The First Clare Tipp Match

Munster Senior Hurling Semi-Final program, June 21, 2009


The first time Clare and Tipperary met in an intercounty game was at Nenagh on September 25, 1887. Clare were represented by Smith O'Briens, a team drawn from Garranboy, Killaloe and Bridgetown, and Tipperary by Thurles, who had a few imports from two neighbouring clubs.

Smith O'Briens, who wore green and gold, had beaten Ogonelloe by 0-3 to 0-1 in the county final, which was played in John McDonnell's place in Broadford, a kind of amphitheatre field, which was a famous venue at the time.

The game was played on July 17, 1887 and the captain of the Smith O'Briens was William Gunning of Kilbane. Gunning was, in fact, one of an estimated four Clare men who played on the Limerick Commercials team that won the first football All-Ireland. Incidentally, the captain of the Ogonelloe team was Dominick Stuart, the father of a later President of the G.A.A., Dr. J. J. Stuart. A grandson of Dominick, of the same name, continues to live in the area.

No Munster Championship

There was no Munster championship at the time but an open draw All-Ireland and Smith O'Briens, now representing Clare, were drawn against Wicklow in the first round, which was fixed for Athlone on July 19, only two days after the county final. Wicklow objected to the venue as unreasonable and were prepared 'at any time to meet Clare or any other county on reasonable terms.' The counties, accordingly, didn't meet and Clare advanced to the next round against Tipperary.

Tipperary also got a walkover. Drawn against Dublin in the first round, they were fixed to play at Mountrath on Saturday, July 30. Dublin looked for a postponement on the ground that a number of players were on holidays but the application was refused. Tipperary came up against Clare in the second round at Nenagh on September 25. They were fixed to play at the Markets Field, Limerick on September 4 but Clare wired that they couldn't field a team and the game was re-fixed for three weeks later.

Green Pantaloons

Earlier Thurles had become county champions of Tipperary when they beat North Tipperary by 3 points and 2 forfeit points to nil at Borrisoleigh. Only eight teams had participated in this first county championship, as against twenty-seven in Clare. Thurles had a definite advantage in the final since North Tipperary had to play their semi-final game against Holycross on the same day as the final. No wonder they began to weaken in the second half!

The Tipp-Clare game at Nenagh was played in a large field on Church Road, given for the purpose by local solicitor Mr. A. Nolan. Thurles wore green pantaloons on the occasion and admission was 6d. There isn't much information about the game except that Tipperary won by 1 goal and 8 points to 4 points.

We don't know the names of the Tipperary team other than the fact they they had fourteen players from Thurles, six from Two-Mile-Borris and one from the Ragg.

The Clare team was as follows: Matthew Crowe (capt.), Ned Scanlan (goal), Michael Crowe, Corney Hayes, Tim Crowe, Thomas Hayes, Paddy Smyth, John Hayes, Martin Crowe, Paddy Vaughan, James Nihill, Little Mike Ryan, Michael Pee-OL Ryan, Paddy O'Brien, Martin Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, Paddy Scanlan, James McKeogh, Michael McKeogh, Jack Molloy, William Scanlan, Jack Sheehy, Edmond Scanlan.