128th Munster Hurling Final
Munster Senior Hurling Final program, July 1, 2018, Thurles
Today’s final is the 128th to take place but the first two were a bad advertisement for the provincial series.
Championship draws were made on a provincial basis for the first time in 1888, although provincial councils as we know them today weren’t formed until 1900. The 1887 championship was the first and only one to be played on an open draw system.
Five counties entered for the Munster series in 1888 and were drawn as follows: Limerick v Clare, Cork v Tipperary, Waterford a bye. Clare champions, Ogonelloe, got a walkover from South Liberties of Limerick, who failed to put in an appearance at Birdhill. Clonoulty, the Tipperary champions, defeated Tower Hill, the Cork champions, by 2-1 to nil at Buttevant, but because they had included outsiders, Tower Hill were awarded the game. The latter then travelled to Dungarvan, where they defeated Carrickbeg of Waterford by 2-8 to no score.
The Munster final between Ogonelloe and Tower Street was fixed for Croom Castle.
The game didn’t take place as South Liberties took the field and stated that they hadn’t been notified about the game at Birdhill and demanded that Ogonelloe play them for the right to contest the final. Ogonelloe declined and when South Liberties refused to vacate the field, the final could not take place. It was re-fixed for the following Sunday, but didn’t take place. Shortly afterwards the American ‘Invasion’ took place and the championship was abandoned.
There were also problems in 1889. Again, five counties entered, but Kerry were in and Waterford didn’t take part. Clare defeated Limerick in the first round. Kerry (Kenmare) defeated Cork (Inniscarra) in the first semi-final and Tipperary (Moycarkey) defeated Clare (Tulla) in the second. The latter objected on the grounds that one of the Moycarkey goals was scored after the ball had first gone wide.
A replay was fixed for October 28th with the decider arranged for two days later, as the All-Ireland final was arranged for November 3. Moycarkey didn’t travel for the replay, nor did Kenmare for the final proper, so Tulla represented Munster in the All-Ireland final. Kenmare had already travelled to Charleville to pay Moycarkey, being unaware of the Tulla objection. They could not afford to travel to Rathkeale for the re-arranged final.
Accessibility by rail was often a governing factor in the choice of venue for the finals, while other venues were chosen because they were border towns between the competing counties. Many of the grounds were developed in places where enthusiasts were prepared to work hard. Dungarvan was such a place and Dan Fraher was the driving force.
The 1898 final between Tipperary (Tubberadora) and Cork (Blackrock) was played there on October 15. 1899 and had to be abandoned before the finish because darkness had set in . The score at the time was Tipperary 3-0 Cork 2-3. The game was late starting because the train bringing the Tipperary party was unable to pull all the carriages beyond Kilmeadon, so it had to disconnect some and make two journeys from there to Dungarvan. As a consequence the starting time for the game was delayed and hence the reason for the game being unfinished.
The replay took place at Kilmallock on November 20 and on this occasion Tubberadora took control from the start and finished impressive winners by 1-13 to 1-2. They went on to win the All-Ireland, their third in four years and then bowed out of the championship, leaving the task of upholding the county’s honour on the hurling field to their close rivals, Horse and Jockey and Two Mile Borris.