 in which he accidentally hit a student with a duster. In the book he admits the incident was 'irresponsible' and damaged his reputation. In April last year it was reported that Galvin and the board of management at the school paid €8,000 to the pupil, who sued them jointly after the incident. Following the incident, Galvin admits he had enough of teaching and felt it was time to move on 'Repetition and routine wasn't for me.'

He was abviously an unusual teacher, and very agile, as the following incident recalls:

'My room in the SEM was number 11. One day out of sheer boredom as I waited for my next group to enter the room, I climbed on my desk and pulled myself up to the steel beams, that ran overhead along the ceiling. Clinging on with my arms and legs, I stayed up there as the first few kids came in. No one noticed me.  More arrived until, eventually,  the class was almost full. They took their seats and ducked into their bags for books and copybooks, as kids do, before coming up for air., back down then maybe for the pencil case before burrowing in that for their best pen and pencil. Whatever they were at, nobody noticed me clinging to the beam like a bat. Thinking I was out of the room, a din of noise erupted before I dropped to the floor.
'Open your books, guys, let's go, time for class,' letting on like it's the most normal thing in the world to drop from the ceiling. The look on the boys' faces was priceless.
'Jeeeeeeesus, he just came down from the ceeeeeeeilin' '.......

' That got their attention.'

The History of the G.A.A. In New York by Fergus Hanna, is approximately 550 pages long and has just been published. The author is from Belfast and the book was printed in Northern Ireland. It will sell for €24.95 and it is hoped to have it available at a number of outlets in the Republic, including Lár na Páirce. It has a section on every year since the New York GAA began in 1914, and also every inter-county, and club final played is included. The lineouts and scorers of all the NY finals are included in a very comprehensive section and should be of interest to anyone from Tipp who has played in a final over there.

Tipperary people should have more than a passing interest in the new publication. While the Premier hurlers have, not surprisingly, been the most successful club in the championship there, until the mid 1930s they were also the leading football side in the Big Apple. 

One of the saddest chapters in the book centers on the 1927 football series when Tipp were in opposition to Monaghan at Celtic Park. During the course of the game, Tipperary forward Pat McGrath (a native of Templemore) collapsed when play was at the opposite end of the field. Team manager, Jack Quane, realised that something serious had befallen his player. Play came to a halt, and the 8,000 in attendance knelt to say the Rosary as doctors battled to save young McGrath’s life. Their efforts proved to be in vain, and after an ambulance has taken him to St. John’s Hospital he was pronounced dead. 

Pat had served with the Fighting 69th Regiment of the U.S. Army during World War 1 and had been gassed while in the trenches in France. The effects of  the chlorine gas had seriously damaged his lungs, and this was determined to have been the cause of his untimely death. 
Married just one year earlier to Catherine Purcell, the couple had been the proud parents of a baby born to them three weeks prior to this tragedy. 

One of the saddest funerals to be witnessed by the Irish community in New York, the body was carried to its final resting place in Calvary Cemetery by the members of the Tipperary club.  
In the 1940s and 1950s the Tipperary hurlers captured 8 of 10 senior hurling championships, and were by all accounts as formidable a selection as some of the top inter county teams from Ireland. 

The role of New York GAA President has been filled on a number of occasions by men who hailed from Tipperary, and the county has also been recognised for its contribution to the association in New York with the prestigious Guest Of Honour bestowed on no fewer than 6 people from Tipperary.

Captains of the Premier Ship by Noel Dundon was launched in St. Patrick's College, Thurles by Nicky English on November 15. The book of 320 pages charts the careers of Tipperary's twenty-one – a number of them were multiple captains – All-Ireland winning captains with interviews and stories telling tales about their achievements. The group includes such legendary figures as big Jim Stapleton, the man who was given the sobriquet 'Captain' Johnny Leahy, the youngest captain, Jimmy Finn, right up to the contemporary, Eoin Kelly. I expect the book will initiate discussion on the many outstanding players who were never captain. Noel Dundon has filled a big gap in our G.A.A. Knowledge in the county and is to be complimented on his initiative. All profits from the sale of the book are going to the mental health charity, Aware.

Not strictly a G.A.A. book. the Parish Review of Templemore, Clonmore and Killea has something for G.A.A. readers. Stretching to 350 pages, most of which is devoted  to what happened in the parish during 2014, it also includes some historical pieces that give is an additional dimension of interest. These include articles on parish activities in 1914 and 1939, but also two pieces that will be welcomed by readers ofthis column. The first of  these is on the Bracken Family and the second on Tommy Treacy.

The latter, by Martin Bourke, is particularly welcome because there is so little available on the hurler from Killea, who strode the playing fields of Ireland like a colossus from the late twenties to the early forties. Physically a towering figure,  he played some great matches at a time when there were few. The iconic image of him is from the 1930 All-Ireland when, following a flake on the head, he was bandaged up and played on. The incident was remembered thus:

The work done by Treacy at midfield was grand,
And the cheers for the hero that came from the stand,
Will live in our memory until we are dead,
And the crimson stained bandage he wore around his head. 


Martin Bourke introduces his lengthy article in this manner:

When hurling men sit down to talk they say that the true Tipperary hurler is the man who is not afraid ‘to go in and pull’. He is fearless and tireless on the field of play and he never gives up until the final whistle is blown. Such a man was Tommy Treacy. His speed, his stickwork and his boundless courage made people apply to himthe old saying, ‘He’d put his head, where another
would not put his camán’. 

I will just mention a few other books that may interest readers. Dalo: The Autobiography by Anthony Daly is published by Transworld Books for €21.50. Hell for Leather: A Journey Through Hurling in 100 Games by Ronnie Bellew & Dermot Crowe is published by Hachette Ireland for €24.99. Tadhg Kennelly: Unfinished Business is published by Mercier for €19.99. True Grit by the Clint Eastwood of hurling, Sylvie Linnane, is published by Irish Sports Publishing for €15.99.

Finally, in the year that Cashel King Cormacs were relegated to intermediate level for the first time since 1933, it was only natural that the club should remember more glorious days. In 1988 and 1989 Cashel won back to back county minor A hurling titles and the club celebrated the golden jubllee of these golden days with an event in October. To mark it Seamus King produced a 24-page booklet celebrating the highlights of these years.