Viewing entries in
7b Tipp GAA Yearbook 90's

<span class="postTitle">The Final Feile?</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1994, pp 71-72

The Final Feile?

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1994, pp 71-72


It appears almost certain that the 1993 Feile will have been the final event of its kind in Thurles. This is the belief of Michael Lowry, expressed in a recent interview, and, while the ultimate decision will be one for the Semple Stadium Management Committee and for the promoters, M.C.D., it is most unlikely that there will be a Feile in Thurles in 1994. If there is to be another, the location most likely will be Boston, Massachusetts, to cater for the huge influx of Irish for the World Cup - provided of course that Ireland qualifies, and that is not known at the time of writing. The most likely proposition for Thnrles will be that one or two single concerts will be held at about the same time. 

Even if there were to be another Feile in Thurles, Michael Lowry would not be involved in its organisation. This may come as a surprise to the many who regard him as being chiefly responsible for the whole concept of Feile and for its success to date. Michael's reluctance to be involved in any further possible event stems from the feeling of having had enough and being unwilling to undergo the enormous pressure any more. An inordinate level of criticism, much of it misdirected, allied to the suspicions of many critics that he was motivated by self-promotion and personal gain, have annoyed him intensely, given his long service to the welfare of the Association in so many areas. Far from gaining any personal or financial benefit for Feile, Michael Lowry has instead paid a high price in terms of time, effort and his own business. Running Feile has been a lonely operation in many ways, and while he greatly appreciates the help and support of Semple Stadium Management Committee and the County Board, he has often had to bear the brunt of the criticism because of being the figure perceived by most people as the public face of the Feile Committee. He has been subjected to abuse and vilification, some of which was also directed at his family, and he feels that there may also have been some political consequences. He reckons that he has lost part of his traditional support but feels that this may have been countered by recognition from younger people who have seen his actions as positive, and weighed in favour of the all-too-often neglected youth of the country. 

Why Feile? 

Why did he get involved at all in this musical festival? He recalls that when he was chairman of the County Board he came to the conclusion that most people in the county were indifferent to the debt on Semple Stadium, and that there was a lack of clarity on whose responsibility it was to clear the debt. He had admired the forethought of those, like Pierce Duggan. who had spearheaded the development of the Stadium and he believed County Board and the Management Committee had an obligation to the investors in the 'Double Your Money Scheme', who had made the development possible, what then, was to be done? On the basis that the mainstream supporters of the G.A.A. in the county had already given enough and could not be imposed upon again so soon, the concept of a three-day rock festival, different from anything seen before in Ireland, gradually began to emerge. It's audience would be the young people who form such a significant portion of our population, and who would not ecessarily have any commitment to the G.A.A.

After a number of disappointments in response to the idea, contact with promoters M.C.D. through a business connection in Belfast was the key element in welding the project together. 


Michael Lowry believes that most people do not realise the enormous task involved in organising Feile. It has been the biggest recreational event in Ireland over the past number of years and involved intricate organisation, superhuman effort and meticulous co-ordination. Very much in Thurles' favour was its central location and its magnificent stadium. Indeed, one of the offshoots of running Feile has been the improvement of facilities in the stadium itself. In addition to helping clear the debt, the event has resulted in over two hundred thousand pounds being spent on refurbishments in the stadium, thereby enhancing it's already fine reputation. 

The Feile had not been without opposition, often substantial, and coming in the main from from a traditional element in the G.A.A., from some townspeople in Thurles, and from the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr. Clifford. Michael Lowry understands the reservations of the traditionalists within the G.A.A., and appreciates their point of view, but expresses the opinion that the stark reality of the situation was a debt of £1.28 million, with no way of meeting it. There was a moral as well as a financial obligation to honour the County Board commitments, and there was no viable alternative being offered. He was also acutely conscious of the disruption to the lives of Thurles towns people but felt that the £5 million boost to the local economy might have counterbalanced this given the depressed state of the local economy in recent years. 

Aichbishop Clifford's criticism of Feile probably received most coverage. His condemnations were detailed and insistent and he had a complete right to make them. Michael Lowry refrained from commenting on them at the time in order to avoid the confrontational situation that any reply would bring. An opinion he expressed then and which he still holds to be true, is that Feile is not the source of all of the problems but is actually a mirror image of many of the ills of Irish Society. 

He utterly rejects the unruly behaviour of a small minority, but says that such behaviour, which is not unique to Feile, reflects the disillusionment and the anti-establishmentism of a section of our society and is understandable, if not excusable, given that there are over three hundred thousand people unemployed at present. Cancelling or transferring Feile would not make this problem go away. He would also like it to be remembered that the vast majority were well-behaved and he refutes the disparaging remarks which were applied universally to be the younger generation. 


Ultimately he will have to be judged by the success of what he set out to do. From a debt of £1.28 million when he took over, he expects that it will be less than £100,000 at the end of this year, a figure which he considers manageable and which could be cleared by another phase of the five-year ticket scheme in 1994. In addition, all of the investors in the 'Double Your Money' plan will be repaid by Christmas. 

Michael Lowry, was, in fact, disappointed that the debt was not entirely cleared by Feile 93, but a reduction in the numbers attending was accompanied by a parallel loss of revenue. This was brought about by the intense competition in this particular atea. For example, an attempt to emulate Feile in Tramore this year resulted in an estimated loss of £75,000 for the promoters there. Feile generated additional income for the Stadium this year and was fur ahead of all it's competitors, but he still felt that Feile 93 was only moderately successful from a financial viewpoint. 

The G.A.A. 

Michael Lowry sees the G.A.A. at a crossroads. It is, without doubt, the most popular and broadly based sports organisation in the country and it generates enormous support and loyalty amongst the general public. But he feels that many of the people in positions of authority within the Association simply do not recognise what a power for good the G.A.A. could be on the broader national scene. 

It needs a radical assessment of it's traditional role and of its own place in society. A common public perception of the organisation as representing one side of the political divide must be changed. In the wake of the horrifying carnage in the North in recent times, the G.A.A. is in a unique position to help bring about that change. 

Removing the ban on members of the British Forces and the R. U.C. would be an important and far-reaching gesture which would dispel the cloud of doubt many people have about the ideology of the G.A.A. 

It would also be a major step forward for an organisation which has a far greater capacity for the promotion of All-Ireland peace and harmony, than it has so far realised. 



<span class="postTitle">Nenagh Co-op 1993 County Senior Hurling Championship</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1994, pp 17-18

Nenagh Co-op 1993 County Senior Hurling Championship 

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1994, pp 17-18


In winning the 1993 Nenagh Co-op county senior hurling title, Toomevara achieved something no team since Kilruane MacDonagh's in the late 1970s, put two championships back to back. In doing so they doubled the achievement of the 1960 team, equalled the success of the 1930-31 teams and made it possible to emulate the vistories of the three-in-a-row squad . the 1912-14 era. 

During the course of the celebrations following the1992 win a warning was sent to all and sundry that, having won this great prize, they would not be giving it up easily. A simiolar warning was was issued on the evening of October 10th to anyone who might have designs on 'Dan Breen' for 1994: they are determined to keep it in the home of the 'Greyhounds' for at least another year. 

There were a number of contenders for county honours at the start of the year. Beaten finalists in 1992, Thurles Sarsfie!ds, had definite aspirations and seemed to be on target when they handed out a twelve-point drubbing to old rivals Holycross- Ballycahill in the Mid final at Templemore on the 15th August. In doing so they won _ their first divisional final in thirteen years. 

A week later Mullinahone made history when they won their first-ever senior divisional final by beating Carrick Swans, 1-11 to 0-12, in the South final. It was their first time in the final and only their second year in senior ranks. The victory was inspired by a great display by their captain, John Leahy, who scored nine points of their tally. 

On the sane day Nenagh Eire Og had to survive a tenacious Moneygall display before taking the North championship by 1-14 to 0-12 at Cloughjordan. 

On the last Sunday of August, Moneygall played T oomevara, the North league winners, to decide on the second team to go forward to the county championships. The game resulted in an emphatic win, 1-16 to 1-7 by the league winners and for the second year Toomevara qualified for the county championships without a divisional title. 

On the same day Cashe! were unimpressive in acounting for Kickhams in the West final at Tipperary. On a scoreline of 2-15 to 2-12 the King Cormacks won their fourth title in six years but failed to deliver on the promise they showed against Cappawhite in the semi-final. 


The quarter-final pairings pitted Mid v South at Golden. In the first game Thudes Sarsfields did not impress in beating Carrick Swans by 4-8 to 1-8. Playing with the wind in the first half the Mid champions led by 3-4 to 0-4 at the interval and, in the course of the hour, shot no less than nineteen wides against a mostly ineffective Swan side. 

In the second game, Holycross-Ballycahill scored an unconvincing three-point win, 1-12 to 2-6, over the South champions, Mullinahone. Although the Mid side were the better team they played badly and might have been in trouble had John Leahy been on target with his free-taking. 

The two other quarter-finals were played at Ternplernore. In the first Cashel faced Toomevara, who gave a very impressive performance in hammering the West champions by 1-17 to 1-4. At half-time the score stood 0-10 to 1-2 in Toome's favour but, as Cashel were to have the advantage of the wind in the second half, it appeared as if they were still well in contention. However, there was no resurgence and all the King Cormac's were to score was a mere two points. 

In contrast, Toomevara stamped their authority on the game and their supremacy was never in doubt until they ran out convincing and worthy winners by thirteen points. The second game was lacking in excitement and Nenagh Eire Og struggled to a five point win over West runners-up, Kickhams, on a scoreline of 1-14 to 0-12. Nenagh went into an early lead of 0-7 to 0-1 but Kickharns began to respond in the second quarter and brought down the lead to 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval. Midway through the second half Nenagh got the only goal of the game to put them into a 1-10 to 0-7 lead. At times during the remainder of the game Kickhams threatened but their finishing was poor and Eire Og had a five point advantage at the final whistle. 


The semi-finals were played at Semple Stadium on 26th September. In the first, Nenagh Eire Og defeated Holycross-Ballycahill by a single point on a scoreline 0-15 to 0-14 and qualified for their first county final. Nenagh entered the game as favourites chiefly due to poor performances from the Mid men during the year. However, HoIycross-Ballycahill produced a performance in the first half that was largely unexpected and led by an impressive six points at the interval. The margin might have been wider but for some fine free-taking by Michael Cleary, which put a gloss on an otherwise lacklustre performance by the Nenagh men. 

There was a transformation in the teams at the interval. The bottom fell out of the Holycross- Ballycahill challenge in the second half and they could score only three points. In contrast Eire Og came alive, got three quick points and, with a much improved performance from Kevin Tucker, eventually snatched victory by a solitary point. The win underlined the important contribution of Michael Cleary, who scored nine points of the winners total . 

In the second game the champions, Toomevara, completely outshone a poor Sarsfields' performance. It was a most disappointing display in the light of the two-hour battle between the same protaganists in last year's final. 'Toome' led 0-7 to 0-3 at the interval but, as Sarsfields had a slight wind advantage in the second half, it was possible they might make their mark. Instead 'Toome' went further ahead and even though Sarsfields pegged them back a couple of times, 'Toome' always had that extra acceleration when the need arose and this was to take them well away in the final quarter when they scored 0-6 to only 0-1 for Sarsfields. 

The Final

Toomevara went into the final strong favourites. They had impressed along the way, in beating Moneygall in the North play-off, in pushing aside Cashel at Templemore, in overcoming the challenge of Thurles with ease. In contrast, Nenagh Eire Og had just about got there, against Moneygall in the North final, against Kickhams in the quarter-final and just about against Holycross-Ballycahill. 

There was just one doubt looming in the face of certainty: Nenagh had beaten the same opposition twice in the North championship. The answer to that, of course, was that Toomevara hadn't their act together when they went down in defeat. Now, they had and were a very formidable outfit. 

At half-time it appeared that Toomevara were on target and their favouritism justified. With a few minutes to go before the interval they led by 1-8 to 0-3 and while Michael Cleary hit three great points before half-time the more respectable scoreboard did not anticipate what was to come. At this stage no Nenagh forward had registered. 

The North champions introduced Eddie Tucker at half-time and he began to make an impact. After ten minutes they had added three points to their credit while 'Toome' replied with one from a Mike Nolan '65.' Then, following an explosion of pulling between Frank Moran and Michael Murphy, Nenagh seemed to spark fire. A great run by John Heffernan resulted in a goal and this was followed by a point. Another followed and, suddenly, Nenagh were ahead by 1-11 to 1-9. 

It was at this stage that Toomevara showed their true character. They rallied to level but Nenagh went ahead again. With ten minutes to go it was anyone's game with great excitement and some splendid exchanges. Toomevara levelled again and then went two points ahead. Entering injury time Nenagh missed chances and then Cleary scored to leave a point between the sides. By this stage two minutes of extra time had elapsed but most of those in attendance expected four because of a delay attending an injury to Philip Shanahan. However, referee Paddy Lonergan blew the final whistle to the surprise of most and the disappointment of Nenagh, who believed they might have got the equaliser in those extra minutes. Probably everyone present would have liked another hour of such an heroic contest. 

It was a marvellous moment for Toomevara and a tremendous ending to a year that hadn't started off too promising. They showed themselves end-of-season specialists. It was a great moment for captain, Jody Grace, for coach, Sean Stack and for selectors, Fr. Michael Casey, Jim McDonnell and Frank Ryan. 

The winning team was - Jody Grace; Pat Meagher, Rory Brislane, Declan O'Meara; George Frend, Michael O'Meara, Philip Shanahan; Tony Delaney, Pat King; Michael Nolan, Michael Murphy, Liam Flaherty, Tommy Carroll, Kevin Kennedy, Tommy Dunne. Substitute - John Ryan for Michael Murphy. Substitutes - Kevin McCormack, Terry Dunne, Liam Nolan, Michael Delaney, Sean Nolan, Jimmy Dunne, Aidan Maxwell, Brendan Spillane, Noel KenneaIy, Michael McCormack. 

Nenagh Eire Og - Christy McLoughlin, Donie O'Brien, Conor O'Donovan, Noel Coffey; Phil Hennessy, Frank Moran, Paul Kennedy; Philip Kennedy, Michael Cleary; Paul Dolan, John Heffernan, Robbie Tomlinson; John Kennedy, Neilly Corbett, Kevin Tucker. Substitutes - Denis Finnerty for Donie O'Brien; Eddie Tucker for Neilly Corbett; Chris Bonner for John Kennedy. Also - Declan O'Meara, John Tucker, Con Howard, Gearoid Cleary, Michael Kennedy, Michael Grace 

Selectors: Liam Heffernan (coach), John Tucker, Billy Flannery. Man of the Match Award: Michael Cleary (Nenagh Eire Og). Referee: Paddy Lonergan (Galtee Rovers).

Sponsorship: For the first time ever the county senior hurling championship was sponsored. The sponsors were Nenagh Co-Op and the amount of the sponsorship, which was 'substantial', according to county chairman, Michael maguire, wasn't revealed.


Nenagh Co-Op Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship Results 1993 

COUNTY FINAL Semple Stadium - October l0th 

Toomevara 1-14, Nenagh Eire Og 1·13 

Referee: Paddy Lonergan (Galtee Rovers) 

SEMI FINALS - Semple Stadium - September 26th 

Nenagh Eire Og 0-15, Holycross- Ballycahill 0-14 

Referee Tommy Lonergan (Kilsheelan) 

Toomevara 0-18, Thurles Sarsfields 0-9 

Referee Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan) 

QUARTER FINALS - Golden - September 12th 

Holycross- Ballycahill 1-12, Mullinahone 2-6 

Referee Richie Barry (Cappawhite) 

Thurles Sarsfields 4-8, Carrick Swans 1-8 

Referee Michael Cahill (Kilruane-McDonaghs) 

Templemore - 

Toomevara 1-17, Cashel King Cormacks 1-4 

Referee Tommy Lonergan (Kilsheelan) 

Nenagh Eire Og 1-14, Kickhams 0-12 

Referee Willie Clohessy (Drom-Inch) 



<span class="postTitle">Cashel - Munster Club Champions 1991</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993, pp 53-54

Cashel - Munster Club Champions 1991

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993, pp 53-54


Only a week after winning their first county senior hurling championship Cashel headed for Ennis to play the Clare champions, Clarecastle, in the Munster club championship semifinal on November 17. The celebrations around their historic win were brought to a halt early in the week and a testing mid-week training session whipped the players into reasonable shape for this Cusack Park test. 

Conditions for the game were extremely poor with parts of the pitch waterlogged after heavy ovemight rain and matters worsened with a heavy downpour towards the end of the first half. Despite this the sides served up a very entertaining game. which was tight up to the three-quarter stage. and gave the large crowd plenty to cheer about. 

Clarecastle had high hopes of reaching the decider after handing out a crushing defeat to Limerick champions, Ballybrown, in a controversial first round game, but it was clear from the outset that they were unable to match the skills of the Tipperary champions. Cashel built up a 1-7 to 0-3 interval lead, the goal a fortuitous one from Ailbe Bonnar ten minutes from half-time. Clarecastle reduced the lead to three points with an Anthony Daly goal from a penalty ten minutes after the resumption but this sparked off a Cashel resurgence, which resulted in two goals from Jamsie O'Donoghue and Tommy Grogan in a three minute period. In the end they were in front by 3-11 to 2-4. 

The victory came from a fine team effort but there were some outstanding performances. Pride of place must go to Colm Bonnar. who played a captain's part with an incredible workrate over the hour. Pat O'Donoghue gave an outstanding display at full-back and in the forwards, Tommy Grogan gave another performance of brilliant marksmanship. scoring a total of 1-9 in the course of the hour. 

Munster Final

There couldn't have been better opposition for the Munster final at Mitchelstown on December 8 than the Cork champions, Midleton. The game attracted enormous attention and called to mind the ancient rivalry between Cork and Tipperary. The Midleton team was speckled with players who had brought honour to club and to county, household names like Denis Mulcahy, Pat Hartnett, John Fenton, Ger Fitzgerald and Kevin Hennessy. 

Like so many games of which much is expected the game fell far below expectations but the closeness of the scoring and the intensity of the exchanges kept the crowd of over 8,000 excited for the hour. It was a game that produced more wides than scores, with Cashel having fourteen to Midleton's eleven. 

Cashel held the upper hand from the start and with scores slow to come they gradually built up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after twenty minutes. During this period Cashel's half-back line did some fine work, cutting off the supply of ball to the Cork forwards. Of the three Conal Bonnar was particularly impressive. At the other end a titanic struggle for supremacy was taking place between T.J. Connolly and Pat Hartnett. Two points by Tommy Grogan and T.J. Connolly gave Cashel a 0-5 lead at the interval. 

The second half was a close struggle of great misses, the greatest without a doubt from Paudie O'Brien, who had an outstanding chance of a goal ten minutes from the end. By the closing minutes Cashel were three points in front in a scoreline of 0-9 to 0-6. This final period was fought with great tension and there was always the possibility that Midleton might get the major and deprive Cashel of victory. But they failed and a jubilant crowd of Cashel supporters and players celebrated one of the most memorable victories ever achieved by the club. The unbridled emotion was due not only to winning a first provincial club championship but to the fact that the victory was achieved over a Cork team. 

Again the victory was forged from the fighting qualities of all the players but the performance of Pa Fitzell, Colm Bonnar, Michael Perdue, T.J. Connolly, John Ryan and John Grogan deserve special mention. 


After victory in Munster the next target was the All-Ireland club championship and the first step on the road was a long one - all the way to Ruislip, London to play English champions, Sean Treacys of London. The game was fixed for February 9 and there was great excitement, among players and supporters alike, at the thought of a weekend in London. 

Although a Cashel victory was anticipated the problem was motivating the team and preventing complacency which might prove fatal. It was known that the previous year's champions, St. Gabriel's, had come over to Galway and beaten Connacht champions, Kiltormer. Such a fate was devoutly to be avoided. 

In the event the game was no contest and revealed a vast gulf in the standard between to two teams. By the interval the writing was on the wall for the London men, with Cashel in front by 0-16 to 0-2. Cashel eased off somewhat in the second half and were still convincingly in front at the final whistle by 0-23 to 0-6. Again Tommy Grogan contributed greatly to the victory with ten points from placed balls. Others to shine included Timmy Moloney, who deputised for the injured Willie Fitzell, and T.J. Connolly, who scored four delightful points. Cashel rested a number of players in the second half, giving Declan McGrath, Sean Slattery and Joe Minogue a run in the process. 


Galway county champions, Kiltormer, were to provide memorable opposition in the All-Ireland semi-final which wasn't to be resolved before 210 minutes of hurling had elapsed. The games will be remembered for great struggles that interested not only the respective supporters of both teams but the people of Tipperary and Galway and the followers of hurling in the country at large. 

The first encounter between the sides was at Leahy Park, Cashel on February 23. The home side's expectations were very high but the players and their ardent supporters in a crowd of about nine thousand got the shock of their lives when superb hurling by the Galway champions gave them a deserved lead of eight points after twenty minutes. 

Cashel woke up to the fact that they had a fight on their hands and an opposition of quality that included players of the calibre of Conor Hayes, the Kilkenny brothers, Aidan Staunton, Brendan Dervan and Justin Campbell, all of whom had worn the Galway jersey in one grade or another. The home side gradually found their rhythm and hit a glorious patch shortly before the interval which yielded goals by Jamsie O'Donoghue and T.J. Connolly. As a result they trailed by only three points at half-time in a scoreline of 2-2 to 1-8. 

On the resumption Cashel had to be optimistic with the advantage of the wind and this was confirmed within ten minutes when Tommy Grogan with two points from frees and brother John with a point from play evened up the score. It seemed as if it was going to be Cashel's day but in the remainder of the half the sides scored only two points each to give a final tally of Cashel 2-7 Kilcormer 1-10. Both sides missed chances that might have been and in the end the opinion of neutrals was that it was a fitting result. 


Ballinasloe was the venue for the replay on March 8. The feeling in Cashel was that the home side could never play as poorly again and there was hope of a much improved performance. On the other hand there was an awareness that Kiltormer were a fine side capable of a fine brand of hurling with strong-running forwards capable of taking on a defence and that it would take a top performance by Cashel to dispose of the Galway side. 

The day could not have been better and Duggan Park was in excellent condition. Again the expectations were high and the supporters travelled in great numbers. In the end Cashel were extremely lucky when Kiltormer wing-forward, Damian Curley drove a last minute 20 metre free wide and gave Cashel a third chance. 

On the other hand the result was a tremendous tribute to the resilience of the Cashel side who came back from five point deficits on no less than three times in the course of the game! Cashel had to line out without John Grogan and he was replaced by Timmy Moloney, who made a major contribution to Cashel's display. Although well forewarned from the game in Cashel, the King Cormac's were slow to start and were five points behind after fifteen minutes. Not until the 16th minute did Cashel score, a kicked goal by T.J. Connolly. This rallied the visitors and brought them within a point of Kiltormer, 0-6 to 1-2, at the interval. 

Full of determination Cashel took the field for the second half but again it was Kiltormer who took the initiative. In a game in which scores were at a premium Kiltormer went three points in front after ten minutes. Then disaster for Cashel when a Timmy Moloney penalty was stopped. This was followed by two more points for the home side which restored their five point lead. Then when heads began to drop Cashel were awarded a penalty for a foul on Cormac Bonnar and this time Timmy Moloney found the net. This score inspired Cashel and they looked as if they might make it after Tommy Grogan and Timmy Moloney brought them level. In the end there were missed chances on both sides but for Cashel there was a T.J. Connolly effort that might just have been. At the final whistle the score was Cashel 2-5 Kiltormer 0-11. 

The only time Cashel led in this marathon contest was after two minutes of the first half of extra time when Tommy Grogan point put them ahead by 2-6 to 0-11. The omens looked good. However, they flattered only to deceive. During the following ten minutes the Kiltormer men came storming back to score 1-3 and open up a five point lead for the third time in this incredible contest. Cashel had to rise from the dead for a third time and did so in heroic fashion by scoring three points, two from Timmy Moloney and one from Tommy Grogan, during the three minutes before half-time to leave them only two points adrift, 1-14 to 2-9. The final half is a short tale to relate. In a gripping finish Cashel scored twice, after six minutes when T.J. Connolly hit a point and a few minutes alter when Tommy Grogan hit a marvellous leveller from a free. In the end Cashel had to endure the agony of Damian's Curley's close-in free and the ecstacy of his miss. The final score was Cashe1 2-11 Kiltormer 1-14. 

Croke Park

The national headquarters on St. Patrick's Day ought to have been the occasion for the All-Ireland club final. Instead it was the venue for the third meeting of the inseparable twins. 

In the end it was a puck of a ball that separated the sides. With four minutes left and the sides level referee, Dickie Murphy of Wexford, gave a controversial free against John Grogan. The resultant long range free dropped right into the heart of the Cashel defence. Breaking behind the inner backline substitute, Tony Furey, raced after it. John Ryan came off his line to challenge him but Furey got his shot in and scored the goal that decided the marathon encounter. Cashel, who came back so often in previous encounters, just hadn't time. 

However, the game was won and lost in the first half when Cashel, with wind advantage and the backs playing exceptionally well, failed to capitalise on their territorial advantage and went in at half-time trailing by 1-3 to 0-5. 

During this period none of the Cashel forwards had scored from play. Raymie Ryan had hit two points from play, Conal Bonnar one from play and one from a free and Tommy Grogan from a free. 

Cashel had an uphill battle in the second half. After only nine minutes Kiltormer were ahead by 1-6 to 0-5 and Cashel's chances looked slim. But again, when chances looked their worst, Cashel came back. Tommy Grogan pointed a free. Brother John got a great goal in the thirteenth minute and Tommy put Cashel ahead a minute later with another free. Things were looking up for Cashel but again the omens were deceptive. Colm Bonnar went off with a suspected broken finger and he was to prove an unbearable loss and with ten minutes to go Aidan Staunton whipped over the levelling point for Kiltormer. Cormac Bonnar restored Cashel's lead only to see Sean Kelly erase it within a minute. This left the sides deadlocked at 1-8 each when Tony Furey struck his mortal blow four minutes to time. 

In the end one side had to lose but there was no consolation for the losers. They may have been honourable in defeat but there is no substitute for victory. It is a sad state of affairs but winning is the only thing. Congratulations to worthy champions, Kiltormer! 

In the six games played Cashel scored 8 goals 69 points and conceded 6 goals 48 points. The following is the list of the panel, with the number of their appearances and scores.

John Ryan (6), Tony Slattery (6). Pat O'Donoghue (6), Michael Perdue (6), Raymie Ryan (6),(0-2), Pat Fitzell (6), Conal Bonnar (6) (0-2), Colm Bonnar (capt.) (6) (0-2), Willie Fitzell (5). James O'Donoghue (5) (2-4), T.J. Connolly(6) (2-9), John Grogan (6) (1-7), Tommy Grogan (6) (1-35), Cormac Bonnar (6) (01), Ailbe Bonnar (6) (1-0), Timmy Moloney (3) and Sub (3) (1-7), Joe Minogue Sub. (2), Declan McGrath Sub. (3), Seanie Barron, Sean Slattery Sub. (1), Sean O'Donoghue Sub. (1), Joe O'Leary, Peter Fitzell, Ger Slattery, Sean Morrissey, Liam Devitt, Don Higgins.

Selectors: Brendan Bonnar, John Darmody, Justin McCarthy (Coach) Aongus Ryan. 


<span class="postTitle">G.A.A. Publications - 1993</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993 p.64

G.A.A. Publications - 1993

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993 p.64


Not a great year for books on the GAA in the county. In last year's piece I mentioned the imminent publication of Gaelic Games in Holycross-Ballycahill by Bob Stakelum. It was launched with due pomp and circumstance by Dr. Russell, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore in Holycross Abbey. That must have been a first to have a GAA book launched in a church. Of the print run of 600 copies over 500 are sold so if you haven't got a copy you should contact the author at 0504-43311. The book sells for £10 and has 406 pages.

The book is dedicated 'to the ladies of the parish who cater for our functions, wash togs and suffer in silence, as the menfolk get all the glory.' It traces the history of the club through the years of defeat up to the first county championship win in junior hurling in 1941. This was followed by the first senior hurling championship win in 1948. This team contained such stalwarts as Pat Stakelum, John Doyle, Bob Stakelum, Jack Dwyer, Ned O'Gorman and they were to play a major part in the revival of hurling glory in the county.

The book is interspersed with pen pictures of club greats, anecdotes from different periods and, of course, photographs. Naturally they are more plentiful in the second half of the book. The club's success at juvenile level, especially in the later decades, is generously covered. The final 30 pages are devoted to statistics and the final picture shows a joyful Declan Carr holding the Liam McCarthy cup aloft after the 1991 All-Ireland final.


Golden - Kilfeacle

It was hoped to have the Golden-Kilfeacle book ready for Christmas and it may still be. The final work towards bringing it to publication was held up for a number of weeks by the illness of the editor, Willie Ryan. The latter is now back on his feet and is hoping to have the book available in the very near future.


Match Programmes

Of all the programmes produced in the county during the year, pride of place must be given to the north final production on August 30. Containing no less than 78 pages it was excellent value for £1 and a tremendous tribute to Bord na nOg, who were responsible for it. The pages contain a fine mix of scholarly articles, personality profiles, potted club histories, player facts and interesting snippets. One of the latter to catch my eye was as follows. Arthur Young, during his tour of Ireland in the 18th century, visited Portroe. He witnessed a game of hurling and described it as a sort of cricket 'but instead of throwing the ball in order to knock down a wicket, the aim is to put it through a bent stick, the ends of which are stuck in the ground. In these matches they perform such feats of activity 'as ought to evidence the food they live on to be far from deficient in nourishment.'

This reminded me of a visit a couple of years ago to the Cricket Museum in the Lord's Ground, London, looking for ideas for the Centrefield Project at Thurles. Two things stuck in my mind from that visit. The first was that the cricket bat was originally a crooked bat and very similar in shape to hurleys that have survived from the 19th century. The bat retained this shape until the second half of the 18th century.

Why did it change? One explanation was as follows: 'The crooked bat became straight out of sheer expediency; wit and not morality was the cause. A curved bat, with the weight concentrated at the bottom, was necessary as a counter to the ancient underhand bowling, quick and along the ground ... As soon as Hambledon men bowled a length and used the air and caused the ball to rise sharply from the ground, a hockey stick sort of defence was of no avail, and so the shouldered narrow blade was evolved.' So, there you are!!

The second thing that struck me was that there was no control on the width of the bat until 1771. In that year at a match between Hambledon and Chertsey 'one Thomas 'Shock' White of Reigate did see fit and strode to the crease carrying a monster of a bat which was in fact wider than the wicket, and shocked everyone into acknowledging the absurdiry of there not being a ruling to prevent it. The Hambledon club were far from amused but they got the message and at the September meeting of their committee passed a resolution limiting the width of the cricket bat to four and a quarter inches.' And that was over two hundred years before the G.A.A. limited the goalie's hurley to five inches!



But, to get back to the north final programme. It also included a comprehensinve record of all the games played in the senior hurling championship, with tthe results and the scores. If one included the final, twenty senior hurling games were played in the division in 1992! No wonder their coffers are bulging.

Tipperary won three AlI- Irelands in field games in 1992, the hurling masters and minor and junior camogie. For the latter Croke Park produced a fine program with the teams in colour and pen pictures of the players. Because it was the first junior camogie All-Ireland won by Tipperary it has to be a collector's item. If you haven't got a copy you might try Croke Park or Marion Graham at 0504-44463.

Finally, Brendan Fullam, who prodused a best seller in 'Giants of the Ash' for the Christmas market last year is reputed to be working on a follow-up at the moment. A Westmeath friend was very annoyed that he omitted the famous Jobber McGrath from the 'Giants' and hopes that he'll be included in the sequel.




<span class="postTitle">Patsy Carroll</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993, pp 53-54

Patsy Carroll

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993, pp 53-54


One of my early memories is of a lazy-hazy Sunday afternoon at Rathcabbin sports in Mr. Brackek's field. There we were lying on the grass and watching a three mile race. There were only two contestants, Mick Cleary of Moneygall and local hero, Patsy Carroll. Cleary was in the lead from the early stage by up to about ten yards. Occasionally Carroll would make a burst to catch up but when he did so Cleary accelerated. I was disappointed when Cleary crossed the finishing line in front not knowing then that Patsy Carroll had won the three mile championship of Ireland at Ballinree, Co. Carlow a few days earlier and hadn't yet recovered from the ordeal.

My most recent meeting with the man was last August. As we drank tea he recounted the high and low points of his life. Then suddenly he was under staring orders again. This time it was no gun but the call of commitment to travel to Tullamore for a training session with the Offaly under-21 hurling team. Since 1983 he has been official masseur with the Offaly senior team and now with the under-21 side. Nothing unusual about that until you realise that Patsy Carroll is seventy years of age, having been born on 18th February 1922.


Athletic Greatness

The high period of his athletic achievement was between 1945 and 1951. In these seven years he won seven senior cross-country medals with the county, running under N.A.C.A rules. During that glorious period he was never outside the first twelve on All-Ireland day and was always in the scoring six, the only one to achieve that high level of consistency.

With no athletic ancestry Patsy first became interested in running when he joined the L.D.F. in the early forties and began to run in their races. They were later to become F.C.A. races. Crosscountry running was taking off in a big way at the time and 250 people took part in the first crosscountry race in Lorrha in January 1943. Mick Donoghue of Ballinderry won and Patsy came second. The race was out of Lorrha, up the Minister's Hill and around for four miles. According to Patsy there was great interest in running - people had little else to occupy their free time.

To cater for this growing interest St. Ruadhan's club was formed in 1944 and duly won the County Tipperary novice and junior cross-country championship. The novice was run in January and the scoring four were Francey and Mickey Hourigan, Syl King and Patsy Carroll. The junior was run the following month with the same four plus Paddy Hourigan and Tom Lambe.

They beat a great Nenagh squad captained by Jack Fitzelle, uncle of 'Pa' of Cashel fame. On the last Sunday of the month St. Ruadhan's went to Dunleer for the All-Ireland inter-club crosscountry junior championship and came sixth out of a field of over sixty teams.



The Annual Congress which was held at the end of the year, brought the inter-club All-Ireland to an end. From 1945 onwards teams for the inter-county were picked by trial. In January 1945 Patsy Carroll and Francey Hourigan, coming fourth and tenth respectively, qualified for the Tipperary team. As there was no Munster championship they went straight to Belfast for the All-Ireland junior inter-county on the third Sunday in February. There were three hundred starters and Tipperary, who had the first four home, had a runaway win. The four were John Joe Barry of Ballincurry, Patsy Carroll of St. Ruadhan's, Mick Blake of Coolquill and Gerry Kiely of Aherlow. The other two were Jack Fitzelle and Roddy Teehan of Moneygall.


Senior Success

Patsy Carroll qualified for the county senior team the same year, coming tenth in the trials at Littleton, despite having injured his foot with glass. The All-Ireland took place at Mount Merrion, Dublin and Tipperary beat a great Kildare team to take the senior title. The Lorrha man was the tenth man home and the fifth Tipperary man. For the next six years he was to play a major part in the county's continued success.

If one is to find a peak in Patsy Carroll's achievements it must be 1949. The list of his successes is phenomenal. He won the Southern Command three miles. He dead heated (both got gold medals) with Mick Cleary of Moneygall AC. in the Munster four miles. (Neither would let the other lose!) About 6,000 watched that race at Kanturk and the crowd included intrepid Lorrha supporters like Bobby Dillon, Joe Sutton, Jack Cleary, Tommy Carroll, Paddy Corcoran and Mick O'Meara of Roughan. Patsy won the Army three miles at the Curragh, after being runner-up in 1948, and was to be successful again in 1950. He also won the All-Ireland three miles at Carlow and was second in the national five mile championship run at Moneygall. Other sussesses were achieved at Moyglass and Galway. He was second in the Guinness four miles on a Saturday and won the three miles at Killaloe the following day.



There was little training as we know it today and less talk of pulled muscles, torn ligaments and groin strains. According to Patsy it was up to yourself to get fit. He did his day's work on the land and later worked for Bord na Mona. At the end of the day he went off running around Mr. Bracken's field. He used to take a drink but took the pledge from Fr. Clune about 1945. He remembers the latter with affection and in particular for his ability to cure people and the fierce set he had on Martin Luther! He had no coach but he did have a manager in the person of Denis O'Brien of Nenagh. He also had a physio, Tom Fallon of Templemore.

Getting around was a major chore. At the very north of the county Rathcabbin was far removed from places. For the trials in Littleton in 1945 he cycled to Nenagh, a distance of twentyfive miles, and got a lift with the Nenagh lads. He remembers cycling to Mountmellick, return journey, sixty miles, running, cycling home and dancing all night. Ah! when men were men!


Great Rivals

Because St. Ruadhan's club ceased to exist in 1946 Patsy Carroll joined Moneygall A.C. the following year and was to stay with them for most of his athletic career. The exception was 1949 when St. Flannan's Athletic club came into existence in Lorrha for one year. He remembers Moneygall as a very well run club under the guidance of Jim Ryan.

Another club man he admired was Mick Cleary. Other rivals he remembers with respect are Mick Blake and Gerry Kiely. He recalls with particular affection Martin Egan of Shanaglish, Co. Galway. For him the Healys of Coolcroo were very special people and looked after the runners very well in Belfast in 1945. He also reminisces about Jim Sweeney, Jack Caesar and Mick Ryan of Moyne.

Patsy is adamant that the most important person in his life is his wife, Celia. He married Celia Dowd of Ballymacegan in 1949 and the couple have five girls and two boys. He cherishes the warmth of a good home life particularly since his own childhood was blighted by the death of his only brother, Martin, at the age of three, his mother's death when he was only twelve years old and his father's blindness, the result of the belt of a caveson in the eye from a rearing horse. His own family haven't been free from suffering either with one of his sons suffering a serious head injury in 1983.


The G.A.A.

Patsy was always interested in the G.A.A. and played on the Lorrha junior team but, having taken the athletic road, stayed away from the hurling field to avoid injury. Becoming involved in physio at a very early stage he began rubbing Lorrha teams as early as 1948. In those days it was a mixture of olive oil and wintergreen and it's an odour I will never forget. I can vividly recall Patsy lashing it on and the smell filling the upstairs room in Foley's pub in Borrisokane during the early rounds of the 1956 championship. Patsy has an interesting point of view on all this rubbing. He believes that much of its success has got to do with belief in its efficacy!

As he continues rubbing today, whether in Offaly or Tipperary, Patsy Carroll can look back to a very successful and full life. He still believes in what the N.AC.A stand for, 32 county athletics. His reasoning is simple and practical: this country is too small a unit to be divided for any sport and our rare successes in the international field gives substance to this point of view. He represents the amateur ideal at its noblest, a life of honest endeavour in the field of sport with little or no material reward to show for such effort. But he does have this reward, the knowledge that he was once great and that he proved that greatness by winning numerous All-Ireland athletic medals.



<span class="postTitle">The Senior Hurling Championship - 1993</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993, pp 16-19

The Senior Hurling Championship - 1993

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1993, pp 16-19


Toomevara bridged a thirty-two year gap when they captured the Dan Breen Cup for the first time since 1960 in a thrilling county final replay at Semple Stadium on November 8. In doing so they beat their opponents of over three decades ago, Thurles Sarsfields, and took the premier hurling trophy to the north division for the first time since Borrisoleigh's triumph in 1986. It was Toomevara's eleventh senior title. 

The long wait had made victory all the sweeter and the success was greeted with an explosion of joy and celebration by the supporters at the game and later in the evening in a crowded village, where the formalities lasted for almost an hour. Among the many speakers was Neil Williams, who is regarded as having played a major part in the revival of hurling in the parish, which culminated in this great victory. In the course of his remarks he said: 'There was a warrant out for the arrest of Dan Breen and Toomevara executed that warrant. We'll keep him in captivity for quite some time. He's home to stay'. The tremendous spirit, skill and determination shown by the team, especially in the second half, and the fact that the elders on the team are a mere twenty-seven years of age, none of them having been born when the club had their previous victory, may well prove Neil to be prophetic. 

Divisional Finals

However, a year is a long time in hurling as Cashel found to its chagrin after scaling the heights in 1991. In the first of the divisional finals, played at Bansha on July 27, the 'Kings' failed to make it three-in-a-row before a spirited performance by a Declan Ryan-inspired Clonoulty-Rossmore, who went out easy winners by 2-15 to 1-11. 

The south final was played at CLonmel on August 16. On that day Ballingarry returned to the throne of south hurling for the first since 1987, when they defeated title holders and neighbours, Killenaule, by 2-12 to 1-10. Star of the encounter was captain and 'Man of the Match' award winner, Don Lyons, who had a spectacular game, scoring seven points from play for the winners. 

On the same day there was a replay of the mid final at Boherlahan. In this LoughmoreCastleiney staged a sensational recovery when they came back from ten points down with nine minutes to play and grabbed an injury-time equaliser to take the game to extra time. During the extra period they swept Thurles Sarsfields off their feet to win by 3-18 to 2-14. In the drawn game on the previous Sunday Thurles Sarsfields had survived by virtue of a last minute equaliser from centrefielder, Brendan Carroll to leave the scoreline Loughmore-Castleiney 1-9 Thurles Sarsfields 0-12. 

MacDonagh Park, Cloughjordan was the venue for the north fmal on August 30. Eire Og, Nenagh ended a twenty· year wait when they trounced a tired and ineffective Lorrha by 1-18 to 0-8. Toomevara, the Hogan League winners, qualified for second north spot in the county quarter-finals, when they recovered from a disastrous start which saw them trail by 3-3 to 0-1, to beat a hapless Lorrha side by 1-14 to 3-5 at Nenagh on September 9.


Plenty of Controversy

The first two quarter-final games, between the mid and the west representatives, were fixed for August 23, the Sunday after the replayed mid-final. Or so the advertisement for the game stated in the 'Tipperary Star'. At a meeting of the county fixtures committee on August 18 the representatives of the mid board claimed a provision was agreed to at a previous county fixtures meeting that the quarter final would go back to August 30 in the event of a draw. The claim was rejected by county chairman, Michael Maguire, and, after the mid delegates walked out, the fixture was re-affirmed for August 23. 

On the following day the two mid clubs secured eight signatures, as per rule to seek a full meeting of the county board to have their case heard. County chairman, Michael Maguire, turned down the request and the clubs decided to appeal his refusal to the Munster Coincil. On the Friday before August 23 fixture Loughmore-Castleiney and Thurles SarsfIelds announced they would not be fulilling the fixture. 

The mid board issued a detailed statement on the affair on August 24 in the course of which they reiterated their claim that a proviso was agreed, to put back the quarter-final games to August 30 " in the event of a mid draw, at the county fixtures meeting of July 28. On the night following the statement a meeting of the county fixtures meeting decided to throw the two clubs out of the county championship because of their failure to play the quarter-finals as fixed. 

Phoney War

After the events of August 24 a kind of phoney war developed. The mid teams were left is a limbo situation with an appeal to the Munster Council pending. Quite a lot of anti-county chairman propaganda emerged from scribes favourable to the mid stand. A county board meeting on September 14 did not discuss the matter. Instead it was announced that a special meeting of the board would take place the following Monday to deal with the matter. 

At the special meeting of the board on September 21 the two clubs were reinstated at a cost. Thurles Sarsfields and Loughmore-Castleiney were each fined £2,000 as was the mid board for allegedly misleading the clubs. During the course of a lengthy meeting chairman, Michael Maguire, continuously resisted impassioned pleas from several delegates to allow the mid clubs take part in the quarterfinals. Yet, he failed to bite the bullet but instead kept coming back to the delegates in the hope of finding a way around such an unpopular decision. Eventually after a recess and continued pleaing, he left the decision to a vote by the members. The result was a narrow 35-32 vote to allow the mid clubs back in the competition and the vote in favour may hwe been achieved by a crucial intervention in favour of leniency by South secretary, Micheal O'Meara and chairman, Jimmy Collins, near the end of the discussion. Their intervention may have swung neutral south deleales in favour of reinstatement 

Many issues

The whole affair raised many issues. The most obvious one was the need to have minutes kept of the proceedings at county fixtures meetings. There was, of course, the flouting of the county board's authority and this was the third occasion that the offenders came from the mid division. What role did the mid board play in the affair? Did it "mislead" the clubs as Pat Cullen of Loughmore Castleiney seemed to imply. What part did personalities play in the affair and how big a part did the "I'll get you" mentality surface. But, there were even greater issues. The major one was the power of the club. In this case the clubs put the gun to the head of the county board - by withdrawing from the championship and left it in an extremely difficult position. Should it take firm action and dismiss the two teams or should it take the strength of the clubs' feelings on the matter into consideration? In this case the county chairman took firm action and then relented. As Noel Morris pointed out at the special board meeting Lorrha took similar action effectively in 1984. There is also the other side of this coin, the attitude of the clubs who will gain from the suspension of clubs. In the case of Clonoulty and Cashel there was an element of blackmail. It was hinted to them that if they took the games they would be going against tradition in the matter. In the event both sides decided to back the county chairman. Traditionally clubs have not taken games and this puts board decisions in an impossible position. 


The first of the quarter-finals were played at Semple Stadium on September 13 between the teams form the south and the north. The better of the two was the Toomevara-Ballingarry confrontation. The north side had qualified only four days previously when they beat Lorrha in the play-off between the league winners and the championship runners-up. They showed a lack of urgency in their play and whereas they were ahead for most of the game they could never shake off a determined Ballingarry side. Toomevara went ahead in the first quarter, were dragged back to level after twenty minutes but were in front by 2-4 to 0-6 at the interval. In the second half they continued in front despite some bad shooting and had five points to spare, 2-9 to 0-10 at the final whistle in spite of considerable late pressure from the south champions. 

The second game saw Eire og, Nenagh coast to an easy victory against a very poor Killenaule side. After some early difficulties the north side established their superiority, were in front by 1-8 to 0-2 at the interval and were easy winners by 3-14 to 0-7 in the end.


Mid v West

The other quarter-finals, delayed by controversy, were eventually played at Boherlahan on September 27. The two mid teams came to the fray with the support of a huge and partisan crowd that was going to give the west, and the chairman who came from there, the answer they deserved. 

On the day the displays of Thurles Sarsfields and Loughmore-Castleiney deserved the successes they won. In the first game Sarsfields were easily the better side in the first half but failed to translate their advantage into scores and at halftime the sides stood level at three points each. West champions, Clonoulty-Rossmore, were hoping to lift their game in the second half and looked placed to succeed but their forwards lacked penetration and they wasted possession just as the mid men had done in the first half. In the end there was only a point between the sides in a low scoreline of 0-6 to 0-5 in favour of Thurles. 

In the second game Loughmore-Castleiney gave a superb performance and defeated Cashel by six points in a scoreline of 2-12 to 2-6. The difference between the teams was the hunger and zest of the mid champions in contrast with the listless performance of the Cashel team. Loughmore hunted everything with a fierce appetite and harried their opponents at every opportunity. Within five minutes the mid team led by 1-2 to nil. 

Cashel came back to level by the twentieth minute but Loughmore were ahead by 1-5 to 1-3 at interval. With ten minutes to go Loughmore had stretched their lead to double scores, 2-10 1-5 but Cashel got 1-1 to their opponents 0-2 in the final minutes to give the scoreboard a more respectable look. In spite of Loughmore-Castleiney's super- iority Cashel could only regret their dismal failure from pIaced balls in the first half and their craze for futile solo running the second half when the quick delivery into the inside forward line might have paid greater dividends. 

The semi-finals

After a superb display at Boherlahan Loughmore-Castleiney must have gone into their semi-final game against Toomevara on October 11 at Semple Stadium with reasonable confidence. However, whatever happened during the intervening two weeks had something of a debilitating effect on the team because the sparkle was not in evidence and overall they gave extremely tame performance. In fact, it as a very poor game with the last minutes lifted a little by the excitement of Toomevara coming from level to win by two points in an exciting finish Loughmore had a two point advantage 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time. Toomevara levelled early in the second half and the sides were locked at nine points each with a few minutes to go. During the final minute Toomevara got two points to win by 0-11 to 0-9. 

The second semi-fmal was more exciting and saw Thurles Sarsfields came from three points down with about five minutes remaining to draw with Eire 6g on a scoreline of 1- 12 each . The north champions led by a point at the interval, 1-7 to 1-6 and played the better hurling for most of the second half only to lose their advantage in the closing minutes. 

The replay was at Cloughjordan on the following Sunday and from the throw-in to the final whistle Sarsfields superiority was never in doubt. They led by 1-8 to 1-2 at the interval, the Eire Og goal coming from a Michael Cleary penalty. The second half became a parade for Thurles and their nine point superiority, 2-15 to 2-6, at the final whistle was no less than they deserved. To underline the Thurles superiority Nenagh failed to score from play until ten minutes into the second half and their second goal also came from a penalty. 

The County final 

As a result of their spectacular victory over Eire 6g at Cloughjordan, Thurles Sarsfields were slight favourites going into the county final at Semple Stadium on November 1. It was an intriguing contest in many ways. not least of which was that neither team held divisional honours. On the other hard each side represented a proud hurling tradition in the county with the Blues and the Greyhounds among the finest hurling pedigrees. Toomevara were appearing in their first final since 1961 while Thurles last reached this stage in 1979. 

The crowd of about 10,000 did not get the kind of game they expected. The first half was a dull uninspiring contest at the end of which Sarsfields led by 0-4 to 0-3. In the second half Toomevara began to take control and not even a goal by Seamus Quinn in the ninth minute after the interval could halt their momentum and they scored five points without reply from Sarsfields. With three points up. the wind behind them and only eight minutes to go they appeared set for victory. But. inexplicably. they failed to drive home their advantage and Thurles came back to score three points in the final minutes and earn an unexpected draw. In the end it was a major disappointment for the north men to have apparent victory elude their grasp in the final minutes. The final score was Sarsfields 1-8 Toomevara 0-11. 

The Replay

To many experts it appeared as if the men from the north had let slip the opportunity of bridging a 32 year gap. However, Toomevara went into the replay a week later with an increased confidence in their ability and they expressed that confidence in a much improved display. Yet Sarsfields had a point to spare at the interval in a scoreline of 1-4 to 0-6. their goal a fortuitous one by Connie Maher from a melee in the front of the goal. In the second half Toomevara's superiority became more pronounced but they were never able to pull out of the danger zone chiefly due to a tenacious defence by the Thurles backline, especially Michael Maher. Seamus O'Shea and Seamus Maher, until he retired with an injury. In fact many believed that the performance of the veteran, Michael Maher, deserved the Man of the Match award. 

But there were sterling performances at the other end of the field also and as the game wore on we saw some superb defending by Declan O'Meara, George Friend and Man of the Match. Philip Shanahan, who was just half the age of the leading contender from the opposite side. The quality of the Toomevara defence can be seen in the paucity of Sarsfields' scores in the second half, a mere two points. The last ten minutes saw trojan efforts on both sides to gain the verdict and the excitement was intense up to final whistle, with only a puck of a bell between the sides, Toomevara 0-12 Thurles Sarsfields 1-6. It has been another day for defences and the game confirmed the low level of forward power in the county at the present. 


Toomevara: Jody Grace, Pat Meagher, Rory Brisbane, Michael O'Meara (Capt.), George Friend, Declan O'Meara, Philip Shanahan, Pat King, Tony Delaney, Tommy Dunne, Michael Murphy. Terry Dunne, Liam Flaherty, Liam Nolan, Tommy Carroll. Subs: Michael Nolan for Flaherty, Kevin McCormack for Carroll. Also: Sean Nolan, Kenneth McDonnell, John Ryan, Jimmy Dunne. Brendan Spillane, Kevin Delaney, Owen Cuddihy. Selectors: Fr. Michael Casey, Jim McDonald, Frank Ryan. Coach: P.J. Whelehan. 

Thurles Sarsfields: Pat McCormack, Michael Maher, Tommy Maher, Michael Sparrow, Jim Moloney, Seamus O'Shea, Seamus Maher, John Dorney, Liam Duggan, Eamon Walshe (Cap.t), Brendan Carroll, Connie Maher. Ml McCormack, Paddy Maher, Seamus Quinn. Subs: Clive Hanrahan for Moloney. Graham O'Connor for Walshe, Michael Hanrahan for S. Maher. Also: Kieran Carroll, Lar Barrett, Tony Coman, Andy Rossiter, P. J. Kavanagh, Tony O'Meara, John Kennedy, Kevin Cummins. Selectors: Tom Barry (coach), Denis Maher, Liam O'Donnchu.



<span class="postTitle">G.A.A. Publications - 1992</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp. 157-158

G.A.A. Publications - 1992

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp. 157-158


By the time this Yearbook appears the history of Holycross-Ballycahill by Bob Stakelum will probably have made the shops. Or so Bob hopes. At the time of this writing the book is with the printers and it is intended to have it in the shops by Christmas. It will be about 400 pages long and will cost £10. There will be a print run of six hundred. Well done, Bob, but we shall have to wait until next year for a review. 

Another book that is in the offing is the history of Golden-Kilfeacle by Willie Ryan and a FAS team. I asked Willie recently would he have it out before Charlie goes and he told me he was in no rush. I'm not quite sure if he meant Charlie or the book! Good work, Willie. 

The Galtee Rovers' book, which has been in the pipeline for some time hasn't yet appeared. Initially I heard it was only a financial matter and as soon as the finances were right the book would appear. I hope so, because with author Seamus McCarthy the new manager of the county senior football team and hell bent to bring a Munster title to the county, there won't be much time for writing. 

The great hurling story of Thurles Sarsfields is also in a spot of bother. It was believed that the late Donie O'Gorman had all the work completed but it now transpires that such was not the case. Quite a bit of research and writing has to be completed before the book will see the light of day. The task is being undertaken by Liam O'Donnchu. 

Finally, on the county scene, the history of underage games in Tipperary should be out around Christmas. The book has been completed and is with the printers but whether it will make the shops by Christmas is not yet certain. It will contain over two hundred pages and about eighty photographs and it covers the organisation of juvenile games in the county since the first attempt in 1928 to organise them. 

The Hogan Stand

G.A.A. magazines don't have a long life, for some reason. There are a few notable exceptions, but, in general, there is not the same loyalty among young people to a G.A.A. magazine as there is to a soccer magazine like Shoot, for instance. Maybe it's the quality of the production and the stronger appeal of international sports stars. 

A new G.A.A. magazine hit the newstands on March 22 and it is still making G.A.A. deadlines. Called the Hogan Stand, it is subtitled 'Your Weekly G.A.A. Magazine' and it is published by Lynn Publications, Creevagh, Crossakiel, Kells, Co. Meath. It claimed to be the first weekly G.A.A. magazine and promsed to be regular, colourful and informative. 

Since the beginning it has given a good coverage of inter-county affairs and now, with the decline in inter-county activity, it is concentrating its attention to counties and schools and lesser areas of G.A.A. activity. Its chief contributor is Eugene McGee and it has a number of guest writers from different counties. One of the most regular is John McIntyre, the former Tipperary centre back. 

Overall it appears to be going okay with a plentiful supply of advertising, without which such productions cannot flourish. It gives a weekly results section and a good supply of pictures in colour and black and white. It sells for £1 and appears on Thursdays. 

Gael Sport was always a colourful and professionally produced annual for young people, which hits the shops at Christmas. Since October it has appeared as a monthly and quite attractive it looks. It appears to have the qualities that will appeal to younger people with the emphasis on colour, action shots, short pieces on players and excitement in general. There was a very big Tipperary focus in the first issue and camogie and Leitrim receive emphasis in the second production.

It should do well and is attractively priced at £1. However, it appears to have fallen down on distribution. The shops in Cashel hadn't heard of it. One magazine shop in Clonmel had heard of it but hadn't received it while a second had. If you're going to sell a magazine you should make it easy for the public to go and buy it. Another crib, I had to search the November issue to find our where it came from, who was the editor and information that should be slap bang inside the front cover. And, what really annoyed me was the civil service mentality of the following statement: 'Gael Sport is an official publication of C.L.G. but its published views are not necessarily those of the Association'. It reminds me of Dev sending the delegation to London as plenipotentiaries but insisting that they report back before they signed anything. 

Giants of the Ash

I bought my copy of this book by banker, Brendan Fullam, a couple of days ago and haven't had sufficient time to study it. Most of you have read the reviews and they have been many. The reason for the publicity may be because it's the first of its kind, seventy-five profiles of the greats in hurling based on interviews taken over a period of ten years. Tipperary is represented by Liam Devaney, Jim Devitt, John Doyle, Tommy Doyle, Martin Kennedy, John Maher, Michael Maher, Tony Reddin, Johnny Ryan, Pat Stakelum and Tommy Treacy. 

Each profile begins with quotations from the interview with the player. In the case of Jim Devitt it begins: 'The game of hurling is a noble art of the best field game, but I am sorry to say it has lost some of its basic skills, such as ground hurling, the drop puck, and the clash of the ash as the centrefields fought in the air for possession'. There is more and the account goes on to give Jim's career in hurling. 

Each piece is captioned by the name of the player, his years playing at inter-county level, the name of the player's club and county and the player's signature. This is a major work with black and white photographs of the players and some colour pictures as well. The book has been so well received that a sequel is planned which would include more contemporary players. For instance, Jimmy Doyle isn't included. My only crib is the price of the book, £15.95, which is a bit saucy, even if it is a well produced work of 254 pages by the Wolfhound Press. 

Have a good read! 



<span class="postTitle">Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook Comes of Age</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp 140-141

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook Comes of Age

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp 140-141


The 1991 Yearbook was the twenty-first edition of the publication to reach the public. Twenty of these have been produced by committees of the County Board. The exception was the 1978 edition which was produced by a commercial company for the County Board. The production evoked so much criticism that this method wasn't tried again. 

The first Yearbook appeared in 1970. Prior to that two editions of a commercial production came out in the 1960s. The 1970 Yearbook covered the events of that year and the same was the case for the 1971 Yearbook. 

The third edition was called the 1973 Yearbook and that has been the practice since then with the Yearbook recording the events of the previous year. The exception of this practice was in 1984. The 1984 Yearbook covered the events of 1983. 

When it came to the production of the Centenary Year book the committee decided it couldn't very well be called the 1985 Yearbook and called it the Centenary Yearbook. So if you are a collector there are no 1972 and 1985 Yearbooks. 

On the matter of collection, to be the owner of all twenty-one editions would be to have a very fine collection indeed. I know of three people with such a collection and if there are more they should cherish and mind the same. 

First Editor

The first editor was Gerry Slevin of Borrisokane, then reporting Gaelic games for the "Guardian" and now the editor of that newspaper. The first edition cost 5/- or 25p. and had eighty-four pages. The 1991 Yearbook contained 184 pages and cost £4. 

Gerry Slevin continued to edit the Yearbook up to and including 1977 when he moved to the "Clare Champion". 

There was a problem with the 1978 edition and it was eventually produced commercially. 

As a result of the outcry against the 1978 edition the County Board set up a proper Yearbook Committee under the chairmanship of Seamus O'Riain and secretary, Martin O'Connor. (Seamus O'Riain had been the inspiration behind the first Yearbook, having been county chairman at that time). The joint editors were Bill O'Donnell (Divot) and John O'Grady (Culbaire). The remainder of the committee included present county chairmen, Mick McGuire, Patrick Mullins, Seamus Leahy and Patrick McLoughlin. The set-up established in that year has remained essentially the same to-the present. 


The first seven editions of the Yearbook were printed by the "Guardian" newspaper. The 1978 edition was printed in Dublin. Under the new Yearbook Committee the "Limerick Leader" did the printing in 1979 and 1980. There was a move to the Wellbrook Press, Freshford in 1981 and they printed the book until 1986. The latter year saw the first introduction of colour. There was a move to the "Kilkenny People" in 1987, when the Yearbook calendar made its first appearance, and the printing has been done there since. 

A Record

In his forword to the first edition, county chairman, Seamus O'Riain stated the aim of the Yearbook as follows: "In these pages we try to recall to our readers the highlights of the G.A.A. year in Tipperary". That aim remains essentially the same to this day. What the years have seen has been a more extensive coverage of these highlights. Many readers will recall the saturation coverage given to the All-Ireland victory in the 1990 edition. 

The coverage has also been extended to handball, camogie and Scor. It would be true to say that the Yearbook today is very much a comprehensive record of everything that took place in the county during the year. So much is done every year to improve the comprehensivenes of the production. The results section will be a valuable source of information for future historians. Another section that has grown in latter years is the obituary notices. In the 1991 edition there were no less than 27 entries. 

Special articles

Results and accounts of matches can be boring. Another aim of the committee is to include special articles on G.A.A. history and personalities from the past. In the 1991 edition there were articles on Jimmy Kennedy, the Walls of Carrick and two historical pieces on the election of Paddy O'Keeffe as Secretary of the G.A.A. in 1929 and on Emly men in Hayes's Hotel at the 1884 meeting. Such articles extend the appeal of the Yearbook and give it an extra value. 


There is one aspect of the Yearbook that has improved out of all ends - the photographic coverage. The first edition in 1970 had twenty-four pictures in all, less than camogie alone received in the 1991 edition. The latter Yearbook has nearly 350 pictures, surely an incredible number. Whereas many of them are formal poses of teams, quite a number are delightfully informal. On page seven there is one of the three selectors, Donie, Babs and John O'Donoghue, staring at something with their mouths open. There's another of Nicky English and Fr. Mick O'Brien after the Munster final with Nicky very much in need of a tan. There's a great one of the Senator on page fifteen and one of a very perplexed senior football team on page twenty-five, and who would blame them! 

Finally, there's Sean O'Driscoll, that inimitable collector of G.A.A. bric a brac, who has been giving us bits from his collection for the past few years. He gives a decade by decade view of things G.A.A. For instance he tells us in the 1991 edition that the crossbar was lowered from ten feet to eight and throwing the hurley was made illegal in 1901. 

Overall, an emporium for the G.A.A. enthusiast, a collection of records for the future historian and a very healthy publication going on twenty two years old. 



<span class="postTitle">Feile na nGael - 1971-1991</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp 83-84

Feile na nGael - 1971-1991

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp 83-84


Feile na nGael came of age in 1991 and it was only fitting that the celebrations should be held in County Tipperary. It was here, twenty-one years before that the three men of foresight and vision, Tomas O Baroid, Seamus O Riain and Eamon de Stafort, thought up the idea of a festival of hurling for young people from all over the country.

The format of events on the weekend of June 21-23 was very similar to that of 1971, but the programme was more extensive over the previous two weeks. The first event was the official opening of the Feile Exhibition in Hayes's Hotel on June 8. It is worth noting that the co-ordinator of this project was Willie Corbett of Drombane, who had performed the same task back in 1971.

The official launch of Feile took place the following day and it was performed by Uachtaran C.L.G. Peadar O Cuinn. On Monday, June 10, the visitation of Primary Schools in the county by G.A.A. and R.T.E. personalities began and continued during the week. Tuesday saw the divisional finals of the Feile Skillstar Competition. On Sunday the All-Ireland final of the Feile Poc Fada competition and the Camogie County Skillstar Competition took place.

The number of events increased during the second week. Monday saw the county finals of the Tipperary Primary Schools Competition. On Tuesday the county final of the Skillstar Competition took place at Semple Stadium. There was a gala night for the Primary Schools at Hayes's Hotel on Wednesday with the final of the Table Quiz Competition. Thursday saw the arrival of teams and officials from all over Ireland to centres at Nenagh, Thurles, Tipperary, Cashel and Clonmel. There was a Golf Slogadh at Thurles Golf Club on Friday and the first round games got under way. The games continued through Saturday and the finals were played on Sunday.

No President

For the previous ten years President Hillery had never missed a Feile. Now in retirement he was invited for the official opening of the exhibition. President Robinson had been invited on the Sunday for the finals but had a previous engagement and was unable to attend. Without the presence of the President, the event lacked some of the pomp and circumstance of previous events.

Despite that Sunday, June 23 was a very successful day. All the teams and bands assembled at Semple Stadium on Sunday morning for Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Dr. Clifford. Afterwards there was the Féile Parade, which included over twenty bands, through the streets of the town. The teams then returned to Semple Stadium for the main events of the day, the finals. Before the games began, the assembled boys were addressed by Ard Stiuirthoir Liam O Maolmhichil. He told them that by their presence they were very important people as they were the representatives of over 200,000 young people who played our games in the four provinces. 'The disciplined, colourful and vibrant array is a source of satisfaction to all of us, but you mean more than that in that you symbolise our past, you represent the whole great Association of today and you are our future', he added.


Durlas Og were hoping to do well in Division I and repeat their victory of 1990 but they were beaten by Na Piarsaigh of Cork in their third match and failed to qualify. The Cork champions won out the division. Ballingarry performed very well before being beaten in the semi-final.

Borrisoleigh were beaten in the final of Division II. Tipperary teams were rather unlucky in this section, with no less than three of the semi-finalists coming from the county. The other two were St. Mary's and Arravale Rovers. After a promising opening half in the final Borrisoleigh succumbed to a much stronger, Horeswood, Co. Wexford side and were beaten by 2-7 to 1-2.

Division III provided an all-Tipperary final. Ballygalget, Cahir, Fethard and Cashel made it to the semi-finals with Cahir and Fethard coming through. This all-South final provided great excitement with Fethard winning decisively in the end by 4-3 to 0-5 and reversing the result in the south championship.

No Tipperary team reached the semi-final stage in Division IV but there was another all-Tipperary final in Division V. In this game Sean Treacy's proved too strong for Newcastle and won by 4-2 to 1-2.

Overall then a reasonably successful Feile for Tipperary teams. Not so much success in handball or camogie. In the former Silvermines were beaten in the final of Division 3 and Roscrea won Division 5 of the camogie competitions.

Some Bests

At the conclusion of the grand parade on the Sunday a number of prizes were awarded, Navan O'Mahony's were voted the best dressed hurling team. Loughmorc-Castleiney won the best banner in Tipperary and Birr got the best visiting banner. The best dressed team in camogie was won by Loughmore-Castleiney. The best banner in the county wait to Uppcrchurch-Drombane and the best visiting banner was won by Ballyboden-St. Enda's, Dublin.

The National Executive of Feile na nGael 1991 was as follows: chairman – Pádraig MacFloinn, Down, secretary, Pádraig P Guthrie, Clare, Donal Hickey, Dublin, Eamonn MacMahon, Antrim, John O'Connell, Cork, Jim Whelan, Wicklow.

The Tipperary Executive was: chairman, Donal Shanahan, Toomevara, secretary, Denis Floyd, Newport, programme, Seamus J. King, Cashel, parade, Liam Ó Donnchú, Thurles, fields/referees, Liam McGrath, Holycross-Ballycahill, schools, Eugene Ryan, Moneygall, skills, James Gleeson, Templederry, handball, Ken Conway, Clonmel, camogie, Marion Graham, Littleton, catering, Eleanor O'Connell, Thurles and P, J. Harrington, Upperchurch-Drombane, Tommy Kelly, Kickhams, museum, Willie Corbett, Upperchurch-Drombane.


<span class="postTitle">Pat Fox</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp 17-18

Pat Fox

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp 17-18


The announcement in October that Pat Fox had been chosen as "Tipperary Person of the Year 1991" by the Tipperary Association in Dublin was received with much satisfaction by the vast number of people in the county. It was seen as a fitting recognition for a player who has given long and sterling service to Tipperary hurling in three decades.

The statement issued by the Tipperary Association said: "His marvellous displays in this year's Munster and All-Ireland hurling finals made him a person apart in the Premier County and a worthy recipient of the Tipperary Personality Award for 1991. Arguably the best hurling forward in 1991, his unique ability to conjure scores led Tipperary to its 24th All-Ireland senior hurling title."

A Culmination

To call this award a culmination is not to imply that Pat Fox is at the end of his days. Far from it! His dedication and commitment are such that one can safely bet that the thirty-year old Eire Og, Annacarty man has a number of years of hurling left in him for the nineties. But, the award must surely be seen as a high point in the recognition of a hurling wizard, who has been honoured in many ways over many years.

He has been the recipient of virtually all the awards that can come the way of a top class hurler. He was awarded the RTE 'Man of the Match' Award for his display in the 1991 All-Ireland. This display, which saw him score five points, was no flash in the pan. He was also voted the Most Consistent Player of the Year for 1991. He has also at different times received the Player of the Month Award, Jury's Player of the Week and the Man of the Match Award. He received two Cidona Awards in 1981 and 1989 and got All-Star Awards in 1987 and 1989. There is probably no greater racing certainty than that Pat will pick up a third All-Star Award this year. Some of his admirers would like to see him end the year with the most prestigious of all awards, the Texaco Award. He is probably a short odds favourite for that also.

Three Decades

Pat's hurling career stretches over three decades and he has won All-Irelands in the seventies, eighties and nineties. Over that time he has played in a variety of positions. When he played minor for the county for the first time in 1978 it was at left corner-forward. Tipperary were beaten 1-14 to 3-6 by Cork in the Munster final. Two other survivors from that team are Bobby Ryan and Donie O'Connell.

Still a minor the following year, Pat played at centre-forward on the team that lost to Cork by 1-8 to 2-4 at the semi-final stage. So Pat came through the inter-county minor grade without a Munster or All-Ireland medal. He had some consolation for these years when he won a county junior hurling medal with Eire Og and an under-21 hurling medal with Cappawhite/Eire Óg in 1977.


Pat came on to the under-21 panel in 1979 and was to be on it for four years and three All-Irelands. A sub during the earlier stages of the championship, he played centrefield against Galway in the All-Ireland final at Portlaoise and won his first All-Ireland in a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-9. Flowery Ryan was his partner and Michael Doyle was at full-forward.

Two more All-Irelands were to follow in 1980 and 1981. The first of these two was won against Kilkenny at Waterford in a score of 2-9 to 0-14. Pat was now at corner back and at full was Cormac Bonnar. Bobby Ryan was centre forward and Donie O'Connell was full. Pat was in the same position in 1981 when Kilkenny were beaten once again at Waterford, this time by 2-16 to 1-10. Bobby Ryan and Donie O'Connell were in the same positions as in the previous year and Nicky English was wing-forward.

To have won three consecutive All-Irelands was a most satisfactory achievement. To throw away the chance of a fourth in 1982 was a big disappointment for Pat. He was again at corner back and the team included no less than eleven of the 1981 All-Ireland winning side. As well, no less than seven players were on the senior team. Plenty of preparation was made for the first championship outing against Limerick on June 25 and all was set for what was thought to be an easy victory.

From the beginning of the game problems abounded, especially in attack. Tipperary were behind by 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval and went further behind in the third quarter. By the time they got their act together towards the end it was too late and Limerick ran out easy winners by 2-12 to 1-7.

Senior Debut

Pat had already made his senior debut as early as 1979 when he was drafted on to the National League panel and played a couple of challenge games. For the championship in 1980, when Tipperary were beaten by Cork in the Munster semi-­final at Thurles, Pat partnered Gerry Stapleton at centrefield.

The following year he played corner-forward on the side that was beaten by Limerick in the replayed Munster semi-­final. Michael Maher was a selector that year and maintained it was Pat's best position. One of Pat's older brothers, Kevin, was also on that team. Both of them were on again on the side beaten in the first round of the 1982 Munster championship by Cork. Pat was back at centrefield for this game.

The same year saw the beginning of Pat's knee problem. Playing inter-firm at Cashel he tore the ligaments in his knee and didn't take the proper care of the injury. The result was that he missed out on everything in 1983. He came back as a junior in 1984 and played cornerback on the side beaten by Cork in the Munster final.

Back on the senior side in 1985 he was at cornerback when Tipperary went down by 4-17 to 4-11 to Cork in the Munster final. For the debacle at Ennis in 1986 Pat was a sub and watched their stunning 2-10 to 1-11 defeat by Clare from the sideline.


After the great successes of the under-21 years, Pat must have felt that his chances of senior success were slowly slipping away in the aftermath of the 1986 championship. Little did he envisage the achievements of the following years. The new management took over and things began to look up again.

Pat lacked confidence in his knee and played indifferently in the early stages of the 1986-87 league. He is grateful to Babs for sticking with him and he has missed no championship game since then. Ironically, when he was taken off in the Munster final in 1990 it was the first time ever he was taken off in a championship game, whether at minor, under-21, junior or senior level.

He considers the success of Babs as due to a number of factors. Luck had a part to play in it. So had the Supporters' Club and the money they raised which enabled the players to be treated better, so that they responded better. Babs also brought considerable experience to the job. He has absolutely no bitterness towards Babs for taking him off in that final.

Pat's contribution to the recovery of Tipperary's hurling fortunes has been significant. He got the winning point which put the team into the 1987 league semi-final. He won the Man of the Match Award for his display against Kerry in the first round of the 1987 championship. He got the two points which gave us a draw against Cork in the Munster final. His contribution to our success in Killarney was enormous. In fact, he remembers that game as his greatest and, with this year's All-Ireland, the game that gave him the greatest satisfaction.


The story of Pat's success in the last few years has been well documented. After the defeat in the 1987 All-Ireland semi-final, came the league victory of 1988 and the defeat in the All-Ireland of that year. Against Galway he found Ollie Kilkenny a tough opponent.

He has an interesting comment on all opponents. He reckons he has beaten them all and has been beaten by all. He prefers to mark a hurler that's tough and skilful. This may come as a surprise because many are of the impression that Pat is small in stature. He is, in fact, five foot eight inches and weighs twelve stone. He has a low centre of gravity and is a very difficult player to push out of the way.

What he may lack in height he makes up in skill and aggression. He can fight tenaciously for possession and then has the skill to put it to good use. On the top of that is his enormous experience. To date he has played inter-county hurling for all of thirteen years and has gained a wealth of experience over that period.

Another interesting fact about his playing career is that it has been significantly devoid of injuries. Apart from his knee, Pat has escaped all but superficial injuries. He has never broken a bone and has never had to retire because of injury.

The highpoint of his success was the All-Ireland senior hurling medal in 1989. A player has finally arrived when he has won this honour and all previous accomplishments are mere milestones on the journey. Pat's display may have been overshadowed by Nicky English's 2-12 but his contribution in the four championship games was vital and he was an essential link in a most impressive full-forward line. He shared in the euphoria of victory and the end of the long 18 year famine.

He shared the disappointment of defeat in the 1990 Munster final and the frustration of having been replaced at half-time. However, 1991 was to give him sweet revenge and his brilliant championship campaign was to erase the memory.

His goal in the drawn Munster final was a gem of purest ray serene and a classic example of his opportunism and his knowledge of back play as well as forward play. That goal was part of the 2-12 he scored in the three championship games leading to the All-Ireland when he crowned an outstanding year by adding a further five points and winning the Man of the Match Award.

Equally important for him was to have beaten Kilkenny in a final. The sceptics had said 1989 was no victory despite having beaten Limerick, Cork and Galway along the way. To have added Kilkenny to that list of hurling scalps in 1991 put paid to these petty protestations.

Club and Family

At the time Pat Fox won the 1989 All-Ireland he was one of the few members of the team to be married. In 1985, when he was making his way back from the doldrums of injury, he married Marita Heffernan of Dundrum and she has shared his successes and failures since then. The couple have two children.

Pat himself was the fifth of a family of six boys. His father died earlier this year and his mother is still alive and well. Four of the brothers played on the Eire Og team that captured the west championship in 1981. Pat won a second senior medal in 1986 and has Crosco Cup medals as well. Seamus has an All-Ireland junior medal from 1989 and Kevin has an All-Ireland inter-firm medal.

Latterly Pat has developed an interest in golf and is enjoying the game. It has had one good effect on his hurling because it has improved the flexibility of his right side and given him another option in tight situations.

Pat is shy and unassuming and while glad of the great honour the Tipperary Association has conferred on him dreads the thought of having to make an acceptance speech.

He is also an extremely courteous and helpful individual and everyone who knows him wishes him the best of luck in his hurling and business career.



<span class="postTitle">The Senior Hurling Championship (1991)</span> Tipperary GAA Yearbook 1992 pp 31-32

The Senior Hurling Championship (1991)

Tipperary GAA Yearbook 1992 pp 31-32 


Victory at last! was the cry and the sign of relief among Cashel King Cormac's supporters at Semple Stadium, Thurles, on November 10 when their team recorded a first ever victory in the county senior hurling championship.

It was the 101st county final to be played since the first in 1887 and it was the fifth time in that period for Cashel to reach the final stage. Previous involvements in 1937, 1939, 1940 and 1990 had ended in defeat. Three players from the earlier days, Michael Leamy, Mickey Murphy and Michael Burke, watched the glorious breakthrough from the VIP section of Ardan O Riain and savoured the sweets of victory that had eluded them.

In making the breakthrough Cashel joined a growing number of clubs which have won the ultimate honour in county hurling since the dominance of Thurles Sarsfields was ended in the mid-sixties.

During that time seven teams (eight if one includes Clonoulty-Rossmore, who won a first back in 1898) have won county senior hurling titles for the first time. They are Carrick Davins, Roscrea, MoyneTempletuohy, Moneygall, Kilruane-MacDonaghs, Cappawhite, Loughmore-Castleiney and, now Cashel. There are obviously other teams capable of making the breakthrough. One immediately thinks of Eire Og, Nenagh and Lorrha.

In contrast to the 1990 championship, Cashel had a tough passage through the west. Whereas Kickhams didn't providemuch opposition in the first round, a very determined Clonoulty-Rossmore had to be overcome in the semi-final. The final pairing with Cappawhite was a very difficult game.

The 1987 champions showed that they were no pushover and with a bit of luck might have got the verdict. In the end Cashel had four points to spare due mainly to the brilliant accuracy of Tommy Grogan, who scored ten of Cashel's twelve points from frees while Man of the Match, Jamesy O'Donoghue, got the other two scores from play.

Meanwhile, Holycross-Ballycahill were making snakelike progress through the mid division. Beating Gortnahoe in the first round they had to play Loughmore Castleiney twice before coming out on top. They beat Thurles Sarsfields in one game but needed two matches to overcome Moycarkey-Borris in the mid final. 

Toomevara, also, had a long trek through the north, beating Portroe, Roscrea and Lorrha on their way to the final. They drew with Eire Og in the final on the first day but had four points to
spare in the replay.

The earliest divisional final to be played was the south and it took place on the last Sunday in July. Killenaule won their fifteenth title when they beat Carrick Swans by two points on a scoreline of 0-15 to 1-10.


The first of the quarter-finals were played at Golden on September 29. In the first game Cappawhite had a comfortable win over Killenaule, winning by 2-18 to 0-13. The game was a close contest for three-quarters of the hour but then, in a sudden burst, Cappawhite shook off the opposition and pointed their way to victory with consumate ease. There were fine displays by Pa O'Neill, John 'Fox' O'Neill and Ger Ryan (B).

In the second game Cashel had a facile win over a desperately poor and disorganized Carrick Swan side. They led by 2-15 to 0-2 at half-time and strolled to victory by 4-18 to 1-7. Feature of the game was the perfect accuracy of Tommy Grogan, who scored ten points from placed balls and a brilliant display by Pa Fitzel at centre back.

The other two quarter-final games were played at Semple Stadium on October 13. In the first Toomevara had a dream start and were 2-2 up before Moycarkey had settled down. Gradually Moycarkey got to grips with the game and were only three points in arrears after twenty minutes. However, Toomevara stepped up their display once again and were in front by 2-7 to 1-5 at the interval. In the third quarter Moycarkey reduced the deficit to two points and seemed set to go into the lead. But Toomevara rallied and at the end of a very exciting final quarter had two points to spare at the final whistle in a score of 2-9 to 1-10.

The second match ended in a draw. Draw specialists Holycross withstood a great fight-back by Eire Og in the final quarter and survived by 2-3 to 0-9. The excitement in the closing stages went some way towards making amends for what had been largely a poor enough contest. Holycross had but one score, a point from a free by Declan Carr, in the first half-hour and were behind by 0-4 to 0-1 at the interval. However, they got two goals at vital stages, during the second half and survived the Eire Og rally by 2-3 to 0-9.  In the replay the following Saturday, Holycross snatched victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to a last-minute goal by Tony Lanigan. It was a game that Nenagh looked like winning for most of the hour. Eight points clear after twenty minutes they led by 1-9 to 2-4 at the interval and were six points in front ten minutes into the second half.

Probably the turning point of the game was in the fifty-second minute. Michael Cleary had been fouled by Johnny Doyle on his way to the Holycross goal. Instead of getting a free, Cleary was penalised by referee Willie Barrett, for allegedly carrying the ball too far, and a free given to the champions. From that free Tony Lanigan picked up a short clearance from Nenagh goalkeeper Seamus Kennedy, passed to Tomas Fogarty, who rattled the net. This left only a point between the sides and, during the nail-biting closing stages, Philip Kennedy scored to give Nenagh a two point advantage. Then in the dying moments Pat Slattery's puck-out put Holycross into the attack and the Eire Og defence got badly caught out when Paul Slattery made the room for Tony Lanigan to score the vital goal from the edge of the square.


The semi-finals were played at Semple Stadium on October 27. Cashel and Toomevara opposed one another in the opening game, a repeat of their quarter final encounter the previous year. In a very close contest Cashel were never able to shake off a determined and fighting Toomevara. The west champions led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval and looked as if they would win comfortably. However, Toomevara came at them during the third quarter and the verdict was in doubt until Cormac Bonnar scored his second goal at the beginning of the third quarter. For the final quarter Cashel held the initiative but they could never be comfortable against an opposition that refused to die. Had the north champions taken their opportunities from the placed ball the result might very well have been different.

In the second semi-final Holycross survived a strong Cappawhite challenge by the minimum margin in a score of 1-17 to 3-10. For much of the game the men from the west looked like bringing Holycross's reign to an end. They hurled with great zeal and proved themselves undeserving of their underdog tag. However, they were never able to get the vital scores when they most needed them. Cappawhite led by 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval.

With the wind in their favour Holycross reduced the deficit and went into a three point lead. It seemed as if they would coast away. But Cappawhite struck back with two goals to go into a three-point lead. This setback seemed to stimulate the mid men who struck back with five points to be two points in front going into the last five minutes. During these minutes Cappawhite tried desperately to get the goal that would give them victory. But all they could secure was a point and they were behind by the mininlum of margins when referee Michael Cahill sounded the final whistle.


The final at Semple Stadium on November 10 was looked forward to with great expectation. Holycross, on the basis of their third final appearance and their ability to survive against great odds during their earlier games, were the slightest of favourites at about 9 / 8. They also had a new coach in Francis Loughnane. Cashel, on the other hand, were determined to reverse the previous year's defeat. They had in their favour the immeasurable services of Justin McCarthy's coaching and the value of three tough encounters, with Clonoulty, Cappawhite and Toomevara, on their way to the final. Above all, they had a fierce determination to become the first Cashel team to win a senior hurling final.

An estimated crowd of twelve thousand was present when Johnny MacDonnell of Roscrea threw in the ball to begin the 101st county final. Holycross had a strong wind in their favour and, within two minutes of the start they should have had a goal up when Paul Slattery blazed the ball over the bar from less than ten yards with only the goalie, John Ryan, to beat. Cashel replied with points from a Tommy Grogan free and a mighty effort by T.J. Connolly from under the new stand. Then disaster struck Cashel when goalie John Ryan, with apparently all the
time in the world to dear his lines, fumbled the ball and Pat Cahill pounced to put the ball away for a Holycross goal. But Cashel came back and were unlucky when a fine effort by Ailbe Bonnar in the 16th minute was saved by the woodwork.  Declan Carr got two points and Tommy Grogan one to leave the half-time score 1-4 to 0-4 in favour of the champions.

With the wind in Cashel's favour after the interval it looked as if it was to be their day. However, the third quarter was a tough and difficult time for the west men as the county champions refused to yield and put up the most determined resistance.

It took the full quarter for Cashel to draw level but then the turning point came in the sixteenth minute when Tommy Grogan netted to put Cashel two points ahead. Michael Doyle replied with a point, the only score by Holycross in the half, and, even though Cashel were dominant, the only reward they got was a 47th minute point by T.J. Connolly. However, five minutes from time, Cormac Bonnar clinched the title with a superb goal and this put paid to any chance that Holycross had of staging a Houdini revival in the last minute. The last word came from Jamesy O'Donoghue who had a point in the 59th minute to give Cashel a 2-8 to 1-5 win and their first county final victory.

Cormac Bonnar is congratulated. James O'Donoghue celebrates

Cormac Bonnar is congratulated. James O'Donoghue celebrates

And so it was that a new name was inscribed on the Dan Breen Cup, which was received amidst great excitement by Cashel captain Colm Bonnar, from county chairman Michael McGuire. It was a victory that was fully deserved and one to which all the team contributed handsomely but none more than Raymie Ryan, who won the Man of the Match Award presented by John Quirke of Cahir, Pat O'Donoghue, Conal Bonnar, Pat Fitzelle, Colm Bonnar and T.J. Connolly.
For Holycross their best performances came from Benjy Browne, Michael Doyle, T.J. Lanigan and Declan Carr.

Colm Bonnar raises the Dan Breen Cup following the county final

Colm Bonnar raises the Dan Breen Cup following the county final

The victorious panel was as follows: John Ryan , Michael Perdue, Pat O'Donoghue, Tony Slattery, Raymie Ryan, Pa Fitzelle, Conal Bonnar, Colm Bonnar, Willie Fitzelle, Jamesy O'Donoghue, T.J. Connolly, John Grogan, Tommy Grogan, Cormac Bonnar, Ailbe Bonnar. Sub: Timmy Moloney for Ailbe Bonnar. Also: Joe Minogue, Declan McGrath, Seanie Barron, Sean Slattery, Sean O'Donoghue, Joe O'Leary, Peter Fitzelle, Ger Slattery, Sean Morrissey, Liam Devitt, Don Higgins. Selectors: Justin McCarthy (coach), Brendan Bonnar, Aonghus Ryan, John Darmody.

The Holycross-Ballycahill side was as follows: Pat Slattery, Johnny Doyle, Tom Dwyer, Ruairi Dwan, Phil Dwyer, Michael Doyle, Benjy Browne, Dedan Carr, P.J. Lanigan, Paddy Dwan, Paul Slattery, Paul Maher, Tony Lanigan, Tomas Fogarty, Pat Cahill. Subs: Ciaran Carroll for Paddy Dwan; William Ryan for Tomas Fogarty. Also: Donal Ryan, Robert Stakelum, Jim Butler, Timmy Gleeson, Paddy Browne.
Selectors: Michael Ryan, Seamus Mackey, Phil Lowry, Francis Loughnane (coach).


COUNTY FINAL - Semple Sodium, Thurles, November 10:
Cashel King Cormacs 2-8; Holycross-Ballycahill 1-5.
Ref: Johnny McDonnell (Roscrea).

COUNTY SEMI-FINALS- Semple Sodium, Thurles, October 27:
Cashel King Cormacs 2-10; Toomevara 0-13.
Referee: Michael Greene (Uppcrchurch -Drombane).
Holycross-Ballycahill 1-17; Cappawhite 3-10.
Referee : Michael Cahill (Kilruanc-MacDonaghs).

COUNTY QUARTER-FINALS- Semple Sodium, Thurles, October 13:
Toomevara 2-9; Moycarkey-Borris 1-10.
Referee : Tommy Lonergan (Kilsheelan).
Holycross -Ballycahill 2-3; Eire Og, Nenagh 0-9.
Referee : Willie: Barrett (Ardfinnan ).
REPLAY: Semple Stadium, ,Thurles, October 19
Holycross -Ballycahill 4-6; Eire Og, Nenagh 1-14.
Golden, September 29:
Cappawhite 2 -18; Killenaule 0 -13.
Referee: Johnny McDonnell (Roscrea).
Cashel King Cormac 4-18; Carrick Swans 1-7.
Referee: P. J. Kelly Ballinahinch.

<span class="postTitle">Féile na nGael - 1990</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp 133-135

Féile na nGael - 1990

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp 133-135


When the Feile na nGael initiative became a reality nearly two decades ago, under the guiding influence of Tipperary men Seamus O' Riain, Tomás O'Bar6id and Eamon de Stafort, few could have envisaged its impact on the ancient game of hurling, and the progress it achieved, according to G.A.A. President, John Dowling, when he spoke at the official launch of the 20th Feile in Thurles on June 16th. Feile had grown from a noble and ambitious ideal to become a major national movement. 

Feile na nGael, the Coca Cola sponsored festival of hurling, camogie and handball for the under-14s, was returning to the place of its birth in 1971 for the first time. The work of organising this major event was shared by a National Executive under the chairmanship of Padraig Mac Floinn of Co. Down and secretary, Padraig P. Guthrie of Co. Clare and a County Executive, under the chairmanship of Donal Shanahan of Toomevara and secretary, Denis Royd, of Newport. The other members were Seamus J. King, Cashel, Liam O'Donnchu of Thurles Sarsfields, Liam McGrath of Holycross-Ballycahill, Eugene Ryan of Moneygall, James Gleeson of Templederry, Ken Conway of Clonmel, Marion Graham of Littleton, Eleanor O'Connell of Thurles and P. J. Harrington of Upperchurch. 

Five Divisions

The County Executive had the task of organising the advent of under-14 teams from 31 counties and having them hosted by clubs in the county. Because 49 teams from within the county were participating in the festival of hurling 9 of them had to be hosted also. The 80 teams were graded into 5 divisions. In addition sixteen camogie teams, 17 handball teams and a number of skills representatives had to be accommodated. 

The actual competitions began on Friday evening, continued through Saturday and the finals were played on Sunday. However, earlier, in the week, beginning on Monday, June 18, visitations were made to about fifty primary schools in the county by well-known G.A.A. and media personalities such as John Dowling, Liam O'Maolmhichil, Michael 0 Muircheartaigh and Mick Dunne. The highlight of these visits, for many of the youngsters, was the gift pack each boy and girl received, compliments of Coca Cola. Another event was a Golf Slogadh, organised on the Thursday at Thurles Gold Club, in which 55 teams of four participated. The proceeds from this event are to help finance the special celebrations for the 21st in 1991. 

First Victory

In all the years of Feile a Tipperary team has never won Division 1. This year the county celebrated its first victory when Durlas Óg were triumphant. In winning the Christy Ring trophy for the premier event they beat another Tipperary team, Kilruane MacDonaghs, by 2-4 to 1-4. A Tipperary team also featured in the Division II final, Boherlahan-Dualla, who went down to Rathnure from Co. Wexford 2-3 to 2-1. There was another Tipperary victory in Division III when Loughmore-Castleiney got the better of Antrim champions, Loughgiel-Shamrocks by 1-3 to 1-1. The final of Division IV for the Dr. Birch trophy was contested by Louth and Kerry with the Leinster side successful. Both the contestants in Division V were also from Tipperary, with Fr. Sheehy's defeating Aherlow by 2-4 to 2-1. Both teams fielded a girl in the final. Overall a very satisfactory weekend for Tipperary hurling with no less than six of the ten finalists coming from the county. 


One of the highlights of the final day was the grand parade through the town. This was a colourful and enjoyable spectacle which saw 112 clubs from all over the country marching in club colours and behind their club banners. They marched past a reviewing stand in Liberty Square where President Hillery, who was attending his tenth and final Feile, and G.A.A. and Civic dignitaries were seated. 

The parade assembled at Semple Stadium after a special open air Mass at which the Patron of the G.A.A., Most Rev. Dr. Dermot Clifford, was principal concelebrant, and with twenty marching bands to liven up proceedings, they left the Stadium going to Liberty Square via Parnell Street, past the reviewing stand in the Square and back to the Stadium via Friar Street. The impressive array of colour, sound and movement took over an hour to pass the reviewing stand. 

At the conclusion of the parade prizes were awarded as follows: Hurling: Best dressed team - Lorrha. Best Tippeary banner - Marlfield. Best visiting banner - Loughgiel Shamrocks, Antrim. Camogie: Best dressed team - Durlas Og. Best Tipperary banner - Burgess. Best visiting banner - Oisin's Glenariffe, Co. Antrim. 

On their return to Semple Stadium the participants were addressed by President Hillery prior to the commencement of the final. 


The event was a major success with a couple of exceptions. Conspicuously absent was any appreciable publicity from the national media. The weekend brought 3,000 hurlers, camogie players and handballers together for a weekend in exciting competition and yet the scale of the organisation and participation scarcely merited a mention in the daily newspapers or R.T.E. Equally disappointing was the poor turnout in the streets of Thurles for the parade. The only thing one can say about the attendance is that it was a little bit better than the miserable turnout for the Centenary Parade in 1984. 

These criticisms don't in any way take from the continued success and essential health of Feile na nGael. The enthusiasm and excitement of the under-fourteens over the four days was infectious. The vision and foresight of the three founding fathers was again realised. It was only fitting then that the three, Seamus O'Riain, Eamon de Stafort and Tomas Ó Bar6id, should have been honoured by a Civic Reception by Thurles Urban Council on the Thursday night. Later in the year they were also honoured by the Tipperary County Board. It was a small way of saying ,'Thank You' to three visionaries who thought up a brilliant idea nearly two decades ago and saw it go from success to success. 


<span class="postTitle">Jimmy Kennedy</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp 78-79

Jimmy Kennedy

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp 78-79


One of the swiftest rises to hurling stardom in Tipperary must surely have been that of Jimmy Kennedy of Kildangan. He made his debut for the county in the Thomond Tournament against Clare on May 8, 1949 and scored seven points. According to 'Wintergreen' in the 'Tipperary Star' the week following the game: 'Jimmy Kennedy possesses rare pace, has a delightful speed when cornered and an uncanny knowledge of just where the goalposts are.' Three weeks later he played in the first championship outing against Cork and scored 1-4 in a game that ended in a draw. The replay was at Limerick on June 26 and Tipperary won by 2-8 to 1-9 after extra time. In the first hour he was the only forward to shine and he scored all his side's 1-5, including a spectacular goal in the last minute to earn extra time. He went off injured during that period but came back before the end to score a point. By then he was a hero. He played his final game for the county in the 1951 Munster final and was a sub on the winning All-Ireland side. He was then 25 years of age and had never played the full hour on a losing Tipperary side! 

Early Promise

Of course Jimmy Kennedy did not spring full-blown into hurling stardom in that summer of '49. He had a very respectable apprenticeship over the previous five or six years. As long as his memory serves him he recalls hitting a hurling ball about but he did not play for a team until he went to St. Flannan's College, Ennis in 1940. In 1944 he helped the College team to win the Harty Cup, Munster Cup, the All-Ireland Individual College title and the Interprovincial Colleges' title. When St. Flannan's played Thurles C.B.S. that year the Tipperary school included Pat Stakelum, Tommy Ryan and Seamus Bannon. Jimmy recalls playing the Interprovincial in Kilkenny and meeting Jim Langton as they took a stroll in the town on the Sunday morning. 'We met him on the street and he stopped to talk to us. He stayed chatting to us for half an hour and he treated us as equals. We were tremendously impressed.' He gives great credit to Tull Considine for the success of the 1944 team. The President of the College, Canon Quinn, brought in the former Clare star. According to Jimmy he was one of the greatest trainers and was brilliant at assessing a player's potential. When he took over the team he began playing players in positions they had never been in before. He insisted on ground hurling and crossing the ball. By this stage Jimmy had most of the hurling skills and had perfected the art of picking the ball off the ground easily and quickly. But he learned his team experience in Flannan's. 


After receiving his Leaving Certificate Jimmy Kennedy went to U.C.D. to study Agricultural Science. There was no inter-county minor championship in 1944 - it had been suspended during the war years - and so missed the chance of playing with the county. He had some consolation because in that year he won his only title in Tipperary, the North Divisional Junior championship, with Kildangan. Jimmy was to leave university without taking a degree and in 1950 took up the job as assistant to the Manager of Minch Norton Maltings, based in Nenagh. His job involved selling fertilizers to farmers, buying malting barley, etc. He had a car which was a fine perk with the job in those days. He stayed until 1961 when he was appointed Manager at Goresbridge. Three years later he went to Guinness Maltings at Midleton and remained there until 1971. In that year he came to Thurles to take over the well-known business of J.K. Moloney's in Liberty Square. In the meantime he had married Rita MCormack and they had five children. The most famous of the latter is Louise, who won the overall Designer of the Year Award in 1989. Susan runs the Kilkenny School of Beauty Therapy, Rosemary lives in St. Louis, Caroline works as a producer with Century Radio and Christopher is in the family business. His wife died in 1983. 

Jimmy Kennedy had a very successful hurling career at U.C.D. which included winning' a coveted Fitzgibbon medal and two Dublin county finals in 1947 and 1948. There was some fine talent in the college at the time like Dick Stokes, Pierce Thornton, Des Dillon, Jody Maher, Jack Rice, Luke Sullivan, Ned Daly and more. Presiding over the lot was the great Mick Darcy, who was full of enthusiasm for the game of hurling. To win the county finals required great ability because the competition was cut-throat from teams of the calibre of Faughs, Young Irelands and St. Vincents. There was tremendous interest and crowds as great as twenty thousand turned up for finals. 

With Dublin

Jimmy Kennedy's talent soon became known to the Dublin selectors and he made his debut with the team in a match against Antrim at Belfast in the winter of 1946. He hardly got a puck of the ball until the final quarter. However, on his way back in the train he was relieved to be told by selector, Jerry O'Connor, that he wouldn't be dropped on the basis of that display. His next match was against Tipperary in Dublin in 1947. He was playing on Micheal Maher and again hardly got a puck of the ball. He found the pace of the game much faster than he was used to. In another county he might have been dropped but he was given time to settle and is very thankful for getting the opportunity to do so due to the generosity of the Dublin selectors. He believes that some players are discarded too easily and too quickly and should be given a longer chance. 

He played his first inter-county championship in the summer of 1947 and got to the Leinster final against Kilkenny at Portlaoise. Kilkenny had Diamond Hayden, Terry Leahy and Jim Langton and beat Dublin well. Jimmy held his place on the Dublin team and achieved success in the 1948 championship They beat Wexford in the semi-final and when word came to them in the dressing room that Laois had beaten Kilkenny in the other semi there was a great cheer. They went on to beat Laois in the final at Tullamore but lost to Waterford in the All-Ireland No less than seven, Jimmy Kennedy, Mick Hassett, Frank Cummins, Dave Walsh, Johnny O'Connor, Mick Feeney and Ned Daly, of the U.C.D. team played on opposite sides in tha All-Ireland. Jimmy's growing stature as a player was recognised the following spring when he was captain of the Leinster side in the Railway Cup. This brought him to the attention of the Tipperary selectors. 

Sometime in February Phil Purcell, the Tipperary County Secretary, sent declaration forms to Jimmy and to Joe Butler who was from Clonmel and who also played with Dublin in the 1948 All-Ireland. Jimmy takes up the story. 

'Joe and I had a long chat on the matter. We were going well with Dublin and were having a good time playing around the country in tournaments. The Dublin County Board were very good to us. As well we were uncertain as to how we'd get on with Tipp. We knew that many players, who had got trials, had been taken off after ten minutes because they hadn't been performing to an expected standard. Maybe the same would be our fate and what would we do then? So, we tore up the forms.' 

'On Easter Saturday I came back to my digs in Leinster Road where there was a message awaiting me: I was to go to Barry's Hotel. I made my way there to find my father, Phil Purcell, Fr Johnny Minihan, Dinny Costello and Seamus Gardiner present. 'I sent you a declaration form,' said Purcell, 'and you never returned it.' I told him my reason. They took me into a room and gave me a long chat. I said I couldn't go without Joe Butler. I was informed he wasn't necessary as Tipperary had enough backs. I told them I wouldn't do anything until I spoke to Mick Darcy. 

'It was now 9.30 and at that time declaration had to be made before 12pm on Easter Saturday night. Seamus Gardiner offered to drive me out to Mick Darcy, who lived in Merrion. Mick was an out and out Tipperary man but didn't like to give me advice. He advised me to talk to Joe Stewart, who was in charge of the Dublin team. Darcy's final word to me was: 'You know, they (Tipperary) are a hard lot to please.' 

'I was driven to Joe Stewart's place. We had a chat. He dissuaded me from leaving Dublin. He said: 'you'd be mad to declare, we're going well. We'll see you tomorrow for the game with Kilkenny. You'll stay with us.' 'I came back to Barry's and told Purcell of my decision to stay with Dublin. It was now 11.30. Purcell took me into a room and began to work on me. He hammered home to me the greatness of Tipperary, the land of Knocknagow and Slievenamon. He told me they'd be no danger of being dropped. He even promised any position in the forward line, with the exception of full-forward. After two hours of this barracking I gave in and signed the form at 1.30 amidst major misgivings. I don't know how the 12 o'clock rule was got over but it was obviously surmounted. I have never regretted that decision." 

As stated above Jimmy Kennedy made his debut in the Thomond Tournament. He recalls driving down from Dublin and meeting the team at Sadleir's Hotel in Limerick. He didn't know anybody and there was a bit of awkwardness until Pat Stakelum came over to greet him and welcome him to the team. In his short career he was to win three All-Irelands, one National League and a couple of Thomond Tournament and Monaghan Cup medals. 


His contribution to Tipperary's success in the 1949 championship was major. Again and again he is mentioned as the key man in the team's attack. In the course of the six games up to and including the All-Ireland he scored 6 goals and 37 points. In the five games of the 1950 championship his tally was 4 goals and 23 points, which was a higher percentage of Tipperary's total score than in the previous year. His most brilliant display in 1950 was in the first round against Limerick. One commentator had this to say: 'Tipperary's success was due in the main to her defenders and to the genius of Jimmy Kennedy. The Puckane's man's total of 3-6 was, to say the least, amazing. The most talked of goal of the match came from the stick of this scoring wizard. The ball sailed in from fifty yards out. Tipperary attackers and Limerick defenders watched its flight as it seemed to sail over the crossbar when, to the 'amazement of attackers and defenders alike, like a guided missile, it curved into the net for an astonishing goal. That wasn't Kennedy's best score. He struck a ball from within ten yards of the right-hand corner flag, which sped like an arrow between the posts, a miracle score if ever there was one.' 


Jimmy Kennedy disdains the notion that he was some kind of technical wizard with the hurling stick. Instead he would subscribe to the adage that 'Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.' To an obvious natural athletic ability he added many hours of skill learning as he pucked the ball around the village of Puckane during his early years. Playing the ball against a wall and picking it smartly as it rebounded was part of this learning process. I have already drawn attention to the teachings of Tull Considine and the team learning he acquired at Flannan's. The kind of hurley he used was most important and he never brought fewer than two to any game. On that visit to Kilkenny mentioned above he 'discovered' the Neary hurley and never used anything else after that. Tom Neary was a famous Kilkenny hurley maker and for Jimmy his type of hurley was the answer to his needs. It had a wide pole, great balance and unerring accuracy. He could recognise a Neary hurley with his eyes closed. 

His free-taking was practised until it was perfect. Basic things like stance and angle were worked on until his shooting became unerring. When taking a free he stood back from the ball and walked up to it at a right angle to an imaginary line between the ball and the centre of the crossbar. When lifting the ball he stood very much over it with the handle of the hurley coming back between his legs. In this way he achieved perfect balance during the lifting and striking movement. He raised the ball above the head but hit it at knee height. The follow through was most important as it contributed to the accuracy of the stroke. All of this practice developed his confidence and confidence produced even greater accuracy. Jimmy is convinced that at the height of his form he had the confidence to go for scores from any angle, and get them. 

Last Year

Tipperary played Waterford in the first round of the 1951 championship and just got there by 2-10 to 1-10. Jimmy Kennedy scored 1-3. The selectors sprang a big surprise by dropping him for the semi-final against Limerick and replacing him by Tim Ryan of Borrisoleigh. The latter were the new county champions. Jimmy was very disappointed at being dropped because he believed that he was still maturing as a player. The occasion was also Tipperary's first championship appearance at Thurles since 1945 and he would have loved to be on. He made a late appearance in the game and got a tremendous ovation from the fans as he came onto the field. 

He was recalled for the Munster final against Cork on July 29. 

He had a most unfortunate hour when nothing would go right for him and it was the first hour in which he failed to score. There was a reason for the poor display. He had cracked two ribs in training and was advised by his doctor not to play. But, he was so delighted at being restored to the team that he foolishly determined to play. Because he was well strapped up his movements were very restricted during the game. He was dropped for the All-Ireland final, in which Tipperary beat Wexford by 7-7 to 3-9. 

There were twenty-one medals for the twenty-two players on the panel. The first fifteen on All-Ireland day were obvious choices but, when it came to distributing the remaining six, Jimmy was excluded. Understandably he was very upset. He would have loved to have the medal to put with the other two as it was a unique achievement to win three-in-a-row. He was picked to travel for the Oireachtas game against Kilkenny on October 7 but wrote to Phil Purcell to say he didn't wish to be considered any more. He was 25 years of age. He continued to hurl at club level until 1954 when he married and called it a day. He didn't involve himself after that with the exception of 1955 when he helped Eire Og, Nenagh minor hurling team prepare for a county final. 

A Major Injustice

The decision to leave Jimmy Kennedy out of the medals was a major injustice and even worse than that to leave selector, Joby Callanan, out of the trip to the U .S. with the league team in September 1950. Jimmy had made a major contribution to Tipperary's successes in the 1949 and 1950 All-Irelands and had played two championship games in 1951. In contrast five of the subs had played no championship game that year! No wonder he was upset and called it a day. 

His decision to quit was a major loss to Tipperary. He was only 25 years of age and, in his own opinion, was still maturing as a hurler. Admittedly he wasn't playing as effectively as in the previous year but there was no reason why he wouldn't bounce back to brilliance once again. How many good players go through bad patches and crises of confidence? 

Perhaps his decision to quit was precipitate. Maybe he should have stuck it out and played his way back on to the team. He was only 25 years of age and, if we are to take his own word, not yet at his prime. It is arguable that had he been there in the follpwing years Tipperary's three-in-a-row might have become the elusive four or even five-in-a-row. Who knows? We can only speculate. The only certainty we have is that those of us who were privileged to see him play saw one of the most graceful movers, the most brilliant strikers and. the most accurate of scorers that ever wore the blue and gold. 


<span class="postTitle">G.A.A. Publications - 1990</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp 32-33

G.A.A. Publications - 1990

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp 32-33


The year saw the publication of two more club histories, bringing to 22 the number written to date. I'm including in that selection a production from 1978 entitled: 'Kilcommon My Home: Mountainy Men at Play', which is as much a short social history of the Sean Treacy's country as a history of the G.A.A. in the area. 

Roscrea are also included even though they haven't a club history as such but they have two written accounts of events in the club's history. In 1980, a commemorative programme was produced in honour of the new developments in St. Cronan's Park. It contained 112 pages of essays on the club's history and was edited by George Cunningham and Tom McCarthy. Four years later Seamus O'Doherty produced a 32 page magazine effort, devoted to the club's juvenile success in the eighties. Boherlahan also, have two productions: Philip Ryan published the 'Tubberadora-Boherlahan Story 1885-1975' in the mid-seventies and then combined with John Maher to write 'Boherlahan and Dualla: A Century of Gaelic Games' in 1987. 


The 'Cappawhite G.A.A. Story, 1886-1989' was launched in the Parochial Hall by Archbishop Clifford, Patron of the G.A.A. on December 18, 1989. It was the culmination of nearly four years work under History Chairman, John Kelly, former county senior hurler and headmaster of Cappawhite V.S. Initially, the research was done by a number of club members and particularly Tom O'Shaugnnesssy, who spent a day or two weekly, reading back numbers of 'The Nationalist' in Clonmel. Then in July 1987 a Teamwork Project of six people, under John Kelly, was commenced and they bought the book to completion. 

The book contains 368 pages and was published in a hardcover edition of 1,000 copies. It has a dustcover in the club's colours. It sells for £10 and over half the copies have been sold. 

The book covers the history of the club on a year by year basis. The opening chapter gives an interesting account of Cappawhite at the time of the foundation of the G.A.A. The population of the parish in 1880 was 2,461. The club came into existence in 1886. There was a major tournament in the parish in September, 1887 and about 10,000 people attended. The first photograph to appear is of Dr. J. Fitzgerald. He was President of the 'Cappawhite Bicycle Races and Athletic Sports' held in 1895 under G.A.A. Rules. 

As the book progresses accounts become more detailed, reflecting the greater coverage of G.A.A. affairs as we get well into the twentieth century. Whereas 1953 gets half a page, 1987, when the club made the great breakthrough to win the county senior hurling championship, is given nine pages. The photographic coverage improves greatly as the book progresses, with the eighties being particularly good. 

For a person from outside the club the statistical section at the end of the book is particularly satisfying. This includes a very comprehensive Roll of Honour, lists of club officers, championship final results, etc. A fascinating section is simply entitled, 'Snippets', covering unusual things about people and events and extending for 16 pages. There are sections on camogie, the Vocational School, Cappawhite Tennis Club and athletics, with a profile of international athlete, Liam Hennessy. Overall, a very comprehensive account of the club and the G.A.A. and the people who made it all happen over 100 years. The book is a credit to the research team and to John Kelly. The club can feel justly proud of this production and happy that the work was undertaken. 

St. Mary's Hurling Club

A different kind of production is 'St. Mary's Hurling Club, Clonmel, 1929-89' by Sean O'Donnell. This saw the light of day on May 11,1990 when it was launched by County Board P.R.O., Liz Howard at the G.A.A. Centre, Clonmel. 

This book is completely the work of Westmeath born, Sean O'Donnell, who has lived in Clonmel for nearly thirty years and teaches in Rockwell College. Its publication coincided with the sixtieth birthday of the St. Mary's Club but the author does not confine his attentions to that period. In an opening chapter, covering over twenty pages, he gives a general account of the G.A.A. in the town, prior to the formation of the club. During that period football was the predominant game. At one stage, in 1897, there were. no less than seven football clubs in the town. One of these was the famous Clonmel Shamrocks, who were suspended by the G.A.A. in a dispute over expenses. 

Even more fascinating is the account of the famous Clonmel man, William Prendergast, secretary of the G.A.A. and chief organiser of the American Invasion. The author corrects the general impression that Prendergast remained in the U.S. after the 'invasion', informing us that he arrived back with the main party after the invasion. He later returned to New York, became prominent in the G.A.A. and was involved in the development of Gaelic Park in New York. 

But the book is predominantly about the St. Mary's club and its fortunes over sixty years. Whereas success wasn't generous to the club it did have its moments. One of these was in 1936 when it won its first championship, the south junior hurling title. A south intermediate title came in 1972 and the much desired senior championship in 1981. In between and since, there were lesser successes, especially in the juvenile grade. Also, at minor and under-21. 

Sean O'Donnell peppers his story with the portraits of personalities and one of the most interesting must surely be Joe Butler, who played for St. Mary's between 1939 - 43. One of the most itinerant of hurlers he played for five counties and for two provinces and played in an All-Ireland senior hurling final. 

One of the unusual aspects of this book is the appendix of names at the back. Nothing unusual about an appendix, but it is in a G.A.A. book. Naturally, the book is all the better for it. The book is divided up into 16 chapters which reflect the rise and fall and rise again of the club's fortunes .through the years. There are also four appendices on Championship titles, Tipperary County Players, Feile na nGael, and other county players. The photographic content is impressive and the reproduction of the pictures, in a wideformat book, is very good. As well as the content the production of the book is very good with very clear print and good headings. 

Sean O'Donnell can be proud of his production and the St. Mary's club are lucky to have had a man of his calibre to undertake the task of producing this book. Anyone who has got a copy should hold on to it because it is already a collector's item. The print run of 500 copies is completely sold out which is as good an indication as any of the quality of the product. 

Rockwell Rovers

In 1988 sporting arrangements were organised between Rockwell Rovers and St. Davogs, Aghyaran, Co. Tyrone. In that year both teams were intermediate football champions in their respective counties and the connection was established by John McHugh, an Aghyaran man living in New Inn. St. Davog's visited New Inn, Rockwell Rovers returned the visit in 1989 and St. Davog's returned to New Inn again this year. In honour of the occasion the local club produced a souvenir programme, which contains many interesting pieces on the history of the game in Rockwell Rovers including their history in the Rural Schools Hurling in 1955, their first county junior football title in 1963 and their great Centenary Year in 1987 when they amassed two county titles. Much of the material is taken from work in progress on the club's history by Tom O'Connor and the booklet can be had from club officials for £2, as long as copies remain. 

Two Kerry Books

I would like to draw your attention to two new G.A.A. books from Kerry which made their appearance in the past year. Many of you will be familiar with one of them, the biography of Mick O'Dwyer by Owen McCrohan, available at £7.95. This is a very fine account of one of the greatest G.A.A. personalities of this century. The second book is called 'Trail Blazers - A century of Laune Rangers, 1888-1988' by Pat O'Shea. It covers the history of the G.A.A. in the Killorglin area, where football reigns supreme. However, there is a tiny hurling interest in the club being cultivated by one Bill Herene, who works in Africa for six week periods and during his spells at home brings teams of young lads to the hurling heartlands of Tipperary. 


In conclusion I should like to tell you about two publications from the Centrefield Research Unit in Thurles. Part of Centrefield Museum, this unit, under the direction of Josephine Quinn of Clonoulty, has been beavering away at G.A.A. records for the past eighteen months. It has now made a list of and collected information on all All-Ireland players in the country. This material is being compiled county by county and Limerick and Tipperary are the first two to be completed. So, if you want a book that will tell you the name of every All-Ireland player in the county, where he was born, his date of birth and his roll of honour, you should get a copy of this production. It will put an end to all the usual pub arguments of when and where he won the All-Ireland. 



<span class="postTitle">The County Senior Hurling Championship - 1990</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp18-19

The County Senior Hurling Championship - 1990

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp18-19


'We stand in an historic place on an historic evening', said Holycross-Ballycahill chairman, John Ryan, to a huge roar of approval from an enthusiastic crowd gathered in the village green of Holycross on the evening of October 14, after the club's success against Cashel in the County senior hurling final. It was the realisation of a thirty-six year dream and it brought them their fourth county final in six appearances. For Cashel it was the end of a dream of winning their first senior hurling title and they now find themselves sharing the unenviable top spot in the league of losing finalists: with Lorrha they have appeared in and lost five county senior hurling finals! 

In the beginning of the year the conversation was about Clonoulty-Rossmore's chances of retaining their title. They had the talent and the experience and the assistance of Len Gaynor and a reasonabJy easy first round encounter against Eire Og. Victory put them through to a semi-final against Cappawhite at the revamped Sean Treacy Park which they won without impressing. In the meantime Kilruane-MacDonaghs had qualified in the north and Len Gaynor terminated his contract with them. So, they went into the west final at Golden on August 12 without his guidance or any other replacement. Their opponents were Cashel, who had a new purpose and direction as a result of securing the services of Justin McCarthy as coach. The game was a close and enthralling contest which was clinched in Cashel's favour by a Cormac Bonnar goal five minutes from time. The final score was Cashel 2-11 Clonoulty-Rossmore 0-15. 

The north final was played at Nenagh on July 29 and Toomevara were Kilruane-MacDonagh's opponents. The game was one of the worst finals for years, filled with fouls, low scoring and frequent stoppages. At the end of the hour Kilruane MacDonaghs were ahead by 2-7 to 0-5. Three weeks later the south final was played at Clonmel between Carrick Swans and Killenaule. It was a game of two halves with Killenaule dominating the first and leading by eight points at half-time before Carrick switched it on after the interval and were in front by 3-7 to 2-7 at the final whistle. 

The last of the four divisional finals to be played was the mid. This did not take place until August 26 when HolycrossBallycahill and Loughmore-Castleiney faced each other at Boherlahan. John Cormack got a point thirty seconds into injury time to snatch a draw for Loughmore-Castleiney in a score of 1-10 all. The replay was at Semple Stadium on September 8 and it lasted 90 minutes. At half-time the sides were level at 1-5 to 0- 8. In the opening exchanges Holycross were well on top and had 1-4 on the score-board to a mere point for Loughmore after ten minutes. However, the latter made a few switches and scored five points in the next eleven minutes. In the second half Loughmore took the initiative and were five points up with five minutes of ordinary time remaining. Holycross came back with a string of four points, Loughmore went ahead again and, in the fifth minute of injury time Tony Lanigan got the equaliser for Holycross to leave the full-time score 1-11 each. In the extra time the game remained extremely even but Holycross had the edge in the final minutes and a goal in the last minute by Stephen Dwan clinched the issue at 2-19 to 1-18 in their favour. It was a great win for Holycross and one which tested their resolve to the last. 

County Quarter Finals

The county quarter-finals were played on the weekend of the football All-Ireland. Not a very satisfactory situation but one that arises yearly with a glut of fixtures for too few dates. Two of the games were played at Leahy Park, Cashel on September 15 and 16 and the remaining two at Semple Stadium on the 16th. 

The mid and south divisions met at Cashel. On Saturday evening the south champions, Carrick Swans, played the mid runners-up, Loughmore-Castliney. The Swans went into the game as outsiders in most people's reckoning but they carried the game to Loughmore and for a time in the first half appeared capable of causing an upset. They led by 1-5 to 0-7 at half-time as a result of a Tom Waters goal in the 24th minute. In fact Waters had a second chance shortly before half-time but it was stopped by Eamon Sweeney. Swans stayed with the mid men for a short time after the interval but then Loughmore pulled away and were ahead by 0-17 to 1-8 when Johnny McDonnell blew the final whistle 

The second contest at Cashel was played on Sunday evening. The final result might give the impression that the mid champions, Holycross-Ballycahill had it all their own way against the south runners-up, Killenaule, but it wouldn't be a complete picture of what happened. Slow to get going Holycross had three goals scored before Killenaule got going their first poirit coming in the fourteenth minute. However, they clawed their way back and gave a fine display especially in the third quarter when they reduced the lead to a mere three points. Even then they could have been better positioned but for many missed opportunities. In the end the mid men were comfortable winners by 4-17 to 3-9 with impressive scoring performances by Declan Carr, 7 and Stephen Dwan, 2-5. 

Earlier in the day the other two quarter-finals were played at Semple Stadium. Cashel King Cormac's and Toomevara were first on the field with a one o'clock start. The north runners-up fielded completely reshuffled line out from their north championship campaign whereas the west champions had to play without an injured Pa Fitzell, who did, however make his appearance before the game was over. On the run of play there was little or nothing between the sides and had Toomevara been more disciplined in their approach the result might well have been different. In the event Toomevara had more scores from play than Cashel but they paid the price for committing needless fouls by being punished by unerring accuracy of Tommy Grogan, who found his mark ten times out of ten and gave Cashel victory by 0-16 to 1-5.

The second game turned out to be a great disappointment. County champions, Clonoulty Rossmore, surrendered their title in a most disappointing fashion to north title holders, Kilruane MacDonaghs. Much was expected of the champions but they failed to lift themselves to any great heights and several members of the side played well below form. Kilruane were hungrier and sharper and their centreback, Joe Banaghan, gave a fine display. The north champions led by 2-5 to 0-6 at the interval and were ahead by 3-8 to 0-9 at the final whistle. 

County Semi-Finals

The two mid teams were guarded for the semi-final pairings and the draw pitted Cashel against Loughmore-Castleiney and Holycross-Ballycahill against Kilruane MacDonaghs. Both games were played at Semple Stadium on October September 23 with Cashel and Loughmore providing the curtain-raiser. The west champions bridged a fifty-year gap when the qualified for their first county final since 1940 by beating the mid men 1-8 to 0-8. Playing with the wind in the first half Loughmore squandered many chances by going for goals when points were going abegging. Then John Grogan got a vital goal for Cashel five minutes before the interval to leave the half-time score 0-5 to 1-1. With the strong wind in their favour after the interval it appeared that Cashel should have the whipband. But the defences continued to reign supreme and it was only in the final quarter that Cashel pulled away to win by three points. 

The second game ended in a draw. Far from being a classic it reached an exciting climax as Holycross-Ballycahill came from behind to level and then missed two great chances of outright victory in a hectic last five minutes. The sides were deadlocked six points each at the interval. In the second half Holycross went into a three point lead before Philip Quinlan levelled with a goal in the twelfth minute and then Jerry Williams got two points to put Kilruane into a match-winning position. However, the mid men came back to achieve an exciting draw. 

The replay took place at the same venue a week later. Kilruane were eight points ahead after twenty minutes and seemed set for victory. But Holycross gradually came into the game and had cut the deficit, back to four points, 2-5 to 0-7 at the interval. They had the wind in their favour in the second half and a fine Stephen Dwan goal, nineteen minutes into the second half, put them in front for the first time. They stayed in that position and were three points ahead, 1-16 to 2-10, when referee, John Moloney, blew the final whistle. 

The County Final

Holycross-Ballycahill had now played four Sundays in a row and sought a postponement of the county final, fixed for October 7. A special meeting of the Fixtures and Finance Committee was called and, as a result of a two-thirds majority, re-fixed the game for Saturday, October 13 - Sunday was out because Tipperary were scheduled to play their first league game against Limerick on that day. There was uproar at the news in Cashel and a decision taken not to play on Saturday. A further meeting of the Fixtures and Finance Committee was held and unanimously agreed to play the game at four o'clock on Sunday. In the meantime the league game was postponed and the late start was to accommodate patrons who wished to attend the senior football final at Cashel on the same day. 

It was a most interesting pairing for a final. Holycross-Ballycahill, with three senior hurling titles to their credit were seeking their first victory since 1954. They were also striving to compensate for their defeat by Clonoulty-Rossmore in 1989. Cashel were going for their first ever senior hurling title and were appearing in a county final for the first time in fifty years. 

A fine crowd of 12,000 turned up for the occasion and were warmed up by a great display of hurling in the minor final in which north champions, Erin's Hope, defeated Holycross-Ballycahill. All was in preparation for an epic encounter in the senior game when, about ten minutes before the throw-in, the heavens opened and the rain came down unrelentingly for the hour. With a strong swirling wind as well conditions were well nigh impossible and yet the players served up a remarkable display of hurling. The game was a closely contested affair in which defences dominated and the greater experience and maturity of Holycross won out in the end. The mid men seemed able to make better use of their opportunities and were more economical in their use of the ball while Cashel had to work extremely hard for all their scores. There were two points between the sides at half-time with Holycross ahead by 0-6 to 0-4 and, when Cashel drew level with eight minutes to go, it seemed as though they had the initiative. But Holycross threw in a sparkling finish with three brilliant points by Tony Lanigan and gave them victory by 0-13 to 0-10. 

It was a well-deserved success by Holycross-Ballycahill. Great credit is due to a team that came back from last year's defeat and got through two draws on the way to achieving this victory. For Cashel it was a story of what might have been. Particularly galling was the disallowed goal in the twenty-second minute of the game, when a grand forward movement was finished to the net by Tommy Grogan, only to have play called back for a free. Also a talking point was the rain which slowed the game down and deprived the Cashel forwards of the fast breaking ball in which they revelled. But, when these considerations are trotted out they have to be balanced against the fact that Cashel scored only four points in the course of the hour and were it not for Tommy Grogan's excellent free-taking, a wider margin might have separated the sides at the end. 


Holycross-Ballycahill: Pat Slattery, Johnny Doyle, Tom Dwyer, Ruari Dwan, Phil Cahill, Michael Doyle, Phil Dwyer, Declan Carr (Capt.), Pat Lanigan, Paddy Dwan, Stephen Dwan, Tony Lanigan, Paul Slattery, Robert Stakelum, Paul Maher. Subs: Gerry Fennessy for Phil Cahill. 

Cashel King Cormacs: John Ryan, T. J. Connolly, Pat O'Donoghue, Joe Minogue, Conal Bonnar, Pat Fitzell, Tony Slattery, Colm Bonnar, Willie Fitzell, Ramie "Ryan, Cormac Bonnar (Capt.), James O'Donoghue, Ailbe Bonnar, John Crogan, Tommy Grogan. Subs: Michael Perdue for Joe Minogue; Sean Slattery for John Grogan. 

Referee: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan).

Man of the Match Award: Stephen Dwan. 

Results at a Glance

Sept. 15: County Quarter-Final (Leahy Park, Cashel):

Loughmore-Castleiney 0-17 Carrick Swans 1-8. Referee: Johnny McDonnell (Roscrea) 

Sept. 16: County Quarter-Final (Semple Stadium, Thurles):

Cashel King Cormac's 0-16 Toomevara 1-9. Referee: Phil Cahill (Holycross-Ballycahill).

Kilruane-MacDonaghs 3-8 Clonoulty-Rossmore 0-9. Referee: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan) 

County Quarter-Final (Leahy Park, Cashel):

Holycross-Ballycahill 4-17 Killenaule 3-9. Referee: Paddy Lonergan (Galtee Rovers). 


Sept. 23: County Semi-Finals (Semple Stadium, Thurles):

Cashel King Cormac's 1-8 Loughmore-Castleiney 0-8. Referee: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan)

Holycross-Ballycahill 0-12 Kilruane MacDonaghs 1-9. Referee: John Moloney (Galtee Rovers) 

Sept. 30: County Semi-Final Replay (Semple Stadium, Thurles):

Holycross-Ballycahill 1-16 Kilruane MacDonaghs 2-10. Referee: John Moloney (Galtee Rovers) 


Oct. 14: County Final (Semple Stadium, Thurles):

Holycross-Ballycahill 0-13 Cashel King Cormacs 0-10. Referee: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan) 




<span class="postTitle">G.A.A. Publications - 1989</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, p 149

G.A.A. Publications - 1989

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, p 149


Not very much to report in the line of new club histories in the county for 1989. Pride of place must go to 'Centenary G.A.A. Story, 1887-1987, Fethard, Coolmoyne & Killusty', which made its appearance with suitable pomp and cirucumstance in the Abbeymill Theatre, Fethard, on May 27. 

The events of the evening were chaired that well-known G.A.A. personality, Dick Cummins, and the book was launched by Monsignor Christopher Lee, who first came to Fethard as a curate in 1942 and became Parish Priest in 1960. Other dignatories to grace the occasion were Munster Council Chairman, Michael Maher, former County Chairman, Michael Frawley, Football Board Chairman, Hugh Kennedy, South Board Chairman, Con Hogan, Fr. James Power, P.P., and community leaders. 

Impressive Work

This book of 426 pages is a comprehensive record of football, hurling, camogie, handball and G.A.A. activity in general in the parish. The book was edited Michael Ahearne, a native of the parish, who lives in Dublin, and the work of research was done locally by a Centenary Committee under the chairmanship of Dick Cummins. 

Nearly 250 pages of the book are devoted to the history of football, with comprehensive coverage of all grades. A section entitled 'There were Seven Green Fields' informs the reader of the seven playing fields used at different times in the parish. 

The section on hurling begins with the first senior team to be fielded, Fethard Burkes, in May 1912, and goes on to record the arrival of Coolmoyne on the scene twelve years later. It is related how game against Boherlahan in the 1926 South final was called off with ten minutes to go because of a row and how, as a result the match being awarded to Boherlahan, hurling was given a terrible setback in Coolmoyne and a senior team wasn't affiliated again until 1935. High point for the hurlers of Coolmoyne was winning the south senior hurling championship in 1951. 

A Number of Firsts

Fethard won the first county senior football championship and leads the conty roll of honour with 17 titles. Dick Cummins (snr.) was the first chairman of the Munster Council. The Fethard club is the only one in the south division to have won titles, under-21 hurling excepted, in all grades of hurling and football. The most famous hurler from the parish must be Liam Connolly, who won an All-Ireland senior hurling medal in 1958. 

The book is full of interesting detail and fine photographs and the production is a credit to the printers, The Kilkenny People. The book is unusual in that it is the first club history in the county in latter years to be a sellout. Five hundred copies, 300 hardback and 200 softback, were printed and, if you're lucky enough to have got a copy, hold on to it for dear life because it's already a collector's item. Well done, Fethard!

Ros Review

Another interesting development during the year was the 'Ros Review' a bulletin to the members of the Roscea Club. The brainchild of Seamus O'Doherty, this four sheet production was sent to every club member about four times during the year and kept him up to­date with club developments. So many of us talk of the need for communication within clubs and this is a practical example of what can be done. 

In the Offering

A number of club histories are on the verge of publication. The nearest to that date is the Cappawhite club history. Liam Treacy has informed me they're hopeful of making the Christmas market. A committee has been appointed at Thurles Sarsfields to bring to fruition the work of the late Donie O'Gorman. It is hoped to have that book published during the year. I haven't heard any word of the Galtee Rovers' book which, I understood, was to appear this year and can only hope we shall see it completed by this time twelve months.


Mention of Donie O'Gorman recalls his untimely death last May. For a good number of years he was producing programmes of the highest quality at Semple Stadium and setting standards for other venues. His death was untimely and his loss a major one, not only to programme making at our premier venue but also for the publication of the Thurles Sarsfields story. His job at Semple Stadium has been taken over by John McCormack and he is filling his footsteps impressively. 

Press Coverage

During the year the Tipperary Star continued to give excellent coverage to G.A.A. affairs in the county. One of the most welcome developments was the increased coverage by the Nationalist. For the past few years we complained about the sloppy coverage of our affairs in that paper. But, as if aroused from slumber the paper has given an outstanding treatment over the past year. Each week it appears to send out a race of reporters to report on our games and give us columns of coverage and plenty of photographs to keep us entertained in the next edition. But, the Guardian stole a march on all the local papers with its coverage of the All Ireland. On its front page it gave us a magnificent picture of the All Ireland Senior Hurling champions in full living colour! It was a fine tribute to our senior hurlers and we owe a big 'thank you' to the new editor, Gerry Slevin, who figured so prominently in the early years of this Yearbook.



<span class="postTitle">Three Bonnars</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, pp 18-19

Three Bonnars

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, pp 18-19


One of the most unusual aspects of the Tipperary senior hurling team for the 1989 All-Ireland final was the inclusion of three brothers, Cormac, Colm and Conal Bonnar from the Cashel King Cormac's club. Con Houlihan had this to say about them in his 'Evening Press" column of September 4:


"Bobby Roche, M.P. for Tralee in Grattan's Parliament, was a dab hand at the Kerryman joke - now read on. 

Once upon a time - perhaps even twice - he said: "Nobody can be in two places at the one time unless he be a bird." A stranger in Croke Park yesterday might have thought that for once the good man was wrong. Hardly a minute went by without such shouts as "Come on Bonnar" and "Good man Bonnar" and "Good on you Bonnar". 

Our stranger would have wondered how this man Bonnar could be in defence and in midfield and in attack. The team sheet would have solved the puzzle: there were three Bonnars - and they all played well. I have yet to see a tiger hurl but I doubt if any member of the species could have done as well as Conal did at right half-back. In the first fifteen minutes when Tipperary were obviously stricken with tension, he was the man who played as if he knew that this would be his day. 

In midfield Colm played solidly all through, producing the quartz from which his comrades up in front distilled the gold. The third brother, full-forward Cormac, didn't get on the scorers' list - but his presence gave great room to corner-forwards Pat Fox and Nicholas English." 


By winning the All-Ireland, the Bonnars joined the ranks of other illustrious hurling families from Tipperary, the Leahys of Tubberadora, the Kennys of Borrisileigh and the Ryans of Moycarkey­Borris. But they also joined an exclusive club confined to those who played in and won All-Irelands on the same day. In this distinguished company they stand shoulder to shoulder with the Rackards of Wexford, who set up the club in 1956, and the Connollys of Galway, who joined it in 1980. 

The brothers have another, and most unusual distinction to their credit: the oldest, Cormac, and the youngest, Conal, were the oldest and youngest member respectively of the Tipperary team on September 3. 


For the oldest of the brothers, winning the All-Ireland was an unexpected bonus to a distinguished career in hurling. It was unexpected in that he had decided to quit after the 1988 west championship. The decision was taken, not because he was tired of hurling, but because of the travelling involved. Living in Limerick with his wife, Nesta, a native of Mitchelstown and with no hurling connection, the 72 mile round trip to Cashel for training and matches had become a drag. So, at the end of the 1987 championship he made a decision to go at the end of 1988. 

The rest is history now. Cashel played Clonoulty in the first round of the west in 1988 and, against all the predictions, beat them and went all the way to the county semi-final. Cormac impressed the county selectors and was called up for the Munster final against Cork. Tipperary led by 1-13 to 0-5 at the interval but Cork had rallied and reduced the lead to two points in the third quarter. Cormac was introduced and was in the right place five minutes later when a Paul Delaney free dropped behind the Cork defence and he was on the spot to steer it to the net. It was a crucial score and halted the Cork rally in its tracks. 


Was he excited about being introduced in that game? "Well, I was more philosophical than anything else. You see I had come on before in the championship and the memory was an unhappy one. In 1983 I had played in the league and had impressed enough to be drafted on to the panel for the championship. I was brought in sometime during the game but was replaced again after ten minutes. I wasn't playing well. Part of my difficulty was converting from a back to a forward, and I hadn't yet adjusted. But, to be replaced so quickly was extremely difficult to take and the memory crossed my mind when I came on in '88". 

But he wasn't replaced and came on in the All-Ireland semi-final and final. He became a regular during the league campaign and impressed in the final against Galway last April. It took a while for the selectors to recognise that he was the obvious choice for the full-forward berth and the perfect complement to Fox and English on the inside line. 

Mention of adjusting brings to mind Cormac's earlier career which was always in the back line. There he won two Under­21 All-Ireland medals in 1979 and 1980. However, the winning medals he cherishes most are those he won at the minor level. He played minor with Cashel in 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977, winning west medals in the first three years and county championships in '75 and '76. The latter year has abiding memoryies for him. As well as a county minor medal he won a football medal as well and his school, Cashel C.B.S. won the Corn Phadraig, the Kinane and the Croke cups. 

Looking back to those days, in an interview in May 1980, he had this to say: 

"We had exceptional teams and we won too easily. We were also too clean. We never had to mix it physically. Some of us are only now learning to use our bodies. ' 


Some of Cormac's critics would claim that he never did learn to use his fine physique (6'2" x 14 stone) sufficiently and that he remains a gentle giant on the field. Cormac would disagree and so would many a backman who came up against him in full flight. 

A more common observation made of the player is that he lacks confidence and that he is inclined to pass on scoring opportunities to players with inferior chances to his own. "It may have been the case in the past, "he replies, "but it's no longer so. I have developed my skills greatly in the past twelve months. I must thank John Leamy a lot for that. He has come out regularly with me in Limerick to practice. I now have much greater confidence in my ability and I do take my chances. But I would consider myself a team player. I don't give a damn who gets the score as long as it's registered for us on the scoreboard. I'm a bit of a socialist in hurling in that we must be all for one and one for all." 

In putting emphasis on the Indian summer of Cormac's career, and it can be a long summer with few if any contenders for the full-forward position he has made so much his own in the past year, one is inclined to forget his many earlier achieve­ments. As well as those mentioned above he won Fitzgibbon Cup medals in 1977 and 1978. But he also played on the Sigerson Cup team with U.C.D. where he studied History and Mathematics. He played county minor hurling in 1977 and was on the Under-21 county football team for three years. He also played county senior football. 

All in all then a career chockful of athletic accomplishments and with no sight of it coming to an end. If the journeys to Cashel were long in the past those to Thurles are longer. For the AIl-Ireland this year there were 43 sessions of an hour and a half under Philip Conway and Cormac missed only one of them. His dedication to fitness is complete. Who will forget the turn of speed he showed in the first game of the year at Clonmel last January! Some believe he wouldn't have it on the harder ground of summer but he had and plenty to spare over other players. And, as he adjusted in the past from a back to a forward, we can anticipate similar adjustment in the future if the hand pass goal is voted out of existence next Easter. 


When Cork beat Tipperary in the league game at Thurles on October 29 it was the first time Colm Bonnar experienced defeat at the hands of the Rebel County. Since he first wore the county colours in 1982 as a minor he has been on successful county teams against teams from Munster, with one exception, the senior Munster championship game against Clare at Ennis in 1986. 

He has an extraordinary record. He's been playing with the county for eight years and he has eight Munster medals to his credit! The record is as follows: minor - 1982; under-21 - 1983, 1984, 1985; junior - 1985; senior - 1987, 1988, 1989. So, 1986 is the only blot in a very impressive sequence of victories. That defeat in Ennis in 1986 led to a re-think in the method of preparing county teams and the appointment of Babs, Theo and Donie to take charge. 

During the same period Colm played in seven All-Irelands, winning in 1982, under­21 in 1985 and 1989. The losses were in 1983 and 1984, junior in 1985 and senior in 1988. In retrospect, the most galling of these has to be the loss of the junior All­-Ireland in 1985. Playing against the breeze in the first half against Wexford at Kilkenny they led by two points at half- time and seemed set for victory but they changed their tactics in the second half and were behind two points at the final whistle. The chances of Colm ever getting so near an All-Ireland junior medal in the future are indeed slim and the possession of one would have given him a unique collection. 

These eight years with the county were preceded with intensive involvement in games at Cashel C.B.S. During his stint there he won Croke, Fitzgerald and McGabhann Cup medals but pride of place must go to his two All-Ireland '8' hurling medals. These were won in 1980 and 1982 and John Kennedy also won both. Joe Hayes played on the 1980 team and John Leamy on the 1982. So all of these lads learnt success at an early age. 

Up to the age of thirteen Colm played left hand over right and, on the instructions of his coach changed over to the orthodox way. Close observers of his game will notice how he sometimes fumbles catching the ball because his best catching hand is still his right. Even still he occasionally catches the ball in his right hand and has then to transfer it to his left. 

This difficulty may account for another anomaly in his play, his delivery of the ball. It is never as crip and as long as one would expect from a player of his strength. The thought arises if the change were well-advised and if reversion to this original style were possible. 

During the past summer there was an opinion abroad that Colm had gone stale and that his game was suffering as a result. He would disagree and claims that Phll Conway worked wonders with the team, getting them mentally prepared for the game so that they would all be well able to last the seventy minutes. 

However, the nature of Colm's occupation may be a contributory factor. A P.E. instructor with Waterford R.T.C. he is full-time involved with hurling, football and camogie. For five days a week he works with teams until seven o'clock in the evening and always has a hurley in his hand. This kind of involvement can kill some of the enthusiasm for getting out to hurl oneself 

Colm's contribution to Tipperary hurling has been tremendous. In the past three years he has been an important link in the chain of success. He holds a record for 33 successive appearances in league and championship over a thirty-month period and the highlight of that run must have been the 'Man of the Match Award~ for the 1988 Munster final. Such a contribution is a tribute to the fitness of the man and his hurling ability and was properly recognised when he became one of the 1988 All-Star!;. The fact that he is still only twenty-five years of age must give us reason to believe that he will continue to be a force in Tipperary and Cashel hurling for many years to come. 


One might be inclined to regard Conal as the Banjamin of the bunch but that would suggest someone in need of care and protection. Such would, indeed be furthest from the truth, because Conal is very much his own man and has an impressive record of achievements for one who celebrated his twentieth birthday on October 13. 

Conal was drafted into the Tipperary senior panel for the 1988 AlI-Ireland. The event attracted plenty of attention because he became a third Bonnar on the panel and, to be drafted in at that stage of the championship was an indication of the potential of the player. 

Conal first hit the county headlines in 1986 when he was picked wing-back for the minors. With five of the previous year's panel Tipperary were expected to do well and fulfilled that expectation in defeating Clare. The Munster final was in Killarney and ended in a draw and Conal had to experience the pangs of defeat to Cork in the replay in Kilmallock eleven days later. Playing at centreback in 1987, Conal experienced similar agony at the ultimate stage. The Munster championship was won with victories over Limerick and Cork, the AII-Ireland semi-final impressively against Galway, and hopes were high against Offaly in the All-Ireland. But, defeat was his lot by two points. 


Conal came on the county minor team following an impressive career at Cashel CB.S. during which time he won two Croke Cup medals, two Fitzgerald, one McGabhann and he captained the Kinane Cup team to victory in 1986. He was also captain of the Cashel King Cormac's minor team which won the west in 1987 

A third year commerce student at U.C.D.  he  travels to Thurles during the week to train with the team. On such a day he will leave Belfield at 3 p.m. and cycle home to his flat in Ranelagh. He collects his gear and travels over by bus to Bab's place in Castleknock for the trip to Thurles.  After an hour and a half training he returns to Dublin.  

After being on the losing side in 1987 and 1988, Colm eventually struck gold on September 3 this year. Playing at wing­back he performed impressvely and seems a natural in that position. On the following Sunday at Portlaoise he hit the jackpot a second time when winning an under-21 medal. Both victories helped to erase the memories of the 1987 and 1988 defeats.

Conal is modest about his achievements. He considers he got a number of lucky breaks which gave him opportunities he exploited to the fullest extent. But observers give him more than luck. He impressed them with his anticipation on the field, his burst of speed and his expert delivery. In a very short inter­county career he has impressed many, who see a long and brilliant future ahead for him.


<span class="postTitle">Philip Conway</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, pp 18-19

Philip Conway

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, pp 18-19


Who is Philip Conway? The question was asked by many last March after his appointment as Physical Fitness Trainer to the Tipperary team. This wasn't surprising because he wasn't a Tipperary man and had no connection with the game of hurling. 

It will come as a surprise to many to learn that the man has spent nearly a quarter of his life in Tipperary. Born in Dublin he came to Preparatory School to Rockwell College in 1956 at the tender age of eight years! He was to spend no less than nine years as a student there and later return as a P.E. teacher for one year, 1970-71. 


During his years at Rockwell he won high distinction in the field of athletics. His speciality was the shot putt and he first made the national scene in 1963 when he won the Irish Schools' Intermediate Championship with a great final throw, which pushed Ned Byrne of Cistercian College, Roscrea into second place. Byrne was to play corner-forward for Kilkenny in the 1971 All-Ireland. 

Almost equally gifted with the discus Philip took senior All-Ireland honours in both shot-putt and discus in 1964 and followed up with a second double the following year. His contribution was a major factor in Rockwell winning the College of Science Cup on both occasions. 


Equally proficient at rugby he played on two junior and two senior cup teams between 1962 and 1965. The College won the senior cup in 1964, Centenary Year, and the captain, Johnny Moroney of Clogheen, presented it to the then President, Fr. Finucane, C.S.S.P. on the balcony over the main entrance of the College. It was with a certain amount of nostalgia that Philip Conway appeared on the same balcony with the McCarthy Cup on October 4 last. He himself captained the College side in 1965 and his skill with the oval ball was recognised with Munster interprovincial caps in 1964 and 1965. This was the end of his rugby career because he gave up the game after school to concentrate solely on athletic training. 


He had an offer of an athletics scholarship to the U.S. after his Leaving Certificate but decided he needed a year to think things over before he accepted. During the year he worked for the Irish Lighthouse Service and eventually went to Boston University in September 1966. He spent four years there before coming back to Rockwell in 1970 with a B.Sc in Physical Education. Returning to Springfield College, Mass. in 1971 he was awarded a Master's degree in Education in 1973. He got a job after returning in Belvedere College and has been working there since. 

The high point of his athletics career was qualifying for and competing in the Munich Olympics in 1972. It wasn't to be the happiest of occasions for him and he didn't perform as well as he hoped but he recalls it as a great honour to have represented his country at that level. 

Three years previously he had the distinction of winning three Irish titles in the one year, the hammer, the shot and the discus. Two years before he had broken two Irish national records. Ned Tobin's discus record had stood since 1939 and Hugh O'Callaghan's shot-putt record had been established in 1964. Philip became very good friends with Ned Tobin and actually called his house the day he died. 


Coaching teams and players to be fit is Philip Conway's job. As well as his work at Belvedere College he has coached teams outside. He has done work with Old Belvedere and Trinity Athletic and Rowing clubs. He wrote the fitness schedules for Roly Meades' tour teams to New Zealand and Australia. He has also acted as national hammer and discus coach. 

How did he happen to come to Tipperary? Babs takes up the story: 'I was talking to Tony Ward and Ollie Campbell after a Links Golf Outing and I asked them if they knew anyone who was good at preparing teams. Ollie told me the best man he knew was Phil Conway'. 

Phil continues the story: 'I was at a Rockwell College PPU dinner at the Royal Marine Hotel on February 17 and I was informed there was a man who wished to speak to me. I was introduced to Denis O'Connor and he spent over two hours talking to me. In the course of the conversation he used the expression 'winning an All-Ireland' at least twenty times! I went home and discussed it with my wife. At the time we were expecting our fourth child. He was born a week later and died shortly after birth. When things settled down Babs contacted me in early March. I said I'd try it as at the time it seemed like a good distraction and one hell of a challenge. 


On March 15 he met the panel for the first time at Thurles and explained the components of fitness, tested them, knew that he could make a contribution and gave the players a programme of 'selfhelp' to be done at home. Between then and the All-Ireland the team had 43 sessions and he was present at 39 of them. . 

They looked at videos on the various forms of fitness training to help them understand the direction the graph was taking. The panel trained methodically and progressively, adapted well to the imposed demands made upon the various energy systems of the human frame. They learned about the regression before progression concept. 

Tremendous attention was paid to detail. For a man to play well he must look well and much attention was paid to the players' gear and the get-out as well as to their physical fitness. 

He tells the story of the laces to illustrate the point. 'When I first took over, players went out with different laces, different togs, different jerseys and dirty boots. I tried to get across the idea that if the player thought enough of himself he would present himself properly. So, one evening I said: 'Let's all wear white laces'. There were mumbles and grumbles and after about a half-hour Ken Hogan said: 'I don't like the idea of white laces. The ball is white. In a tussle in the square I could mix up the laces and the ball'. 'A very valid point' I said. So, we agreed on black laces. 


Every training session has a purpose and every player must be given a reason for every recommendation and every requirement. During these 43 sessions the players received about 35 handouts to be taken home and studied. One such handout was a list of all the members of the panel, selectors, mentors, etc., their addresses and their phone numbers at home and at work. This was to facilitate easy communication and to make each player feel he was a member of a closely knit group. 

Philip Conway sounds like a man with a mission. He has a great acquaintance with the human body and an extensive knowledge of physical training requirements. He tries to coax and convert his charges to accepting this information and using it for their physical betterment. But the psychological factor is equally important. The players must know what they are doing and be happy and contented doing it. 'My task was educative in nature. If all they got from me was the importance of warm-up and the practice of same, the importance of stretching for injury prevention and the practice of same, the work practice, skill practice or fitness training and warm down phase afterwards, I would be happy. Finally, if they would take these practices into their own clubs they would improve physical fitness generally'. 


Philip Conway is quietly satisfied with his achievement. It has all been worth the nearly 8,000 miles he has travelled from Dundrum, Dublin to Thurles since last March. A married man with three young girls, he rises at 6.30 during the week in order to be at work at Belvedere at 8 a.m. He is very pleased with the freedom he has been given to implement his physical fitness ideas on the team. He believes that a few of the players could achieve a higher level of fitness. He enjoys the meal after training in the Park Avenue. He has no major plans for the future except to take things as they come. The players are very happy for him and so must be all the Tipperary supporters.


<span class="postTitle">The Making of an All-Ireland</span> Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, pp 15-17

The Making of an All-Ireland

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1990, pp 15-17


In an interview with the Tipperary Star on the eve of the All-Ireland, Babs Keating mentioned a figure 'in excess of £225,000' raised by the Supporters' Club over three years through raffles, golf outings and sponsorship. This money had gone towards the cost of training the Tipperary senior hurling team. 

At a subsequent county board meeting, treasurer Michael Nolan informed the members that, in 1988 alone, £30,000 had been paid from board funds towards the training of the team. These figures reveal the tremendous cost of getting the county senior team to Croke Park on September 3. 

The cost in members' time and travel is equally impressive. Five of the present panel and management, Babs Keating, Ken Hogan, Declan Carr, Nicholas English and Philip Conway, are based in Dublin. The round trip to Thurles is nearly 200 miles and this journey is done sometimes as many as three nights a week. For instance, Philip Conway took over as team physical trainer on March 15 and between then and the All-Ireland there were 43 team sessions. He attended 38 of them which, translated into miles, is between seven and eight thousand!


New Management

The number of games played, since the present management structure was set up in September 1986, is also staggering. The new management had been appointed at the August county board meeting following a special meeting of the board in July, which reviewed the structures in the county and the system of appointing selectors and team management. A sub­committee of county officials Michael Lowry, Tommy Barrett and Martin O'Connor, plus divisional chairmen Paddy Browne, Pat Cullen, Mick McGuire and Noel Morris, was set up to appoint a team manager. 

Initially, the committee drew up a list of 14 candidates for consideration, among whom were believed to be Joe McGrath from Down and Dermot Healy from Kilkenny. Among the Tipperary contenders for the position were Tony Wall, Len Gaynor, Mick Minogue, Jimmy Doyle and the man who was appointed, Babs Keating. The new manager appointed former team-mates Donie Nealon and Theo English to assist him in his selectorial duties. Interestingly, all three appointees were members of junior clubs.


Poor Performance

The reason for the decision to change the method of appointing the selectors of the team was the dismal showing of the senior hurlers against Clare in that year's championship. In a staggering last quarter collapse at Ennis, Tipperary surrendered a nine point lead and were defeated by 2-10 to 1-11. For the record, the team was Tony Sheppard (capt.), Colm Bonnar, Peter Brennan, Seamus Gibson, Donal Kealy, Noel Sheehy, Bobby Ryan, John McGrath, Ralph Callaghan, Liam Stokes, Donie O'Connell, Philip Kennedy, Ger O'Neill, Seamus Power, Liam Maher. Subs to appear that day were John McIntyre and Eamon O'Shea. The selectors were Pat Stakelum, Rev. Ray Reidy, Jimmy Hennessy, Len Gaynor and Liam King. 

The new management took over for the start of the 1986-87 League. In preparalion there was a challenge with Waterford at Clonmel on September 21, which was won by 3-19 to 3-11. The team on that occasion was Ken Hogan, Michael Corcoran, Conor O'Donovan, John Ryan, Pa Fitzelle, J. Walsh, John Heffernan, Joe Hayes, Noel Sheehy, Nicholas English, Paudie Everard, Michael Cleary, J. Quinn, Donie O'Connell and Michael Scully. Interestingly, eight of that lineout were to contribute to the All-Ireland victory on September 3. The other warm-ups followed, against Clare at Newmarket and Kilkenny at Cloughjordan.


The League 

Tipperary were in Division II and their opening game was against Antrim at Dunloy, on October 12. They were well beaten, 3-15 to 3-7, and the team, revealed problems in the full-back line, at centrefield, where Aidan Ryan and Donie O'Connell didn't gell, and in the forwards. There were drastic changes for the next game away to Kerry which saw the introduction of Tony Sheppard for Hogan in goals; Conor O'Donovan and Peter Brennan in the full-back line, Paul Delaney at half-back, Philip Kennedy and Liam Stokes at centrefield and Philip Kenny, Gerry Williams and Michael Nolan to the forwards. They beat Kerry by 3-15 to 0-5, followed up with a win over Meath by 5-14 to 0-9 and defeated Dublin by 1-12 to 1-4 on December 7. They went into the winter recess with 8 points out of a possible 10. 

February 15 was a crunch game for Tipperary. They played Waterford at Walsh Park and victory was essential for promotion to Division 1. This was a fiercely competitive game because Waterford, unbeaten to date, had a similar mission. The final score was 3-11 to 1-7 in Tipperary's favour and left them with only lowly Mayo to overcome in their final game. In fact they trounced Mayo by 5-18 to 0-2, at Thurles, on March 1, and qualified to play Limerick in the quarter­final on April 5. 

This game was postponed for a week because of the state of Semple Stadium and was eventually won by Tipperary (3-15 to 3-14), after an epic encounter that went on for 90 minutes. In the course of that time Tipperary lost a seven-point interval lead and needed an English point in injury time to square the match. Similarly, it took a Pat Fox point in the final minute of extra time to grasp the winner. Pat Fox and John McGrath, who hadn't participated in earlier league games, came in as subs. 

Tipperary had to turn out in the league semi-final the following Sunday in Cork and gave a jaded performance before going down to Clare by 2-11 to 1-11. They lined out without the services of Richard Stakelum and Nicholas English, both sidelined by injuries from the previous Sunday. 

The team for the occasion, with the numbers in brackets indicating the number of league games, (9 in all), they played, was as follows: 

Tony Sheppard (6), J. Heffernan (2), C. O'Donovan (6), S. Gibson (6), C. Bonnar (5), J. McGrath (-), D. O'Connell (8), M. Nolan (4), P. Fox (-), P. Kenny (2), A. Ryan (2). Other players used during the league included K. Hogan (2), M. Corcoran (4), J. Ryan (3), J. Hayes (1), N. Sheehy (2), P. Everard (2), J. Quinn (5), M. Scully (4), P. Delaney (2), L. Stokes (5), G. Williams (4), M. Doyle (8), R. Stakelum (8), P. Brennan (2), F. Collins (1), N. English (7), R. Stakelum (7).


The Championship

There were five challenge games before the first round ofthe championship against Kerry at Killarney, on May 24. There were eight changes in personnel from the team that lost to Clare in the league semi-final. Sheppard, Heffernan, Fitzell, Stapleton, McGrath, Nolan and Philip Kenny were omitted and Bobby Ryan was still in the States with the All-Stars. Nolan and McGrath were, in fact, dropped from the panel. In their places were named Ken Hogan, Peter Brennan, Richard Stapleton, Noel Sheehy, newcomer John Kennedy from Clonoulty, Michael Doyle, Liam Stokes and Michael Scully. 

The game was expected to be no more than a warm-up but at half-time Tipperary were in the embarrassing position of having only four points to spare. In the end, however, they won by 1-21 to 2·5, to everyone's relief. 

There were a number of surprise changes for the semi-final game with Clare. Bobby Ryan was a shock choice at full-forward and John Kennedy was given the number 6 spot. John McGrath, dropped from the panel for the Kerry game, was now brought in at centrefield to the exclusion of Philip Kennedy. Jerry Williams and Nicholas English replaced Liam Stokes and Michael Scully in the forwards. The game, a mediocre contest, was redeemed by the closeness of the exchanges and ended in a draw (1-13 all). There were a few changes for the replay. Joe Hayes came in at centrefield to partner Colm Bonnar, and John Heffernan, who had replaced Peter Brennan in the drawn game, retained the corner back position. There were no mistakes in the replay and Tipperary destroyed any Clare aspirations to Munster supremacy in a score of 4-17 to 0-8. 

An estimated 60,000 people saw the final against Cork, at Thurles. There was one change, John McGrath replacing the injured Jerry Williams at wing-forward. The match ended in a draw with Pat Fox pointing twice in the last minute, but Tipperary should have put Cork away before that. The final score was 1-18 all and the replay was in Killarney. 

This memorable game ended in a draw and there were scenes of incredible delight when, at the final whistle of extra time, Tipperary were ahead by 4-22 to 1-22 and became the holders of the Munster Cup for the first time in sixteen years. There were two changes from the drawn game with Pa Fritzelle replacing the injured Joe Hayes at midfield and Jerry Williams returning at wing forward. The full team was: K. Hogan, J. Heffernan, C. O'Donovan, S. Gibson, R. Stakelum, J. Kennedy, P. Delaney, C. Bonnar, P. Fitzelle, J. Williams, D. O'Connell, A. Ryan, P. Fox, N. English, B. Ryan. Subs. introduced were Martin McGrath, Michael Doyle and Gerry Stapleton.



The hopes and expectations of Tipperary followers were dashed in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway at Croke Park on August 9. A series of mistakes led to a Galway victory by 3-20 to 2-17. A slackness in defence in the opening twenty minutes, a failure to take opportunities during the third quarter and some doubtful decisions by the team mentors contributed to a very disappointing defeat. For the game Joe Hayes was declared fit and chosen in preference to Pat Fitzelle and Martin McGrath, who had come on in the Munster final, was chosen in place of Gerry Williams.


The 1987-88 League

Tipperary played ten games to win the 1987-88 league. The campaign opened with an encouraging victory over Limerick, at Thurles, on October 11, but was followed by defeat at the hands of Wexford two weeks later. The third game was a repeat of the All-Ireland semi-final and ended in a 0-7 each draw in Thurles. 

There was a good victory over Cork at Pairc U'Chaoimh and another over Waterford before the winter recess. After Christmas there was a heavy defeat of Clare at Ennis and then over 30,000 went to Kilkenny for the final game against the home side. Tipperary suffered a comprehensive defeat from Kilkenny on a day when the forwards were well and truly spancelled by a determined Kilkenny backline. 

Nine points from seven games was good enough for a place in the quarter finals in which Antrim were overcome by 2-20 to 2-9 at Croke Park, on March 20. Three weeks later at the same venue, Tipperary had a comprehensive victory over Waterford, 4-19 to 1-8, in the semi-final and on April 24 they defeated Offaly in the final by 3-15 to 2-9 to win their first league title since 1979.

The winning side, with the number of league appearances in brackets - total 10, was as follows: Ken Hogan (10), J. Heffernan (8), C. O'Donovan (9), S. Gibson (10), R. Stakelum, capt. (7), J. Kennedy (4), P. Delaney (10), C. Bonnar (10), J. Hayes (6), M. McGrath (1), D. O'Connell (9), A. Ryan (8), P. Fox (10), N. English (9), B. Ryan (6). Subs: J. McGrath (-), M. Dovle (-). Other players used during the league: ;P. Fitzelle (6), N. Sheehy (8), C. Maher (1), P. Hayes (1), P. O'Neill (3), C. Ryan (5), D. Ryan (7), C. Stakelum (2), J. Leahy (1). 

The 1988 Championship

The first game in the 1988 championship was a Munster semi-final encounter with Limerick, at Cork, on June 5. A number of players were excluded because of injuries - English, Gibson, Heffernan and Fitzelle. There was a cautionary approach to the game but the team weren't flattered with their win of 0-15 to 0-8. The team lined out as follows: K. Hogan, C.O'Donovan, N. Sheehy, P. Delaney, R. Stakelum, J. Kennedy, B. Ryan, C. Bonnar, J. Hayes, J. Leahy, D. O'Connell, P. O'Neill, P. Fox, D. Ryan, A. Ryan. Ger O'Neill and Michael Cleary were introduced as subs.

For the Munster final against Cork, in Pairc U'Chaoimh, on July 17, English and Gibson returned to the exclusion of Leahy and Stakelum, English going to full­forward and Declan Ryan reverting to the wing. Conor O'Donovan moved to full­back in a switch with Sheehy and Bobby Ryan and Paul Delaney reverted to their initial half-back positions. Tipperary confirmed their Munster mastery, despite a second-half slide, and won by 2-19 to 1-13. The game saw the introduction of Cormac Bonnar, and John Leahy was also brought on as a sub. 

The All-Ireland semi-final saw one change from the Munster final. John Heffernan, out because of suspension, was brought in in place of Seamus Gibson. The other decision taken by the selectors was the omission of Michael Corcoran and Michael O'Meara from the panel of twenty-three. Tipperary had the edge all the way through but they weren't released from the grip of the underdogs, Antrim, until Pat Fox scored a decisive goal in the twenty-first minute of the second-half. The final score was 3-15 to 2-10. Three subs were introduced - Leahy, Cormac Bonnar and Austin Buckley. 

The big bombshell for the final was the dropping of captain Pa O'Neill and his replacement with John Leahy. English took over the captaincy. The back line was reshuffled with O'Donovan going full-back and Noel Sheehy to centre-back. Delaney went back right -corner and John Kennedy moved out to his position. A third Bonnar, Conal, was drafted into the subs.

The final on September 4 ended frustratingly. Playing against the breeze in the first half, Tipperary held Galway to four points (0-10 to 0-6) at half-time, chiefly due to good back work, and looked good for the second half. But the Galway backs were equally effective against the Tipperary backs after the interval and the All-Ireland champions were ahead by 1-15 to 0-14 at the final whistle. In the end, with only a point between the sides, Tipperary tried desperately for a goal but it came at the opposite end in the dying moments. The losing lineout was: K. Hogan, P. Delaney, C. O'Donovan, J. Heffernan, B. Ryan, N. Sheehy, J. Kennedy, C. Bonnar, J. Hayes, D. Ryan, D. O'Connell, J. Leahy, P. Fox, N. English, A. Ryan. Sub: Cormac Bonnar for Hayes.


The 1988-89 League

The first round was at Dungarvan ori October 30 and Tipperary beat the home side by 1-12 to 0-11. Seven of the defeated All-Ireland side were missing and many new faces were introduced. The side was: K. Hogan, Colm Bonnar, C. O'Donovan, N. Sheehy, Pat McGrath, Jim Maher, B. Ryan, J. Kennedy, Jim Cormack, D. Ryan, D. O'Connell, David Fogarty, P. Fox, Cormac Bonnar, Michael Cleary. 

Three more victories followed before Christmas. Against Offaly, at Thurles, on November 6, the score was 1-19 to 0-10. A week later at the same venue there was a comprehensive defeat of Wexford, 2-20 to 1-4. Two weeks later, at Limerick, in an exciting game, the result was 4-14 to 3-11 in our favour. 

The good work continued after Christmas against Antrim, at Thurles, when the result was 2-15 to 0-7. However, only one point was got from the final two games. At Ballinasloe, on March 5, the result was 0-12 to 1-7 in Galway's favour and a week later at Thurles the result was a draw: Tipperary 1-11, Kilkenny 2-8. Eleven points secured a semi-final place against Kilkenny at Croke Park, on April 16, and the result was a narrow win: Tipperary 0-15, Kilkenny 1-11. Two weeks later Galway proved the bogey once again when, after a thrilling game, they were ahead by 2-16 to 4-8 at the final whistle. The losing side showed some changes from the 'opening game and from the previous year's All-Ireland: K. Hogan, B. Ryan, C. O'Donovan, P. Delaney, R. Stakelum, N. Sheehy, Conal Bonnar, Colm Bonnar, Declan Carr, D. Ryan, J. Hayes, J. Leahy, Michael Cleary, Cormac Bonnar, Pat McGrath. 

The number of players used in the nine league games, plus the number of games each player playes in brackets, is as follows: K. Hogan (8), C. O'Donovan (9), N. Sheehy (9), R. Stakelum (3), J. Kennedy (5), P. Delaney (3), B. Ryan (9), Colm Bonnar (9), J. Hayes (4), J. Leahy (6), D. O'Connell (1), P. Fox (3), D. Ryan (8), N. English (4), J. Heffernan (3), P. McGrath (8), Jim Maher (1), John Cormack (8), Declan Can (8), John Leamy (1).


An All-Ireland at Last!

The first game in the Munster Championship was a repeat of 1988, with Limerick the opponents and the venue Cork on June 11. It was a close game in the first half with the sides level at 1-7 at the interval. But Tipperary took over in the second-half and won comfortably by 4-18 to 2-11. The side showed changes from the league final. R. Stakelum was out and J. Heffernan was back and Bobby Ryan was the new centre-back. The reshuffled backline read: Heffernan, O'Donovan, Sheehy, Conal Bonnar, B. Ryan, P. Delaney. In the forwards, Fox and English replaced Cleary and Cormac Bonnar. 

The Munster final was against surprise packets, Waterford, and Tipperary were red-hot favourites, and proved it, despite getting a battering from an excessively physical opposition, two of whom were sidelined in the course of the game. Tipperary failed to score a goal but won by 0-26 to 2-8. There were a few changes from the side that won the semi-final. Declan Carr was replaced at centrefield by Declan Ryan, who made way for the introduction of Michael Cleary at wing-forward. Pat McGrath was excluded from the corner­forward position and his place was taken by Nicholas English, with Cormac Bonnar coming in at full-forward. 

In a semi-final of high drama and controversy, devoid of quality hurling, Tipperary eventually beat Galway at Croke Park on August 6. However, there were only three points between the sides in the end, 1-17 to 2-11, despite the fact that Galway had only thirteen men for the final ten minutes. The only change in the lineout was the return of Declan Carr in place of Colm Bonnar at centrefield. 

Tipperary put an end to the eighteen year famine on September 3 when they beat a disappointing Antrim team by 4-24 to 3-9 in the final. It was really one-way traffic for the duration and Nicholas English gave a superb display to get a personal tally of 2-12 and set up a new record. The side showed two changes from the semi-final. Paul Delaney was omitted because of doubt on his legality and was replaced by John Kennedy. Colm Bonnar returned at centrefield with Declan Ryan moving to centrefield and replacing Joe Hayes. 

The winning side, with championship appearances in brackets, was as follows: K. Hogan (4), J. Heffernan (4), C. O'Donovan (4), N. Sheehy (4), Conal Bonnar (4), B. Ryan (4), M. Cleary (3), P. Fox (4), Cormac Bonnar (3), N. English (4). Subs: D. O'Connell (-), J. Hayes (3), A. Ryan (-). Others: R. Stakelum (-), J. Leamy (-), J. Cormack (-), P. McGrath (l), J. Madden (-), P. Delaney (3).



Since the new management took over Tipperary played 42 competitive games in league and championship over three years. The result was 30 wins, 4 draws and 8 losses. Two of the draws were in the 1987 championship, against Clare and Cork. The other two were against Galway in'the 1987-88 league and against Kilkenny in the 1988-89 league. Galway beat us four times - twice in the championship 1987 and 1988, and twice in the 1988-89 league. The other defeats were at the hands of Laois and Clare in the 1986-87 league and by Kilkenny and Wexford in the 1987-88 league. 

Of the players who have been involved over the period the most impressive per­formancce is that of Conor O'Donovan. Of the 42 games, Conor played in 38! He is Ifollowed by Colm Bonnar with 36. Colm has another record, an uninterrupted sequence of 31 games until he was dropped for the All-Ireland semi-final. Next in line comes Ken Hogan with 34 games, Bobby Ryan with 33, Nicholas English with 31, Donie O'Connell with 29, Noel Sheehy with 28, Paul Delaney with 27 and Pat Fox with 26. 

Finally, Tipperary's scoring perform­ance has been impressive. In the 1986-87 league they played nine games and were beaten in the semi-final. The team scored 25 goals 128 points and conceded 11 goals 66 points. In the 1987 championship they were beaten in the semi-final. They scored 13 goals 108 points and conceded 8 goals an 87 points. They won the 1987-88 league with ten games and scored 23 goals 131 points while conceding 12 goals 79 points. In the 1988 championship they played four games and scored 5 goals 63 points while conceding 4 goals 46 points. There were nine games in the 1988-89 league and the tally was 16 goals and 121 points for and 9 goals 90 against. The 1989 championship was the only time the opposition scored as many goals. The combined total was 9 goals 85 points for and 9 goals 39 points against.