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<span class="postTitle">Tony Reddin (1919-2019) Remembered</span> Munster Senior Hurling Championship, Tipperary v Portláirge, Semple Stadium, May 19, 2019

Tony Reddin (1919-2019) Remembered

Munster Senior Hurling Championship, Tipperary v Portláirge, Semple Stadium, May 19, 2019

In a fine nostalgic piece in the 1981 Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook, Seamus Leahy recalls a visit from his uncle Paddy and Jimmy Maher after Lorrha’s defeat by Holycross in the 1948 county final. He produced an autograph book and his uncle wrote: ‘Sensation: Holycross won county championship 1948. Tipp will win All-Ireland championship 1949.’

Then he handed the book to Jimmy, who wrote: ‘Jim Maher, Boherlahan.’

‘Identify yourself,’ urged Paddy, ‘Jim Maher, Boherlahan could be anyone. Write ‘Tipp goalie.’

‘Not after today,’ said Jimmy, ‘didn’t you see your man, Reddin, today? He’s your goalie now.’

Jimmy was right. After eight years as Tipperary’s senior goalkeeper he was to give way to this ‘unknown’, who had shown unusual ability during the North and county championship. He was picked as Jimmy’s replacement for the county’s first game in the league against Offaly on October 24 and played his last game against New York in October 1957. His tenure with Lorrha was from Easter Sunday 1947 until April 1958 during which time he won two North championship medals in 1948 and 1956.

Mullagh to Lorrha

Tony arrived in Lorrha from Mullagh, Co. Galway early in 1947 at the age of twenty-eight years. He had shown promise in his native county, playing with the county juniors and seniors and with the Connaght Railway Cup team. He won a Connaght junior hurling medal in 1940 and played full-forward with the county against Tipperary in the Monaghan Cup game in London in 1946. However, it wasn’t until he crossed the Shannon that his true potential was realised.

His list of achievements is impressive by any standards, As well as winning three All-Irelands, six national Leagues, two Brendan Cup medals and one Oireachtas, he also won six Railway Cup medals and four ‘Ireland Team’ cups. He travelled to London on nine occasions and played on the wining Monaghan Cup team on eight occasions. His ninth visit was as a substitute in 1957, when Tipperary were beaten. He was also picked for the Number 1 position on the Teams of the Century and the Millennium.

One of the Greats

There is nobody to deny that he was one of the greats of hurling history. He was great in the days when a goalkeeper’s fate was to be bundled into the back of the net, if the backs gave the forwards sufficient leeway. Tony’s greatest asset was to stop the ball dead so that it rolled down to his chest or his feet. He would leave the ball on the ground until the last moment and then, with the forwards rushing in, he would take it, sidestep them and have plenty of space to clear. He claimed to know which side of the goal the ball would come by watching which foot a forward was on when he hit the ball. Whatever the reason for his greatness, his stopping prowess was the bane of forwards and a joy to supporters for many a year.

The Banagher Connection

Tony Reddin died on March 1, 2015 in his ninety-sixth year, survived by his wife, Maura (nee Smyth) whom he married in 1956, and nine children, six girls and three boys. The family moved from Lorrha to Banagher in 1964 and Tony took over as manager and selector of the local St, Rynagh’s team that won ten out of twelve county finals between 1966-1976. He had a very simple message on the training pitch, develop a quick touch, deliver the ball fast and always do it diagonally. Tony’s son, Cathal, who played with Offaly and later with Paris Gaels had the distinction of winning Poc Fada na hEorpa at Tongeren on July 7,

1997

Of all the medals that Tony won during his distinguished hurling career, one that he cherished greatly was the 1933 county under-14 medal he won with his native place, Mullagh. Quite recently two of his grandchildren, twins Orla and Aisling Gaughan, won the Galway under-14 county camogie final with Ardrahan. Tony would have enjoyed the co-incidence!

<span class="postTitle">Patrick Roger Cleary (1857-1933) General Secretary G.A.A.</span> Munster Senior Hurling Championship, Tipperary v Limerick, Thurles, May 16, 2019

Patrick Roger Cleary (1857-1933) General Secretary G.A.A.

Munster Senior Hurling Championship, Tipperary v Limerick, Thurles, May 16, 2019

Patrick Roger Cleary was born in Lagganstown, in the Parish of New Inn and Knockgraffon the youngest of the five children of Roger Cleary and his wife Hanora (Ryan), and baptised in New Inn Church on March 14, 1857.

One account has him educated in Mungret College. He was fluent in the Irish language and knew Latin. He qualified as a teacher and was appointed Principal of Inch St. Lawrence National School in Caherconlish, a single-roomed school of the type that was common in rural Ireland at the time, with eighty pupils. He married a local girl, Minnie Dooley, whose father was a member of the R.I.C. , in the Augustinian Church in Limerick on January 19, 1888. They had a son, Roger, who was born towards the end of the same year, and died at the age of six, and three daughters, Minnie, Nan and Kitty. There was a second son, Michael Patrick, who was born in Limerick and died at the age of three months.

As a result of falling out with his manager, Fr. Cooney, Cleary was sacked and became an agent to the Prudential Assurance Company, which worked well as a cover for his secret job as a travelling I.R.B. organiser. His involvement in the I.R.B. helped his spectacular rise through the ranks of the G.A.A.

The G.A.A. was rent by divisions at the time, which had their origins in the political situation that existed.. The physical force group of Fenians gained dominance on the Central Council and some counties, including Limerick, had two county boards representing the different viewpoints, an official one and a breakaway band of people not prepared to accept the Fenian policy.


Elected General Secretary of G.A.A.

At the convention of the ‘official’ county board in Limerick, in 1888, P. R. Cleary was elected secretary of the board, which indicated that his sympathies were with the Fenian side. He was a delegate to the Annual Congress of 1888, held in Thurles in January 1889, and was elected general secretary of the Association. His fellow Limerick delegate, Anthony Mackey, was elected treasurer. At the following Annual Congress in November, Patrick Cleary was elected for a second term. He served until the next convention, when he was succeeded by Maurice Moynihan of Kerry.

His two years in office were beset with difficulties. A number of counties refused to recognise the Central Council and would not take part in the All-Ireland championships. However, Cleary succeeded in completing the intercounty championships although with reduced participation by counties, eight in both hurling and football. He organised the games and refereed some of them himself. Dublin beat Clare in the hurling final and Tipperary beat Laois in the football in 1899.

All in all Patrick Cleary proved to be an active secretary and, considering the limiting circumstance in which he was operating, his performance was satisfactory. He continued to take an active interest in the G.A.A. in Tipperary and was acting chairman of the county board for a time in 1902. According to his obituary notice in the Tipperary Star ‘His interest in the fortunes of the G.A.A. was maintained all through his life and until comparatively lately when the weight of years was telling on his splendid physique. He travelled to all the principal hurling and football events in the southern area and was a familiar figure at Croke Park.’


Later Life

In May 1891 the Cleary family were living at Kilmallock and by mid-1892 were settled in Killarney, where it was noted by the Dublin Castle authorities that ‘he was received by the leading suspects of the place.’ When O’Donovan Rossa visited Kerry, P. R. Cleary took a prominent part in organising reception committees. Tragedy hit the family in April 1895 in Killarney, when his eldest child, Michael Patrick, died.

By 1895 the family were back in Limerick, living in Thomondgate, where his youngest son, Michael Patrick Cleary, was born. The move back to Limerick was seemingly dictated by his new job as an agent for a Bordeaux wine firm, in which capacity he was enabled to travel all over Ireland promoting the I.R.B. cause.

His wife, Mary Anne Dooley, died in St. John’s Hospital, Limerick in September 1896 at the age of twenty-nine years, apparently of cancer, and he was left to bring up the three young girls by himself. By 1901 he was back in Tipperary, living in the village of Bansha with his young daughters and continued to move around the country as an agent for the French Wine Firm.

By 1911, he and his family had moved into Tipperary town, to Emmett Street, where he was now employed as a County Council land surveyor. He designed the Maid of Erin statue, which was unveiled on March 10, 1907. He died at Emmett Street on July 8, 1933 and was interred in Kilfeacle Cemetery. A plaque to his memory was unveiled there by former G.A.A. president, Seamus Ó Riain, on August 15, 1990.

<span class="postTitle">Burgess Capture County Intermediate Title in 1993</span> Tipperary County Hurling Final, October 2018

Burgess Capture County Intermediate Title in 1993

Tipperary County Hurling Final October 2018

Burgess won the county intermediate title in 1993 when they defeated Upperchurch-Drombane in the final at Templederry on November 7. It was their first victory since 1976, when they beat Eire Óg, Annacarty in a replay. The previous year, 1992, they had reached the final but were beaten by Kickhams.

Five teams affiliated in the 1993 North intermediate championship, Templederry, Shannon Rovers, Kildangan and Silvermines, as well as Burgess. The championship was played on a league basis with the top three to qualify for the knockout stage.

Burgess began their campaign against Templederry at Nenagh on July 3. Against a strong breeze they trailed by 2-10 to 0-5 at the break but put up a good second-half performance to draw by 1-17 to 2-14. Their next game was against Shannon Rovers on July 16 and they came through this contest by 0-19 to 2-10. A week later they defeated Silvermines by 2-13 to 1-9 at Nenagh. This was a tough encounter, which saw both sides reduced to thirteen players during the game. On August 22, Burgess cleared the final hurdle when they defeated Kildangan by 3-14 to 3-8 at Cloughjordan.

They emerged top of the group with seven points and qualified for the final. The second and third teams, Templederry and Shannon Rovers, qualified for a semi-final, which was won by Templederry at Nenagh on September 29 by 1-10 to 1-8.

The stage was no set for the final, which was fixed for MacDonagh Park, Nenagh on October 3. Burgess retained their title by accounting for Templederry by 3-12 to 1-9. The Guardian reported the match thus: ‘Weather conditions were atrocious, but credit to both sides for their efforts to provide a splendid game. The scoreline is a bit hard on Templederry, who lived with their opponents for the first half, but when Burgess turned on the power in the second half, they were unable to withstand it. But they battled gamely to the end. The opening five minutes of the second half were critical in deciding the game, as Burgess hit a goal and two points that put them in a commanding position. This Burgess team shows promise of future greatness. The foundation of victory was laid on a solid half-back line.’

The North intermediate champions were: David Ryan, Shane Ryan, John Flannery, Kevin Cooney, John McKenna (0-3), Colm McDonnell, Tony Gregan, John Joe Ryan, John Darcy (0-3), Denis Darcy, Liam McGrath (0-1), John Grace (1-0), Michael Kearns, Sean Nealon (1-5), Darrell Tucker (1-0). Subs: Eugene Hogan, Aidan McGrath.

John Darcy won the Guardian Player of the Week for his display in the final.

Referee: Michael Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs.

The County Championship

Burgess’s opponents in the county semi-final were West champions, Arravale Rovers. This game was played at Templederry on October 20 and the North champions came through by 1-13 to 0-13 in an absorbing encounter. Burgess were in disarray in the first half and appeared to be chasing the game, while Arravale were on top and led at the interval by 0-10 to 1-4. However, Burgess were a transformed side in the second half and served up an impressive performance to emerge impressive winners., Outstanding for the winners were Dinny Darcy and Sean Nealon, whose accuracy accounted for 10 points of the winners’ total.

The county final between Burgess and Upperchurch-Drombane was arranged for Templederry on November 7 at 12 noon. The heavens opened for the entire game and the conditions for playing hurling were as adverse as they could possibly be. However, the conditions failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the Burgess players, who overcame the stern challenge of the opposition by 0-11 to 0-7.

According to the match report in the Guardian ‘There were many reasons why Burgess won this thrilling game. They won because of the character and pride instilled in the side by trainer, Donie Nealon, and his selectors. They won because they had men like Liam McGrath and Dinny Darcy, who were prepared to run themselves to a standstill for the honour of the green and gold on their backs. They won because they had a set of backs and a goalkeeper, who blocked, hooked, chased and harried their opponents in an attempt to stave off wave after wave of Upperchurch attacks. But, most importantly, they won because they had fifteen men on the field who played as a team and were prepared to cross the pain barrier to satisfy the great hunger for success that had plagued the club for so many years at adult level. This victory, and the subsequent promotion to senior level for the 1994 season, is a just reward for the many months of toil and effort put in on the training field and if ever a side deserves its moment in the limelight, then surely this Burgess side does.’

The champions were: David Ryan, Shane Ryan, John Flannery, Kevin Cooney, John McKenna, Colm McDonnell, Tony Gregan, John Joe Ryan, John Darcy (0-2), Liam McGrath (0-2), Dinny Darcy, John Grace (0-1), Eugene Hogan, Sean Nealon (0-4), Darrell Tucker (0-2). Subs: Michael Kearns. Also: Aidan McGrath, John Maher, John Murray, Patrick Cooney, Darren Meaney, David McAuliffe, Donal Nealon, Timmy Maher, Eugene O’Brien, John Ryan, Seamus Slattery. Team management: Donie Nealon (manager), John Ryan (trainer), Kieran Hogan, Jack Maher, Mortimer Hogan.


Statistics
: The team remained undefeated in their seven intermediate hurling championship matches. They scored 10 goals 99 points and conceded 8 goals and 70 points. Eighteen players took part, the starting fifteen plus Michael Kearns, John Maher and Aidan McGrath. Ten players scored in the campaign, Sean Nealon 4-43, Darrell Tucker 1-14, John Darcy 2-10, Liam McGrath 1-10, Michael Kearns 0-12, Denis Darcy 1-0, John Grace 1-1, Eugene Hogan 0-2, John McKenna 0-2, Shane Ryan 90-1. Burgess played all their seven game in their own division.

<span class="postTitle">Fethard’s 19th County Senior Football Final in 1993</span> County Football Final Day, October 2018

Fethard’s 19th County Senior Football Final in 1993

County Football Final Day, October 2018

Fethard won their 19th county senior football final at Holycross on October 17, 1993, when they defeated Loughmore-Castleiney by 0-13 to 1-4. Writing an account of the game in the 1994 Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook, club secretary & P.R.O. Denis Hannon stated it ‘was one of the best football finals of recent years. Fast, open, tough, physical but always entertaining football. It kept the large crowd enthralled.’

Fethard’s successful journey to county honours commenced in the South championship, which attracted seven affiliations, Ballyporeen, Grangemockler, Commercials, Moyle Rovers, Cahir, Ardfinnan and Fethard. The semi-final pairings were Fethard v Ballyporeen and Commercials v Moyle Rovers. Fethard came through by 0-15 to 1-6, while Commercials accounted for Moyle Rovers on a 3-15 to 2-8 scoreline.

The final was played at Cahir on one of the hottest days of the year. Fethard were without the services of Michael ‘Buddy’ Fitgerald and Tommy Sheehan. Commercials led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval, but the introduction of Sheehan in the second half revitalised Fethard and his all-important goal was instrumental in giving his side their 25th South title on a scorline of 1-10 to 0-9

Quarter-finals

In the first of the quarter-finals, played at Drombane on September 4, Cashel King Cormacs snatched a late draw from favourites, Nenagh. They made no mistake in the replay at the same venue on September 19, winning by 1-12 to 0-10, after leading by 0-6 to 0-5 at the interval.

The remaining quarter-finals were played on the weekend of September 11/12. Fethard had no problem defeating Oliver Plunkett’s (Moyne-Templetuohy/Gortnahoe-Glengoole) by 3-12 to 2-4 at Littleton on September 11. On the following day Loughmore-Castleiney defeated Commercials by 1-7 to 0-5 at Cashel, while Arravale Rovers defeated St. Brendan’s (Kildangan/Shannon Rovers) by 1-14 to 2-2 at Borrisoleigh.


Semi-finals

The county semi-finals were played at Holycross on a very wet October 3. In the Loughnore-Castleiney versus Cashel King Cormacs clash, two goals at the start of the last quarter by the Mid men, reduced the closing minutes to a formality. Loughmore-Castleiney led by 1-3 to 0-4 at the interval, despite playing against the breeze, and although Cashel King Cormacs played well in the second half, their opponents were superior and deserved their 3-9 to 1-7 margin of victory.

In the second semi-final Fethard gave a classy performance to outplay Arravale Rovers. Fethard led by 1-4 to 0-1 at half-time, and were in front by 0-13 to 0-5 at the final whistle.


The Final

The final at Holycross on October 17 was an exciting encounter, even though Fethard had six points to spare at the final whistle. The winners dominated the first half and led by 0-8 to 0-2 at the interval, despite playing against the breeze. But Loughmore re-shuffled their team and put in a much-improved performance in the second half. There was only a goal between the sides at the start of the final quarter, and an upset was on the cards, but a goal opportunity missed by Loughmore-Castleiney, plus a rally by Fethard, ensured that the latter went on to victory by 0-13 to 1-4.

The dominance of Fethard in the first half was due mainly to the midfield brilliance of Shay Ryan and Brian Burke, who sent a great supply of ball into the forwards. Immediately after half-time Chris Coen made it 0-9 to 0-2, but this was to prove their last score for nearly fifteen minutes. Loughmore-Castleiney, true to their tradition and reputation, never gave up and cut the lead to manageable proportions with a good goal, followed by two points.

The game was still anybody’s for the taking when ‘Buddy’ Fitzgerald was introduced. Much to the delight of the Fethard supporters, he gave the team a vital injection of spirit. Shay Coen made a tremendous save and from the clearance centre-forward Michael O’Riordan scored a vital point that was to change the course of the game.

Shay Ryan broke away and scored a point to give Fethard a four-point lead. In the last five minutes Fethard got on top again and points from Roibeard Broderick, and Tommy Sheehan with the final kick of the game scored Fethard’s 13th and final point.

Captain Willie O’Meara, who played a captain’s part all through, accepted the cup from county football chairman, Hugh Kennedy, on behalf of a young and determined Fethard panel.

The ‘homecoming’ of the team later in the evening was tremendous. The parish priest and community council welcome the team home and the players were paraded through the town. Various people gave speeches and trainer, Dinny Burke, and a selector, Danny Kane, broke into song.

The 1993 county champions were as follows: Shay Coen, Martin Ryan, Michael Ryan, Philly Blake, Michael Quinlan, Willie O’Meara (capt.), Willie Morrissey, Brian Burke (0-2), Shay Ryan (0-1), Tommy Sheehan (0-2), Michael Riordan (0-2), Michael Spillane, Martin Coen (0-3), Chris Coen (0-2), Jimmy O’Meara. Subs: Roibeard Broderick (0-1) for Martin Coen, Michael Fitzgerald for Martin Ryan. Also: Liam Connolly, John Hackett, Danny Tobin, Brendan Brett, Dermot Hackett, Tom Ryan, Kenny Hackett.

Selectors: Dinny Burke (trainer), Danny Kane, Jimmy O’Shea, Pat Sheehan.

Club Officers 1993: chairman - Micheal McCormaic, secretary & P.R.O. – Denis Hannon, treasurer – Seamus Hackett.

<span class="postTitle">Presentation of Historic MS to Lár na Páirce</span> Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals, Thurles October 7, 2018

Presentation of Historic MS to Lár na Páirce

Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals, Thurles October 7, 2018

Lár na Páirce, the museum of Gaelic Games at Thurles, was recently presented with a rare manuscript. It was the handwritten diary of the tour of the United States by the Tipperary senior hurling team in 1926. Written by Tom Kenny of Portroe, one of the party of twenty-three who made the trip, it recounts the social side of the tour.

The diary formed the basis of the book of the tour that was published in 1928 and reprinted once. Published in London by George Roberts I often wondered why it was published there, rather than in Ireland. Apparently, Tom Kenny could find no publisher in Ireland to take on the job and had to go to London. The fact that it took two years after the event for the book to appear would confirm the difficulty he had in getting it into print.

The tour was undertaken by the Tipperary All-Ireland winning team of 1925. It was the first trip by a bunch of hurlers to the U.S. since the Celtic Invasion in 1888 and the first time for a county team to travel across the Atlantic.

The tour lasted eleven weeks. It commenced at Cobh with the party boarding the German liner, Bremen, and sailing to New York. Hurling games before substantial crowds were played in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Travel overland was by train. At the end of the tour there was a big send-off banquet in the Central Opera House, New York and another in Pouldine National School, Moycarkey on their return, which went on until seven in the morning.

The tour was a splendid success. All the games played were won, The crowds were large and enthusiastic and the total number that witnessed the games was about 100,000. Newspaper coverage of the visit was generous. From an Irish standpoint there was a quiet pride that the visitors had excelled themselves on the trip and had done Ireland proud. Frank McGrath gave a glowing report to Central Council and made many worthwhile suggestions for the better organisation of the G,.A.A. in the U.S.

Tour Book

Tom Kenny’s account of the tour captures some of the flavour of the experience: 'Saturday, May 15th: Not much sleep last night when Nealon and Kennedy called on their rounds with notebook and pencil, asking if we jazzed with the Germans thereby suspending ourselves from the G.A.A., and if we took the meat sandwiches, thereby excommunicating ourselves from the Catholic Church.’

One of the more colourful members of the tour party was Tom Duffy of Lorrha. He features more often in it than any other member of the party in the account. There are about twenty references to him. He was the life and the soul of the party. In one place the party plan to take over the ship. In the plan Duffy is to be Captain. In another place "the wit and humour of most of them, especially Duffy, is most enjoyable." The entry for 7 June reads: "Tom Duffy is singing that song 'The next I met was a fair-haired lady, standing at a cottage door'. And on 9 June there is a discussion between Jack Power and Tom on the state of the country: "A crock of a country", says Duffy. "Sure we haven't seen a tram of hay, a ditch, nor a hedge since leaving the old country, but it is a fine country in other ways, Jack- they do everything the big way." Duffy thinks the Yanks made a mistake to set the country dry. "That hooch is rotten stuff, Jack, and if it continues as plentiful as it seems to be it will make mad men, blind men or dead men of all of them that drink it." On 19 June there is a party on the train and Duffy dances a jig. Later Paddy Leahy and Tom try to sing the last verse of the Star-Spangled Banner at the Eucharistic Congress in Chicago. Later still we learn that five hurlers are found in Duffy's Chicago hotel room saying the rosary. On the ship home he is constantly playing his favourite deck game and won 'Chalking the Pig's Eye' in the ship's sports. Truly a man of many sides!

Written in pencil (no biros then and carrying ink bottles was problematic) in neat handwriting, the diary formed the basis of the book, Tour of the Tipperary Hurling Team in America 1926, The book is a rare collector's item now and this manuscript, written in a notebook with the front cover missing, is a rare and priceless find. It includes the signatures of all the players on the last page.

Lois Tierney, a grand-daughter of Tom Kenny, found it in a drawer in her late uncle, Billy's, place in London. The find included a cache of Kenny family photographs also. On behalf of the extended Kenny family, she has now presented it on loan to Lár na Pairce for the people of Tipperary as it records the epic journey of that great Tipperary team that captured All-Ireland honours in 1925 and made history as the first county team to visit America and traverse the continent from coast to coast.

<span class="postTitle">128th Munster Hurling Final</span> Munster Senior Hurling Final program, July 1, 2018, Thurles

128th Munster Hurling Final

Munster Senior Hurling Final program, July 1, 2018, Thurles

Today’s final is the 128th to take place but the first two were a bad advertisement for the provincial series.

Championship draws were made on a provincial basis for the first time in 1888, although provincial councils as we know them today weren’t formed until 1900. The 1887 championship was the first and only one to be played on an open draw system.

Five counties entered for the Munster series in 1888 and were drawn as follows: Limerick v Clare, Cork v Tipperary, Waterford a bye. Clare champions, Ogonelloe, got a walkover from South Liberties of Limerick, who failed to put in an appearance at Birdhill. Clonoulty, the Tipperary champions, defeated Tower Hill, the Cork champions, by 2-1 to nil at Buttevant, but because they had included outsiders, Tower Hill were awarded the game. The latter then travelled to Dungarvan, where they defeated Carrickbeg of Waterford by 2-8 to no score.


Final Abandoned

The Munster final between Ogonelloe and Tower Street was fixed for Croom Castle.

The game didn’t take place as South Liberties took the field and stated that they hadn’t been notified about the game at Birdhill and demanded that Ogonelloe play them for the right to contest the final. Ogonelloe declined and when South Liberties refused to vacate the field, the final could not take place. It was re-fixed for the following Sunday, but didn’t take place. Shortly afterwards the American ‘Invasion’ took place and the championship was abandoned.

There were also problems in 1889. Again, five counties entered, but Kerry were in and Waterford didn’t take part. Clare defeated Limerick in the first round. Kerry (Kenmare) defeated Cork (Inniscarra) in the first semi-final and Tipperary (Moycarkey) defeated Clare (Tulla) in the second. The latter objected on the grounds that one of the Moycarkey goals was scored after the ball had first gone wide.

A replay was fixed for October 28th with the decider arranged for two days later, as the All-Ireland final was arranged for November 3. Moycarkey didn’t travel for the replay, nor did Kenmare for the final proper, so Tulla represented Munster in the All-Ireland final. Kenmare had already travelled to Charleville to pay Moycarkey, being unaware of the Tulla objection. They could not afford to travel to Rathkeale for the re-arranged final.


Venues

Accessibility by rail was often a governing factor in the choice of venue for the finals, while other venues were chosen because they were border towns between the competing counties. Many of the grounds were developed in places where enthusiasts were prepared to work hard. Dungarvan was such a place and Dan Fraher was the driving force.

The 1898 final between Tipperary (Tubberadora) and Cork (Blackrock) was played there on October 15. 1899 and had to be abandoned before the finish because darkness had set in . The score at the time was Tipperary 3-0 Cork 2-3. The game was late starting because the train bringing the Tipperary party was unable to pull all the carriages beyond Kilmeadon, so it had to disconnect some and make two journeys from there to Dungarvan. As a consequence the starting time for the game was delayed and hence the reason for the game being unfinished.

The replay took place at Kilmallock on November 20 and on this occasion Tubberadora took control from the start and finished impressive winners by 1-13 to 1-2. They went on to win the All-Ireland, their third in four years and then bowed out of the championship, leaving the task of upholding the county’s honour on the hurling field to their close rivals, Horse and Jockey and Two Mile Borris.

<span class="postTitle">The Fate of Sporting Trophies</span> Munster Senior Hurling Championship program, Clare v Tipperary, Thurles, May 10, 2018

The Fate of Sporting Trophies

Munster Senior Hurling Championship program, Clare v Tipperary, Thurles, May 10, 2018

Recently Lár na Páirce got possession of the de-commissioned Dwan Cup, which was presented to the Tipperary county champions since the inauguration of the under-21 hurling competition. It was sponsored by the Dwan Mineral Company, Thurles in 1963.

It’s a large cup about twenty inches high and about nine in diameter. It needs some polishing up but the biggest part of the refurbishment will be the restoration of one of the handles. The problem is that it is missing, obviously becoming detached at the high point of some captain’s speech as he shot the cup into the air to give emphasis to his epic words!

Where the missing handle is at the moment is anybody’s guess, most likely lost, or it may be tucked away in some drawer and forgotten.

While the Dwan Cup could be described as damaged goods, at least its existence is verifiable and its location guaranteed for years to come. Such isn’t the fate of some sporting trophies.

One such is the Railway Football Shield first presented by the Great Southern and Western Railway Company for an interprovincial competition in 1903. (There was a second shield presented for a hurling competition and, according to Humphrey Kelleher, in his book on G.A.A. cups and trophies, G.A.A. Family Silver, it is on display in the Lory Meagher Museum in Tullaroan.}


Gone Missing

The whereabouts of the football shield is unknown, but there is good reason to believe it’s somewhere in Kerry. The football competition for the Shield started in 1905 and was won by Leinster. Munster, represented by Kerry, won it in 1906 and 1907 and were awarded the trophy outright because the terms of the competition stated that if the shield were won twice in succession or three times in all, it could be kept by the successful county.

According to T. F. O’Sullivan’s The Story of the G.A.A. ‘The football final for the Railway Shield was played at Tipperary on the 22nd September, 1907, between Munster (Kerry, with selections from Limerick and Tipperary), and Leinster (with selections from Dublin, Kildare and Kilkenny). Munster secured victory by 1-7 to 1-6, and having won twice in succession, the Shield became their absolute property.’

So, the evidence would suggest the Shield is somewhere in Kerry. One theory was that it was held in Muckross House, Killarney but that drew a blank. The most likely location would be the captain’s family. In the early days of the Association, the captain retained the trophy and, in many cases, it became a family heirloom.


In the Captain’s Possession

For example, a successor to the Railway Shield was the Railway Cup, which was presented by the GSWR to the G.A.A. Central Council in 1913 for the All-Ireland football championship.

The terms were the same as for the Shield: the county that won it twice in succession, kept it. Kerry won in 1913 and 1914 and so were allowed to keep it. A new cup was presented in 1915 and won in that year and in 1916 by Wexford, and they held on to it. The Wexford county board presented it to Sean Kennedy, who was captain of the team from 1915 to 1917 and it is still in the possession of his family.

So, maybe all we need to do to discover the Railway Shield is to find out who was captain of the Kerry team in 1907. I don’t have the answer.

Much closer to our own time are the Centenary Cups, presented for special, open draw, intercounty competitions in hurling and football in 1984 and sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. The hurling cup was won by Cork in 1984 and by Tipperary in 1985. It wasn’t continued and Tipperary kept the cup, which can now be seen in Lár na Páirce. The football cup was won by Meath in 1984 and Kerry in 1985. I was recently looking for its current location, but drew a blank in Kerry. Any information on its fate?

<span class="postTitle">De La Salle Teacher Training College</span> Munster Hurling Championship Program, Cork v Portláirge, Thurles, May 17, 2018

De La Salle Teacher Training College

Munster Hurling Championship Program, Cork v Portláirge, Thurles, May 17, 2018

There’s a fine picture on the internet of a hurling team from De la Salle Training College, Waterford in 1927 called the Invincibles. The names of the players aren’t given but their counties are, written in Irish on the bás of their hurleys help aloft. The players come from Kilkenny, Laois, Galway, Cork, Carlow, Waterford, Tipperary and Limerick.

In that year the college was at the height of its power, one of two training colleges for male primary school teachers in the country, the other being St. Patrick’s, Drumcondra. It was under the care of the Society of De La Salle, who had come to Waterford in 1887 and started the teacher training college in 1891.

The college was located in a very impressive building in Bilberry stone, 2i5 feet long, 60 feet wide and 80 feet high. It included an impressive chapel, the altar of which weighed 4 tons and was the work of James Pearse & Sons, Dublin.

The building wasn’t completed until 1894, and cost £35,000. The first batch of forty students commenced their training in 1891 and stayed in the Adelphi Hotel in the city until such time as the building was completed. The new college was licensed to enrol 120 students, later increased to 200.

The students who enrolled came from all over the south of Ireland as the 1927 picture indicates. The games of hurling and football were strongly promoted and many graduates of the college went back to their counties and promoted the games in their schools and featured on intercounty teams.

The Tipperary Connection

Many Tipperary teachers were trained there. One such graduate was Mick Cronin of Lorrha, who received a gold medal in recognition of his position as De La Salle hurling team captain, 1922. In the same year he graduated and became principal in Lorrha school on the first day of his appointment as a teacher, even though a principal was supposed to have five years teaching experience before he could became principal. The manager is reputed to have told the Department that Mick was the best man for the job. The result was that when Mick Cronin retired in 1969, he must have been the longest serving National School principal in the country. Mick played for Tipperary from 1927-1934, winning an All-Ireland senior title in 1930.

Another such graduate was Rody Nealon, who graduated in 1918, having also won the gold medal for captaining the hurling team. Rody started his teaching career in Banbridge and eventually succeeded his father as principal of Youghalarra N.S. He played for Tipperary during the nineteen-twenties and was on the famous U.S. trip with the team in 1926.

A third Tipperary man of note was Seamus Ó Riain, later Uachtaran Cumann Luthchleas Gael, who featured on both the hurling and football teams in 1936, the year he graduated, winning a Waterford senior football championship the same year.

End of Training College

In 1939 a Government decision was taken to discontinue the training of teachers in De La Salle College, owing to the decrease in the numbers of pupils attending National Schools and the consequent rise in the number of unemployed teachers.

At the annual convention of the Munster Council of the G.A.A. on February 23, 1940, the chairman, Seam McCarthy, noticed with deep regret the fact that De La Salle College in Waterford was closing down. A request was made to the Minister for Education to review the decision which is a ‘grave injustice inflicted on an institution, which has served the nation so well for half a century’.

Nothing came of the request. Young Brothers of the De La Salle Order were allowed to continue training there but this was discontinued in 1949, when De La Salle College ceased to be a teacher training institution, and the building became the home of the secondary school.

<span class="postTitle">3 in a Row after a 32 Year Gap</span> County Senior Hurling Final program., October 8, 2017

3 in a Row after a 32 Year Gap

County Senior Hurling Final program., October 8, 2017

In winning the county senior hurling title of 1992, Toomevara ended a great famine that had lasted thirty-two years. They won the title in a replay with Thurles Sarsfields at Semple Stadium on November 8, the same opposition they had defeated in their previous, 1960 victory.

The celebrations were mighty immediately after the victory and later in the village. One of the speakers at the homecoming was Neil Williams, who had played a major part in the revival of hurling in the parish, and he had some prophetic words on the occasion: ‘There was a warrant out for the arrest of Dan Breen and Toomevara executed the warrant. We’ll keep him in captivity for quite some time. He’s home to stay!’

The victory in 1992 was followed by two more in subsequent years to make it three-in-a row. Nenagh Eire Óg, Boherlahan-Dualla and Clonoulty-Rossmore intervened during the next three years, but Toomevara came back with a bang in 1998 to win four-in-row and dominate the senior hurling scene in the county. Mullinahone spiked their guns in 2002 but they came back for a double in 2003 and 2004, and finished off a great period by winning again in 2006 and 2008, for a grand total of eleven victories in seventeen years, eliminating any vestiges of the famine.


1992

Having lost to Cashel King Cormacs in the 1991 county semi-final, Toomevara made the breakthrough in 1992. They started the year well by winning the league, with victory over Borrisilegh and this victory was to prove important as they had to rely on it to get into the knockout stages of the county championship.

They didn’t do well in the North championship, losing to Borrisileigh in a replayed first-round game. This put them into the losers group. They beat Kilruane-MacDonoghs and Portroe to win the final and qualify for the semi-final proper. It took three games to decide the tie against Lorrha and Toomevara came out on the wrong side of the verdict.

This is where the league victory came into play. As winners Toomevara had earned the right of a play-off with the championship runners-up for the right to represent the division as the second team in the county championship. Ironically, Lorrha were again their opponents. After a very poor start Toomevara found themselves eleven points in arrears at the end of the first quarter. However, the team rose to the challenge and eventually won by four points and qualify for the county championship.

County Championship

Four days after the victory over Lorrha on September 13 and won by 2-9 to 0-10., Toomevara played Ballingarry in the quarter-final at Semple Stadium. Four weeks later they played Loughmore-Castleiney in the semi-finbal. The mid side were hot favourites to win this encounter but Toomevara hung in and scored four points without reply in the final quarter to reach the county final for the first time since 1961 on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-9.

Their opponents in the final were Thurles Sarsfields and the sides clashed in Semple Stadium on November 1. An uninspiring game saw the sides level on a scoreline of Thurles Sarsafields 1-10, Toomevara 0-13 at the end of sixty minutes and the teams had to meet again a week later. On this occasion Toomevara came out on top by 0-12 to 1-6 in a great game to win their eleventh county senior hurling title.

The county champions were as follows: Jody Grace, Pat Meagher, Rory Brislane, Michael O’Meara (capt.), George Frend, 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 Liam Flaherty, Kevin McCormack for Tommy 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/selector: P. J. Whelehan.

Referee: Tommy Lonergan (Kilsheelan)

The win qualified Toomevara for the semi-final of the Munster Club championship. On a day on which they played great hurling but drove twenty-three wides, they lost by two points on a scoreline of 2-7 to 0-11.

1993

Toomevara failed once again to win the North championship. They came through the league when they defeated Roscrea in a replay by 1-11 to 1-7. They lost the first round of the championship to Nenagh Eire Óg by 1-9 to 1-8 on a day when Toomevara had two men sent off. Taking the losers group route, they defeated Newport and Borrisokane, before overcoming Borrisoleigh by 1-10 to 0-11 after a dramatic finish, during which they scored 1-1 to grab a semi-final spot.

Toomevara’s opponents were Nenagh Eire Óg, who were in outstanding form on the day and their dominance was reflected in the scoreline of 5-13 to 1-10. Nenagh went on to defeat Moneygall in the final and Toomevara’s entrée to the county championship depended on defeating the runners-up. They made easy work of the task, defeating Moneygall by 1-17 to 1-7 at Cloughjordan on August 29 and qualifying for the county championship.


County Championship

Toomevara’s opponents in the county quarter-final at Templemore on September 12 were Cashel King Cormacs. They gave a very impressive performance in hammering the West champions by 1-17 to 1-4. Their opponents in the semi-final on September 25 were Thurles Sarsfields. This was a most disappointing game in which the champions outshone a poor Sarsfields performance and won by 0-18 to 0-9, having outscored their opponents by 0-6 to 0-1 in the final quarter.

Toomevara’s opponents in the final were Nenagh Eire Óg, a team that had defeated them twice in the North championship. Yet, Toomevara went into the game as favourites on the basis that they hadn’t their act together when they went down in defeat. They justified their favourites tag in the first half leading by 1-8 to 0-3 approaching the interval. While Michael Cleary hit three points to improve Nenagh’s position just before the half-time whistle, Toomevara were still favourites to win. However, Nenagh were transformed after the interval and midway through the second half they went into the lead by 1-11 to 1-9. Toomevara rallied again and with ten minutes to go it was anybody’s game. In a very exciting ending Toomevara went ahead by two points, Nenagh brought it back to one and in a welter of excitement Toomevara survived to win by 1-14 to 1-13 and produce a tremendous ending to a year that hadn’t started off too promising.

The county champions were as follows: Jody Grace (capt.), 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. Subs: John Ryan for Michael Murphy. Also Kevin McCormack, Terry Dunne, Liam Nolan, Michael Delaney, Sean Nolan, Jimmy Dunne, Aidan Maxwell, Brendan Spillane, Noel Kenneally, Michael McCormack.

Selectors: Fr. Michael Casey, Jim McDonnell, Frank Ryan. Coach/selector: Sean Stack.

Referee: Paddy Lonergan (Galtee Rovers).

Toomevara went closer to winning a club All-Ireland in 1993 than in any other year as county champions. Two weeks after winning their second senior championship in a row, they faced Patrickswell at home in the first round of the Munster championship. Before a large crowd they won a comprehensive victory on a scoreline of 5-15 to 1-10.. They also drew a home venue for their semi-final encounter with St. Finbarrs on November 7 and won again, this time by the much narrower margin of 1-10 to 0-12. The final was played at Limerick against Sixmilebridge, which had the awkward predicament that the Toomevara coach, Sean Stack, played centreback for Sixmilebridge. Toomevara came through by 0-15 to 0-7 to bring the Munster Club title to the parish for the first time. The All-Ireland semi-final against Ballycran was played at Croke Park on February 28, 1994 as a curtain-raiser to a NFL game between Dublin and Down and Toomevara came through by 1-13 to 1-5. They were now in the All-Ireland final and their opponents on St. Patrick’s Day were the Galway champions, Sarsfields. Toomevara played with the wind in the first half and led by 2-4 to 0-4 at half-time. However, corner-back, Pat Meagher, was sent off in the twenty-third minute, which meant that the team had to play with fourteen men for most of the hour. It proved too great a task and they were beaten in the end by two points, on a scoreline of 1-14 to 3-6.


1994

Toomevara looked form horses for a third county final in 1994. They were the team to beat, Their performance in the club championship was a signal to all that they were a powerful hurling force once again. They won the league for the third year in a row, beating Nenagh Eire Óg by 0-13 to 0-11 in the final.

They also accounted for Nenagh in the first round of the championship, winning by the same margin of two points. They drew with Lorrha in the second round, but won the replay. They overcame Moneygall by 1-13 to 0-8 in the North semi-final and set up a meeting with Kilruane MacDonaghs in the final. This match was played at Nenagh on August 14 and Toomevara easily overcame the opposition by 1-16 to 0-7. The twelve-point margin of victory was a good indication of their superiority.


County Championship.

Toomevara’s opponents in the county quarter-final at Templemore on August 27 were Thurles Sarsfields. Two goals between the tenth and thirteenth minutes effectively killed off the mid side’s challenge and Toomevara went on to win by 2-16 to 0-9. They played Clonoulty-Rossmore in the semi-final and although Toomevara had a player sent off after only eight minutes, they went on to dominate the game in the second half and win by 4-17 to 1-12.

Toomevara were two to one favourites going into the final against Cashel King Cormacs. They got an early goal, led by 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval, were ahead by 2-9 to 0-6 entering the final quarter and in the end were worthy champions by 3-11 to 1-9

The county, 3-in-a-row, champions were as follows: Jody Grace, Pat Meagher (capt.) Rory Brislane, Declan O’Meara, George Frend, Michael O’Meara, Phil Shanahan, Terry Duunne, Pat King, Kevin Kennedy, Michael Murphy, Tony Delaney, Liam Nolan, Tommy Dunne, Tommy Carroll. Subs: Liam Flaherty for Rory Brislane, Rory Brislane for Liam Nolan. Also: Justin Cottrell, Kevin McCormack, Aidan Maxwell, Joseph O’Meara, Denis Kelly, Michael Bevans, Ray Hackett, Damien o’Meara, Ken Dunne.

Selectors: Fr. Michael Casey, Jim McDonald, Frankie Ryan. Coach/selector: Sean Stack

Referee: Michael Doyle (Holycross-Ballycahill).

Toomevara set out to retain the Munaster Club title they had won for the first time the previous year. They easily overcame Ballyduff by 1-18 to 1-6 at home in the first round. They followed up with victory over Clarecastle at Ennis by the minimum of margins, 1-12 to 1-11 in the semi-final. Their final opponents were Kilmallock. Played at Thurles, Toomevara gave a rather flat performance before going down by 2-11 to 1-11.

By winning their three-in-a-row, Toomevara confirmed their domination in senior hurling in the county and established themselves as one of the great teams in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Not since the 1970s, when Kilruane MacDonaghs won the previous three-in-a-row, was there a team of equal dominance. In winning the three-in-a-row Toomevara equalled a club record achieved in the period 1912-14

Toomevara Club Officers 1992-1994

President: Matt Hassett

Vice-President: Tom Shanahan

Chairman: Fr. Michael Casey, C.C..

Secretary: Matt O’Meara

Treasurer: Bernard O’Neill

Registrar: Neil Williams

P.R.O. Kieran Grace/Philip Shanahan

Player Profiles

Jodie Grace (Coolkereen) was a commanding presence in the goals for the three county final victories and captain of the 1993 side that won the Munster Club title as well. He won junior & senior All-Irelands with Tipperary in 1989 and 1991 respectively.

Rory Brislane (Ashgrove) was Toomevara’s ever-present fullback all through the nineties. He captained Toome to their breakthrough North final win in 1991. A winner of Harty and Croke Cup medals with St. Flannan’s, he represented the county at minor and under-21 levels.

Pat Meagher (Grennanstown) was corner back on all three winning teams and was captain of the 1994 side that also won North senior league and championship.

George Frend (Barnagrotty) was a vital member of the defence on all three winning teams. He won an All-Ireland under-21 title with Tipperary in 1989 and captained the county to a National Hurling League title in 1995.

Michael O’Meara (Ballintotty) was captain of the team for the first of the three-in-a-row county titles. He won a senior All-Ireland with the county in 1991 and captained to county to Munster final glory in 1993.

Pat King (Killowney) was a key centrefield player on the three teams. Earlier in his career he won county intermediate and under-21 titles. In 1995 he won a National Hurling League medal with Tipperary.

Tony Delaney (Chapel Street) was one of the most versatile and durable players on the panel, successfully playing in many positions. A winner of county minor and under-21 medals, he is the holder of an astonishing eleven county senior medals.

Michael Murphy (Millview) was an aggressive centreback. He won a county intermediate medal in 1984 and county inder-21 titles the following two years.

Philip Shanahan (Coolederry) was a classy and skilful defender. He won an All-Ireland under-21 medal with Tipperary in 1995 and, in 1998 captained Toome to a county senior title.

Tommy Dunne (Curraheen) won a North senior title with his father, Tony, in 1991. A winner of an All-Ireland under-21 title in 1995, he captained Tipperary to a senior All-Ireland in 2001. He has three All-Star awards and was named Texaco Hurler of the Year in 2001.

Terry Dunne (Curraheen) was a commanding presence on the field. He won an All-Ireland under-21 medal in 1995 and a senior medal with Tipperary in 2001. He finished his career with eleven county senior hurling medals.

Ken Dunne (Curraheen) was a notable free-taker and became the third member of his family to captain Toome to a North title in 2002. In 2006 he displayed nerves of steel to land the winning point in the Munster Club final.

Michael Nolan (Kilnafinch) was an accurate forward during this era. In 1986 he captained Toome to their first ever county minor title. He won an All-Ireland under-21 title with Tipperary in 1989.

Liam Nolan (Kilnafinch) was a forward with a devastating shot. He won county under16, intermediate and under-21 titles, and scored a goal in the All-Ireland Club final in 1994.

Sean Nolan (Kilnafinch) was the oldest of the three Nolan brothers. He won a county intermediate title in 1981 and was fullback on the Toome team that won the breakthrough North final of 1991.

Micilin Delaney (Chapel Street) won a county minor medal with Toome in 1986 and an All-Ireland Colleges B medal with Nenagh CBS. A year later he won another county minor medal, and a Munster minor medal with Tipperary

Kevin McCormack (Church Street) was a very fine goalkeeper, but he also played out the field. He won an All-Ireland Vocational Schools title in 1988, when he scored three goals in the final at Croke Park. He also won a Munster under-21 medal in 1990.

Kevin Delaney (Clonolea) won a North minor hurling title in 1985, and North and county minor titles the following year. He also has junior A and junior B North titles to his credit.

Owen Cuddihy (Grawn) was a highly regarded goalkeeper. He won a North junior A title in 1991 and North and county junior B titles in 1995.

Joe O’Meara (Roscordagh) won the Corn Mhic Ruain with St. Joseph’s, Borrisoleigh in 1992, a North minor title in 1993, and North and county under-21 titles in 1995.

Denis Kelly (Borrisofarney) won North minor titles in 1993, 1994 and 1995, when he captained the side. He won an All-Ireland Colleges B title with Our Lady’s, Templemore, and North and county under-21 titles in 1995.

Noel Kenneally (Millview) won North and county junior B titles in 1995, and North and county junior A titles in 1997. In 2000 he won North and county junior B titles.

Justin Cottrell (Templedowney) was an able goalkeeper, who played for the county at under-21 and senior level. He won North and county under-21 titles in 1995. In 2001 he captained the first Toome team to win four county senior titles in a row.

Ray Hackett (Grawn) won North minor titles in 1993 and 1994. He won North and county under-21 titles in 1995 and North and county junior A titles in 1997.

Aidan Maxwell (Glenaguile) was a fine defender. He won North and county titles at under-12, under-14 and under-16 levels. In 1995 he captained the Toome under-21 team to North and county titles.

Mikey Bevans (Ballymackey) captained Toome to county senior final wins in 2003 and 2008. In 1995 he won North and county under-21 titles. In 1999 and 2000 he won Fitzgibbon Cup medals with Waterford IT

Jimmy Dunne (Curraheen) RIP, the younger brother of Tony, won a North junior football title in 1982, and North and county intermediate titles in 1984. He captained Toome to North and county junior A titles in 1997.

Brendan Spillane (Lissaniskey), a tight marking corner back, he won North and county intermediate titles in 1984, North and county under-21 titles in 1985 and also has junior A and junior B titles to his credit.

Kevin Kennedy (Chapel Street) was a very effective full forward. He won North and county minor medals in 1987, and North and county under-21 medals in 1990, and a championship medal in New York.

John Ryan (Curraheen) was a fast and elusive forward, who won North and county under-21 titles in 1985 and 1986

Liam Flaherty (Barnagrotty) was a hard working forward, who won North and county under-21 titles in 1985, and North and county junior A titles in 1997.

Kenneth McDonnell (Blakefield) captained Toome to a North minor title in 1985 and was a member of the county under-21 panel in 1988.

Tommy Carroll (Blean) was an astute corner forward who won North and county minor titles in 1987, and a county under-21 medal in 1990.

Declan O’Meara (Ballintotty)won North and county minor medals in 1986 and 1987 and was a superb defender on the three-in-a-row teams. He won a Munster minor medal in 1987 and captained the Tipperary minor team in 1988.

Michael McCormack (Church Street) won North and county intermediate medals in 1984 and a North junior A title in 1991.

Damian O’Meara (Woodlands) was one of the minors drafted into the senior panel in 1994. He captained the minor team to a North title that year, and added North and count under-21 titles, as well as another minor title the following year.

<span class="postTitle">Treasures of Lár na Páirce</span> Munster Senior Hurling quarter-final, Cork v Tipperary at Thurles, May 21, 2017.

Treasures of Lár na Páirce

Munster senior hurling quarter-final, Cork v Tipperary at Thurles, May 21, 2017

 

In an effort to inform people on the exhibits to be seen on a visit to Lár na Páirce, the Museum of Gaelic Games in Thurles, we have started a weekly post on our website, larnapairce.com called the Treasures of Lár na Pairce.

We started with Pat Madden’s hurley. Pat, as you know, was the Meelick man, who captained Galway in the first All-Ireland. Recently, a very impressive monument to a hurler was erected in Farrell’s Field, Birr, where the game was played. Pat’s hurley is anything but impressive, a roughly-hewn piece of timber that would probably be disallowed today on health and safety grounds!
Incidentally, Thurles Sarsfields are re-enacting the first All-Ireland at the Thurles Sports Fest on July 1. The two teams will be suitably outfitted in the playing gear of the period and there will be a vintage parade as well.

Another ‘treasure’ posted was the Tubberadora Cap.  Part of the playing gear of the famous Tubberadora team of the end of the 19thth century was a cap. The navy blue caps bore the embroidered letters T H C, Tubberadora Hurling Club, in gold. The caps were part of the playing gear presented to the Tubberadora team by Tipperary Grocers’ Assistants, residing in Dublin. The players wore the caps not solely for the team photograph but also wore them while the game was in progress. 

What was regarded as the first inter-county hurling game under G.A.A. rules, was played in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on Tuesday, February 9, 1886. The teams involved were North Tipperary and South Galway. Tipperary won by 1-0 to nil, the only score got by Charles McSorley of the Silvermines club. Michael Cusack organised the game and had a cup sponsored. It is regarded as the oldest G.A.A. trophy and it’s on permanent loan to Lár na Páirce, courtesy of the Silvermines Club, where the cup ended up and got its name.

The dress of the early camogie players in 1904 aped the Victorian dress fashions then in vogue. The players wore long skirts and a blouse and one of the rules stated that ‘Skirts to be worn not less than 6 inches from the ground.’ One of the curious rules at the time stated that ‘intentionally stopping the ball with the skirt was a foul’! When one looks at the dress in Lár na Páirce today one’s immediate reaction is: How was it possible not to stop the ball with a dress so long?

To date there have been eight posts of the treasures and it is intended to continue to post one a week or, as often as time constraints allow. Of course, you can see all the treasurers mentioned as well as many more by visiting the museum.

 

 

Ned Treston’s Photograph

One of Michael Cusack’s efforts to promote the game of hurling soon after the foundation of the G.A.A. was an exhibition match in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on February 16, 1886. The teams came from South Galway and North Tipperary and they travelled by train to Dublin on the previous day. They were greeted by Cusack and marched to the Clarence Hotel, where they stayed.

Following a meal, Cusack held a meeting with both sides in which the rules of the game were discussed and agreed. These were the days when most hurling rules were local and the new common set hadn’t yet been widely accepted. 

The next item to be discussed was the sliotar to be used. The Tipperary side introduced their sliotar, which was larger than that used in Galway, and it wasn’t well-received by the Galway players. The latter were then invited to show theirs and it was only then they realised they had left it at home in Gort! 

This was where the Galway captain stepped into the breach. Ned Treston was a saddler by trade and he decided to make the Galway ball. Before he retired for the night he made the cork core of the sliotar and waited until morning to find a harness maker to cover it with leather. 

As soon as businesses were open he did the rounds of the streets in the neighbourhood of the Clarence. There were quite a number of harness makers but five of them refused his request to cover the cork core with leather. The sixth man he came across said to him:  ‘Maybe you could do it yourself?’ which Ned did. It was the forerunner of the modern sliotar, based on the design of the cupped hand. 

The teams marched from the Clarence Hotel, four deep, with their hurleys on their shoulders to the Fifteen Acres in the Phoenix Park. According to Galway G.A.A. historian, Padraic Ó Laoi ‘The substitutes carried the goalposts.’ The field was marked with the players’ coats. There was no charge to see the game, which had been billed by Cusack as ‘The Championship of Ireland’.
It was nearly three o’clock before the teams lined up with Cusack as referee. Before the game started Dan Burke objected that the Tipperary team wasn’t properly dressed, as they wore neither shoes nor short pants. In the invitation to the teams Cusack had requested that the teams wear a distinctive dress. Cusack agreed with Burke that the Tipperary players were breaking the rules, yet he allowed them to play. 

The Galway men got a great reception when they stepped on to the field dressed with green caps, white jerseys. knickerbockers and shoes.

The Tipperary ball was used in the first half and the sides were level at halftime. The smaller Galway sliotar was used in the second half but it didn’t do Galway any favours. Ten minutes from the end Charlie McSorley of the Silvermines scored a goal for Tipperary and the only score of the game gave them victory.

Ned Treston’s ball, which became the prototype of all subsequent sliotars, no longer exists but his photograph holds pride of place in Lár na Páirce with the Silver Cup, which was presented to the Tipperary captain after the victory.

 

<span class="postTitle">Jimmy Brohan - The Prince of Corner Backs</span> Munster S.H. championship semi-final, Cork v Waterford, at Thurles, June 7, 2015

Jimmy Brohan - The Prince of Corner Backs

Munster S.H. championship semi-final, Cork v Waterford, at Thurles, June 7, 2015

 

Jimmy Brohan was unfortunate to have been a great hurler at a time when Cork were least successful. A regular on the Cork senior hurling team between 1954-1964, his rewards were meagre for a player of his ability.

Born in Ballintemple in 1935 he made his debut in the 1953 National Hurling League and impressed sufficiently to be drafted into the championship panel in 1954. He replaced the injured Tony O'Shaughnessy in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway but O'Shaughnessy was recalled for the final against Wexford.

A Munster and  All-Ireland medal may have been a good start to an inter-county career but during the remaining ten years of his senior period he enjoyed only one other championship success, when he won a Munster medal in 1956, before going down to Wexford in the All-Ireland. He was also on the losing side in four other Munster finals.

Jimmy was regarded as an outstanding corner-back. Christy Ring included him in his greatest ever team. Regarded as a tidy and economical player, his great ability was being able to bat the ball a great distance out of danger to the great frustration of the opposing forwards. He was also very good at catching the ball in the air

Jimmy's impressive talent was first recognised as a student at O'Sullivan's Quay CBS, where he played Harty Cup for three years, 1949-1953, unfortunately without any success. However, he had some consolation when he was picked on the Munster team which won the All-Ireland Colleges in 1952 and 1953. He was a member of unsuccessful Cork minor teams in 1952 and 1953.

Jimmy played his club hurling with Blackrock and made a major contribution to their county success in 1956, when they won the title after a gap of 25 years. In the same year he won a county junior football title with Blackrock's sister club, St. Michael's. He also won a Munster junior football medal in 1957, before losing to a Mayo team, that included Mick Loftus, in the All-Ireland. He won a second Cork senior hurling title in 1961 and also lost two finals..

Probably the greatest tribute to his greatness as a hurler was his Railway Cup record. At a time when selection was extremely competitive, Jimmy was a regular on the Munster team, making the first of seven successive appearances in1957 and winning six medals, missing out in 1962 only when Leinster were victorious.

Jimmy was later a selector on the Cork senior teams that won All-Irelands in 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1986, when he had the satisfaction of seeing his nephew, Tom Cashman, captain Cork to victory.
Jimmy's father hailed from Fethard, Co. Tipperary, before going to Cork to work in the Metropole Hotel, where he met his mother, Mary Murphy from Ballintemple. The couple had seven children of whom Jimmy was the middle one. Two of his brothers enjoyed sporting success playing soccer in the League of Ireland.

Jimmy retains a connection with Tipperary through his work as a gatechecker for Munster Council at Semple Stadium.

 

 

<span class="postTitle">Clonoulty-Rossmore Celebrate 1989 Victory</span> County Senior Hurling Final match program, November 2, 2014

Clonoulty-Rossmore Celebrate 1989 Victory 

County Senior Hurling Final match program, November 2, 2014

 

Clonoulty-Rossmore's victory in the 1989 senior hurling championship may have been partly overshadowed in the rest of the county by Tipperary's return to All-Ireland glory after eighteen years in the wilderness, but there is no denying what the success meant to the parish.
There was good reason why this should have been so. It was thirty-eight years since the club won a West senior hurling title and all of one hundred and one years since county honours had been annexed.

There wasn't much inkling of a dramatic breakthrough when the club met Golden-Kilfeacle in the first round of the West senior championship at Cashel on May 28 with Aengus Ryan as referee and gate receipts of £1848. There was a hint of something special about the team the previous year when they defeated county champions, Cappawhite, in the first round but the feeling was dissipated by a heavy defeat at the hands of Cashel King Cormacs in the semi-final.

Clonoulty won easily by 2-19 to 3-2 and went on to an equally facile victory over Kickhams by 2-14 to 1-5 at Golden on July 16. Cappawhite, who looked well against Cashel in the other semi-final, were their opponents in the West final at Emly on August 20. Beforehand Len Gaynor was drafted in as coach and training took on a new dimension as a result.  Sessions brought out full numbers, fitness levels were increased, team spirit was improved and a strong desire for success was generated.

The expectation of a rousing contest was reflected in the gate receipts of over £6,000 at Emly. Clonoulty got off to a stunning start and led by 2-3 to 0-0 mid-way through the first half. However, Cappawhite struck back to leave only two points, 2-8 to 2-6, between the sides at the interval. A goal but Peter Hayes soon after the resumption set Clonoulty on the road to victory which they eventually achieved on a scoreline of 3-20 to 4-6. It was a richly deserved breakthrough for the team, with T. J. Ryan as captain and the man-of-the-match award going to Peter Hayes.

The winning side was: Andrew Fryday, David Ryan (H), Cecil Ryan, Noel Keane, Seamus Hammersley, John Kennedy, Phil Shanahan, T. J. Ryan (R) Capt., Kevin Ryan, Declan Ryan, Joe Hayes, Michael Heffernan, Dan Quirke, Peter Hayes, Tommy Kennedy. Sub: John Ryan (J) for Tommy Kennedy.
 

County championship
 

Clonoulty faced reigning champions, Loughmore-Castleiney, in the county quarter-final at Thurles on September 24. In spite of having the better of the exchanges in the first half, they could manage only a three-point lead, 0-8 to 1-2, at the interval. Loughmore levelled with a John Treacy goal early in the second-half and for a good while the game hung in the balance. With nine minutes remaining Peter Hayes netted to give Clonoulty a three-point lead. However, the lead remained vulnerable until Kevin Ryan scored an insurance point near the end and this gave Clonoulty a 1-14 to 2-7 victory, Joe Hayes had a very fine game.

Clonoulty's next date was with Toomevara in the semi-final at Semple Stadium on October 8. Tommy Kennedy had a goal within two minutes of the start and that score signalled an easy passage for Clonoulty to a half-time lead of 2-6 to 0-1, the second goal coming from Declan Ryan. They eventually ran out convincing winners by 2-12 to 0-5 against an opposition that played way below par on the day. Tommy Kennedy topped the scoring list with 1-3.

The final set up Clonoulty against neighbours, Holycross-Ballycahill, at Semple Stadium on October 22. The build-up to the game was fantastic. Francis Kearney described it thus in his Yearbook article: 'Hurling was practically the only topic of conversation, banners and bunting in green and gold decked the village and every household lofted the colours in flags and a nultiplicity of banners. The hearts of young and old beat faster in anticipation of the great event.

A palpable tension infused the air on the morning of the match. The message 'Declan is Magic' emblazoned on the road at Cross of the Hough by some covert night-walkers, lifted all hearts on the long road to Thurles and epitomised the euphoric spirit of the occasion..'

Clonoulty were slight favourites, The first half was dour and close. Defences ruled but Clonoulty had marginally the better of affairs and retired leading by three points, 0-8 to 0-5, at the interval. Nine minutes into the second half came a crucial score when Peter Hayes swept the ball to the Holycross net. A pointed penalty by Kevin Ryan soon had Clonoulty six points up and seemingly headed for victory. However, Holycross came back in a bid to save the day. They cut the lead to four points and then substitute, Donal Ryan, goaled to leave but a point between the sides and still two minutes to play. At the end the last word came from outstanding centre back, John Kennedy, who pointed a '65' to secure Clonoulty's win by 1-11 to 1-9 amid unrestrained euphoria.

The victorious team was as follows: Andrew Fryday, David Ryan, Cecil Ryan, Noel Keane, Seamus Hammersley, John Kennedy, Phil Shanahan, T. J. Ryan (capt.), Kevin Ryan, Declan Ryan, Joe Hayes, Micheal Heffernan, Dan Quirke, Peter Hayes, Tommy Kennedy. Subs: Paddy Bourke, Alan O'Dwyer, Neil Ryan, John Kennedy, Tim Shanahan,  Timmy Corcoran, John Ryan, John Fitzgerald, Philip Quirke, Patrick Ryan.

Selectors: Tom Ryan, Michael Ryan, Owen Ryan. Coach: Len Gaynor.
Referee: John Moloney (Galtee Rovers).

Scorers in the championship:

Kevin Ryan (0-28), Joe Hayes (2-16), Dan Quirke (2-13), Peter Hayes (4-3), Declan Ryan (2-8), Tommy Kennedy (1-10), Michael Heffernan (0-5), T. J. Ryan (0-4), Noel Keane (0-2), John Kennedy (0-2).

For: 11.91; Against: 11-34.

Path to Final:

West championship:
(28/05/1989) First round: Clonoulty-Rossmore 2-19 Golden-Kilfeacle 3-2
(16/07/1989) Semi-final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 2-14 Kickhams 1-5
(20/08/1989) Final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 3-20 Cappawhite 4-6

County championship:
(24-09-1989) Quarter-final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 1-14 Loughmore-Castleiney 2-7
(08/10/1989) Semi-final:Clonoulty-Rossmore 2-12 Toomevara 0-5
(22/10/1989) Final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 1-11 Holycross-Ballycahill: 1-9

 

Munster Progress
 

Clonoulty headed for Munster at Bruff on November 5 but their progress was halted by Limerick champions, Ballybrown, in the semi-final. John Kennedy was missing, having flown out to the U.S. the same morning. The Limerick side led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval and went seven points in front on the resumption before a Peter Hayes goal gave Clonoulty hope. However, this was dimned when Noel Keane was sent off for a foul on Terence Kenny and, later in the half, by the dismissal of David Ryan. Down to thirteen players Clonoulty fought like demons to rescue the day and came within a whisker of doing so. Points by Joe Hayes and Declan Ryan left just one between the sides with time almost up. Two minutes into added time a Kevin Ryan free from the sideline about forty yards out veered wide and ended Clonoulty's hopes of Munster glory on a scoreline of 1-10 to 1-9.

 

 

<span class="postTitle">Tipperary Rule the Roost between 1958 & 1968</span> County Tipperary Senior Hurling Semi-finals match program, October 26, 2014

Tipperary Rule the Roost between 1958 & 1968

County Tipperary Senior Hurling Semi-finals match program, October 26, 2014

 

Tipperary dominated the hurling scene during the years from 1958 to 1968, contesting eight All-Irelands. They won in 1958, 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1965 and their three losses came in 1960, 1967 and 1968.

First of all the losses. Wexford came out on top in 1960 and 1968. In 1960 they were very much underdogs with the pundits rating their chances next to zero. One pundit stated that while Wexford were ‘skilled, seasoned but no longer in the full flush of youth, would be exposed to a merciless pounding by the searing, searching persistency of this most talented of all attacking machines.’ The reality on the day was so very much different. Tipperary were only a shadow of what was expected of them, scored only eleven points and were outclassed by a Wexford side that scored 2-15. 

Wexford’s second success in 1968 was sensational. Trailing by ten points after twenty-six minutes, they stormed back to be eight points in front as the game entered the last quarter, reminiscent of their great comeback in the 1956 league final, and while Tipperary got two late consolation goals, Wexford were deserving winners.

Tipperary’s other loss was to Kilkenny in the 1967 All-Ireland, their first defeat by the black and amber in a major competition since 1922. On a blustery day Tipperary with wind advantage led by double scores at half-time and their lead would have been much greater but for some brilliant saves by Ollie Walsh between the posts for Kilkenny. In the second half Kilkenny got on top at centrefield where John Teehan and Paddy Moran out-hurled Mick Roche and Theo English. The supply of ball was cut off to the Tipperary forwards who were limited to just one point and Kilkenny should have won by more than their four-point margin of victory. John Doyle was seeking his ninth All-Ireland medal on the day, in his nineteenth year of senior hurling for Tipperary. 
 

The Victories
 

The first of Tipperary’s victories was over Galway in 1958, after beating Kilkenny in the semi-final. Tipperary were hot favourites and only 47,000 attended the final, the lowest number since 1944. Although playing against the breeze in the first half, Tipperary led by ten points at half-time, two early goals shattering Galway’s chances.  However, Galway changed goalkeepers and put up a better performance in the second half before going down by 4-9 to 2-5. Following this defeat Galway made their debut in the Munster championship and this arrangement stood until 1969.
Tipperary were expected to beat Dublin easily in the 1961 final because of the latter’s record in the championship since 1948. They beat Wexford sensationally in the Leinster final but not many gave them a chance against Tipperary in the All-Ireland, the first hurling final to be televised. Although Tipperary led at half-time Dublin went ahead in the second-half and looked likely victors. Two events halted their progress. The first was the sending off of the inspirational Lar Foley and the second a brilliant save by Donal O’Brien in the Tipperary goal. In the end Tipperary were very lucky to win by a point.

A year later Tipperary’s opponents in the final were Wexford, who unexpectedly defeated Kilkenny in the Leinster final. This game was a thrilling encounter. It was nip and tuck right through with the lead changing on numerous occasions. Tipperary’s superior freshness in the closing stages ensured their two-point victory on a scoreline of 3-10 to 2-11.

Having lost sensationally to Waterford in the 1963 championship, Tipperary were back with a bang in the 1964 campaign and their progress to the final was uninterrupted and spectacular.  Kilkenny were their opponents in the final and were slight favourites following impressive displays in the Leinster championship. In fact they went down to Tipperary by 5-13 to 2-8 and suffered their greatest defeat since the 1937 loss at Killarney.

Tipperary’s progress to the 1965 final was equally impressive. They inflicted a crushing defeat on Cork in the Munster final and were favourites against Wexford in the All-Ireland final  The foundation of Tipperary’s success were laid by two goals by Sean McLoughlin in the first quarter and an impregnable inner line of defence.  In the end they won by 2-16 to 0-10.

In the five finals Tipperary amassed a total of 14 goals and 64 points and conceded 7 goals 46 points. Three players. Donie Nealon, Jimmy Doyle and Liam Devaney, played in all eight All-Irelands. This great period of dominance came to an end for Tipperary with the 1968 defeat.  There was to be one more flash of brilliance in 1971 but after that the ‘famine’ arrived and the county had to wait for eighteen years for the next All-Ireland success.

 

The Achievements of the 1964 & 1965 Players.

Path to Glory in League, Championship and Oireachtas

National League 1963-1964
Sept. 29, Nenagh: Tipperary 9-14 Galway 1-4
Oct. 13, Ennis: Tipperary 5-7 Clare 2-8
Nov. 10, Thurles: Tipperary 3-14 Cork 1-3
Mar. 22, Kilkenny: Tipperary 2-12 Kilkenny 3-9 (draw)
Apr. 19, Nenagh (SF) Tipperary 3-16 Limerick 2-5
May 10, Croke Park (HF) Tipperary 5-12 Wexford 1-4
May 31, New York (F) Tipperary 4-16 New York 6-6

Munster Championship
July 5, Limerick (SF): Tipperary 6-13 Clare 2-5
July 25, Limerick (F): Tipperary 3-13 Cork 1-5
All-Ireland
Sept. 6, Croke Park (F): Tipperary 5-13 Kilkenny 2-8

Oireachtas
Oct. 4, Croke Park (SF): Tipperry 2-11 Dublin 2-4
Oct. 18, Croke Park (F): Tipperary 5-7 Kilkenny 4-8

National League 1964-1965
Nov. 22, Nenagh: Tipperary 8-10 Clare 2-4
Nopv. 29, Cork: Tipperary 4-8 Cork 2-12
Feb. 7, Ballinasloe: Tipperry 4-12 Galway 0-9
Apr. 4, Thurles: Tipperary 5-7 Kilkenny 7-10 (defeat)
May 9, Croke Park (SF): Tipperary 2-18 Waterford 1-9
May 23, Croke Park (HF): Tipperary 3-14 Kilkenny 2-8
Sept. 19, New York (1): Tipperary 4-10 New York 2-11
Sept. 26, New York (2): Tipperary 2-9 New York 3-9 (defeat)
Tipperary win on agregate by 6-19 to 5-20.

Munster championship
June 27, Limerick (SF): Tipperary 5-8 Clare 3-3
July 25, Limerick (F): Tipperry 4-11 Cork 0-5
 

All-Ireland
Sept. 5, Croke Park (F): Tipperary 2-16 Wexford 0-10

Oireachtas (Tipperary had free passage to final.)
Oct. 17, Croke Park (F): Tipperary 2-12 Kilkenny 2-7

Analysing these scores is a fascinating exercise. Tipperary played 24 competitive games in the two years, winning 21, losing 2 and drawing 1. They won the National League the All-Ireland Championship and the Oireachtas (when it was a major tournament) in both years.
They scored remarkably the same each year, 51 goals and 154 points in 1964 and 52 goals 148 points in 1965. Combined this worked out at an average of approximately 4-13 per game for the 24 played. They conceded 27-69 in 1964 and 24.94 in 1965 which combined averaged out at 2-7 per game, or approximately half of what they scored themselves.

One indication of Tipperary's strength at the time was the number of players picked on the Munster Railway Cup team in 1965, 10 in all: John O'Donoghue, John Doyle, Kieran Carey, Sean McLoughlin, Mick Roche, Babs Keating, Liam Devaney, Theo English, Tony Wall and Jimmy Doyle. 
The full list of players involved was as follows: Michael Murphy (Capt. 1964), Jimmy Doyle (Capt. 1965), Mick Burns, Kieran Carey, Liam Devaney, John Dillon, John Doyle, Paddy Doyle, Theo English , Len Gaynor, Michael 'Babs' Keating, Larry Kiely, Michael Lonergan, Seamus Mackey, Michael Maher, John 'Mackey' McKenna, Sean McLoughlin, Donie Nealon, John O'Donoghue, Noel O'Gorman, Peter O'Sullivan, Mick Roche, Pat Ryan, Tom Ryan, Tony Wall.

 

<span class="postTitle">Des Dillon (1926-1964), Clare Hurler and More</span> Munster Senior Hurling semi-final, Thurles, June 15, 2014

Des Dillon (1926-1964), Clare Hurler and More

Munster Senior Hurling semi-final, Thurles, June 15, 2014

 

In his column in the Irish Press soon after his death, Padraig Puirseal had this to say about Des Dillon: 'He might easily have been either the greatest handballer or the greatest hurler of our time. He had the size, the strength, the acquired skill and the immense natural ability to become a dominant figure in eather game, or possibly in both. To my mind the only reason he failed to reach even greater prominence in either game than he did, was because sport always remained sport to him.'

Born in Lisdoonvarna in 1926 it appears the family moved to Birr when his father became a Garda Sergeant in Lorrha. Des went to school in Mount St. Joseph's, Roscrea, where he excelled as a hurler, as well as other sports, on college teams between 1941-1945. He won two Offaly senior hurling championship with Birr in 1944 and 1946 and lost a final in 1947, while at the same time turning out for Offaly in the championship between 1945-47.

In the latter year he went to U.C.D. (1947-54) to study medicine. He won four Fitzgibbon Cup medals in 1948, 1950, 1951 & 1952 during his term there and a Dublin senior hurling title in 1948. He captained the Combined Universities against Ireland in the first game in the series  in 1952. His performances with the college brought him to the attention of the Dublin county selectors and he was a sub on the team that lost to Waterford in the 1948 All-Ireland and played with the county in the 1949, 1950 and 1951 championships. He was also picked for Leinster in the inter-provincial series.

 

First Retirement
 

He retired from hurling in 1951 in order to concentrate on his medical studies and we next hear of him in 1954, when he made his debut for Clare at midfield in a Thomond Feis game on May 9th.

His hurling career with Clare was very short – a mere 14 senior hurling games in all, including three championship games in 1955 – but he left lasting impressions on those who remember him. As a student in St, Flannan's in the early fifties, I recall him as a big man, black haired and legs that appeared to have been perma-tanned, striding with power and skill through the field of play.

He won an Oireachtas medal following a brilliant display against Bobby Rackard at the end of 1954.

His last game for Clare was another Oireachtas game against Wexford in October 1955. In the same year he won a Railway Cup medal with Munster.

 

Handball
 

Although still only 28 years of age, he retired from hurling to concentrate on his second great love, handball. In 1955 he won the Gael-Linn trophy for the first time and repeated his victory in 1957. In 1955 he also won the Munster senior doubles with John Slattery. His profession took him away from the game for a couple of years after that. He also won many Dublin titles but an All-Ireland medal always evaded him. He was beaten in the All-Ireland singles final in 1962.  In 1964 he qualified with Joey Maher (Louth) to play in the World Championships in the U.S.A.

He spent some of his professional life in England, in London, Liverpool and Wigan. When he returned from England he set up a pharmacy in Booterstown and it was at the railway station there that he was killed tragically by a train on November 24, 1964. He was survived by his wife, a seven year old daughter and an infant son.

Des Dillon was a larger than life personality, who excelled in other sports as well as hurling and handball and who left an indelible impression on all who knew him during a short life. For him sport was a pastime to be enjoyed and his carefree attitude to games was greatly at odds with the modern attiitude to sport.