Fethard’s 19th County Senior Football Final in 1993
County Football Final Day, October 2018
Fethard won their 19th county senior football final at Holycross on October 17, 1993, when they defeated Loughmore-Castleiney by 0-13 to 1-4. Writing an account of the game in the 1994 Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook, club secretary & P.R.O. Denis Hannon stated it ‘was one of the best football finals of recent years. Fast, open, tough, physical but always entertaining football. It kept the large crowd enthralled.’
Fethard’s successful journey to county honours commenced in the South championship, which attracted seven affiliations, Ballyporeen, Grangemockler, Commercials, Moyle Rovers, Cahir, Ardfinnan and Fethard. The semi-final pairings were Fethard v Ballyporeen and Commercials v Moyle Rovers. Fethard came through by 0-15 to 1-6, while Commercials accounted for Moyle Rovers on a 3-15 to 2-8 scoreline.
The final was played at Cahir on one of the hottest days of the year. Fethard were without the services of Michael ‘Buddy’ Fitgerald and Tommy Sheehan. Commercials led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval, but the introduction of Sheehan in the second half revitalised Fethard and his all-important goal was instrumental in giving his side their 25th South title on a scorline of 1-10 to 0-9
In the first of the quarter-finals, played at Drombane on September 4, Cashel King Cormacs snatched a late draw from favourites, Nenagh. They made no mistake in the replay at the same venue on September 19, winning by 1-12 to 0-10, after leading by 0-6 to 0-5 at the interval.
The remaining quarter-finals were played on the weekend of September 11/12. Fethard had no problem defeating Oliver Plunkett’s (Moyne-Templetuohy/Gortnahoe-Glengoole) by 3-12 to 2-4 at Littleton on September 11. On the following day Loughmore-Castleiney defeated Commercials by 1-7 to 0-5 at Cashel, while Arravale Rovers defeated St. Brendan’s (Kildangan/Shannon Rovers) by 1-14 to 2-2 at Borrisoleigh.
The county semi-finals were played at Holycross on a very wet October 3. In the Loughnore-Castleiney versus Cashel King Cormacs clash, two goals at the start of the last quarter by the Mid men, reduced the closing minutes to a formality. Loughmore-Castleiney led by 1-3 to 0-4 at the interval, despite playing against the breeze, and although Cashel King Cormacs played well in the second half, their opponents were superior and deserved their 3-9 to 1-7 margin of victory.
In the second semi-final Fethard gave a classy performance to outplay Arravale Rovers. Fethard led by 1-4 to 0-1 at half-time, and were in front by 0-13 to 0-5 at the final whistle.
The final at Holycross on October 17 was an exciting encounter, even though Fethard had six points to spare at the final whistle. The winners dominated the first half and led by 0-8 to 0-2 at the interval, despite playing against the breeze. But Loughmore re-shuffled their team and put in a much-improved performance in the second half. There was only a goal between the sides at the start of the final quarter, and an upset was on the cards, but a goal opportunity missed by Loughmore-Castleiney, plus a rally by Fethard, ensured that the latter went on to victory by 0-13 to 1-4.
The dominance of Fethard in the first half was due mainly to the midfield brilliance of Shay Ryan and Brian Burke, who sent a great supply of ball into the forwards. Immediately after half-time Chris Coen made it 0-9 to 0-2, but this was to prove their last score for nearly fifteen minutes. Loughmore-Castleiney, true to their tradition and reputation, never gave up and cut the lead to manageable proportions with a good goal, followed by two points.
The game was still anybody’s for the taking when ‘Buddy’ Fitzgerald was introduced. Much to the delight of the Fethard supporters, he gave the team a vital injection of spirit. Shay Coen made a tremendous save and from the clearance centre-forward Michael O’Riordan scored a vital point that was to change the course of the game.
Shay Ryan broke away and scored a point to give Fethard a four-point lead. In the last five minutes Fethard got on top again and points from Roibeard Broderick, and Tommy Sheehan with the final kick of the game scored Fethard’s 13th and final point.
Captain Willie O’Meara, who played a captain’s part all through, accepted the cup from county football chairman, Hugh Kennedy, on behalf of a young and determined Fethard panel.
The ‘homecoming’ of the team later in the evening was tremendous. The parish priest and community council welcome the team home and the players were paraded through the town. Various people gave speeches and trainer, Dinny Burke, and a selector, Danny Kane, broke into song.
The 1993 county champions were as follows: Shay Coen, Martin Ryan, Michael Ryan, Philly Blake, Michael Quinlan, Willie O’Meara (capt.), Willie Morrissey, Brian Burke (0-2), Shay Ryan (0-1), Tommy Sheehan (0-2), Michael Riordan (0-2), Michael Spillane, Martin Coen (0-3), Chris Coen (0-2), Jimmy O’Meara. Subs: Roibeard Broderick (0-1) for Martin Coen, Michael Fitzgerald for Martin Ryan. Also: Liam Connolly, John Hackett, Danny Tobin, Brendan Brett, Dermot Hackett, Tom Ryan, Kenny Hackett.
Selectors: Dinny Burke (trainer), Danny Kane, Jimmy O’Shea, Pat Sheehan.
Club Officers 1993: chairman - Micheal McCormaic, secretary & P.R.O. – Denis Hannon, treasurer – Seamus Hackett.