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<span class="postTitle">My Tipperary Life</span> The Nationalist and The Tipperary Star, October 31st, 2019

My Tipperary Life

The Nationalist and The Tipperary Star, October 31, 2019

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend in Tipperary?

It has to include a visit to Brosnan’s Pub for a few pints and to catch up with the local news. Reading the weekend papers is a vital part of my existence. The highlight has to be a hurling match in Thurles, preferably against Cork, and a chat with a few Cork supporters before or after the game over a few pints of Guinness. If there isn’t a game to go to, Sunday lunch at home with my wife’s cooking and a good bottle of wine.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Tipperary in your lifetime – and why?

A very difficult question but the two Tipperary people who have made a great contribution to Tipperary in my estimation are General M. J. Costello and T. J. Maher. Both these men were major figures in the county, and beyond, during their lifetimes and they contributed significantly to improving the lot of people in the county.

After a distinguished army career, in which M. J. Costello reached the rank of Lieutenant-General, and was ever after referred to as General Costello, he took over the Sugar Company, which was in a weak state after the Emergency. He set about improving soil fertility and established soil testing stations, limestone quarries and fertiliser compounding. He waged a ceaseless war against the various beet diseases and against the pests of the crop. His work into beet seed research won recognition across the beet-growing world, including a prestigious decoration from King Baudouin of the Belgians in 1973. His vision was to make the smallest farm viable. His vegetable project was aimed to accommodate the small family holding as much as the big farm. His efforts lifted the depressed Ireland of the fifties and, as the celebrant of his funeral Mass on October 22, 1986, expressed it, his life was ‘dedicated to protecting, uplifting, to guiding, to counselling the ordinary people of this island – the people of no wealth, the people of no property, the people of uncertain future, the people of no influence.’

T. J. Maher’s achievements in the later decades of the century were also impressive. Beginning his life on the family farm in Boherlahan, he joined the newly formed National Farmers Association soon after its foundation and rapidly made his way up the ranks and was one of the ten members, who sat out at the Department of Agriculture for nineteen days. He succeeded Rickard Deasy as President of the N.F.A. in 1967, a meteoric rise in the organisation in about ten years. He helped to unite the various farming organisation under a new title, the Irish Farmers Association in 1976 and, as a committed European led the vote for entry to the E.E.C. He later became president of the co-operative movement. His next move was in 1979 when he was elected MEP with a massive 86,000 votes, a tribute to his leadership qualities and his success in giving Irish farmers a powerful voice. When he retired after three terms in the European Parliament, he spent his time furthering the activities of Bothar, the organisation he co-founded in 1991 to give people in the developing world an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty through this self-help scheme. T. J. Maher’s contribution to the lives of the Irish farming community was truly immense.

What’s your first Tipperary memory?

It must have been about 1946 or 1947. I was coming home from Redwood bog sitting on top of a creel of turf and passing Tom Lambe’s house, he came out and handed me up a new hurl: ‘Take that’, he said, ‘’you’ll find good use for it.’ It was my first proper hurl. Before that I used a crookey stick. Tom Lambe was my hero at the time and played on the Lorrha senior team.

What’s your favourite part of the county – and why:

Even though I come from the north of the county I am more attracted to some of the landscape of South Tipperary. The area that impresses me most is the Vee and the area that stretches down to Lismore. I think it’s the wilderness effect that attracts me, which contrasts with the rich farming terrain in the rest of the county. The story of Petticoat Luce fascinates me. Pettycoat Luce was supposed to be a bad living woman. She killed her father and her mother and an unbaptised child. The Parish Priest of Clogheen gave her a penance to drain Bay Lough with a thimble. Some people from Clogheen went up to Bay Lough to make an outlet to let the water run out. When they were there they saw that Clogheen was on fire They ran down to save it. When they got down it was not on fire at all. And there’s more stories about her but not enough to reveal what kind of person she was..

What do you think gives Tipperary its unique identity?

I suppose the Tipperary accent has to be part of its uniqueness and the inability of many people to pronounce their ths. Tipperary people are proud and pride themselves in the designation, Premier County. Most people attribute this title to the fact that we won many competitions in the G.A.A., when they were first played, such as the first All-Ireland, the first under-21 All-Ireland, etc. It might come as a shock to some that the attribute, Premier County, is supposed to have originated in praise of the county as one of the foremost in providing soldiers to the British Army! That theory is backed up by the number of Victoria Crosses won by Tipperary soldiers. Maybe the uniqueness of the county is due to the fact that we were the only county that had two administrative units up to recently.

Do you have a favourite local writer or authorities?

As a student of history I cannot go beyond Dr. Des Marnane, who has written so extensively of West Tipperary since the production of ‘Land and Violence: A History of West Tipperary from 1660’ in 1985. Since then his production has been enormous as the pages of the Tipperary Historical Journal can testify, as well as his books. He briings to his writing a great desire for the truth and a searching analysis of the records. An indefatigable researcher, he has thrown new light on many old issues and exposed much that was myth and humbug in historical events.

Another writer whose work I have huge respect for is Pat Bracken. His book ‘The Growth and Development of Sport in County Tipperary 1840-1880’ in chock a block with exciting information, revealing a sporting Ireland during the forty years covered in the title and challenges many of our assumptions about the development of these sports, as well as the state of hurling before the foundation of the G.A.A. A work of assiduous and painstaking research, it is a must read for anyone in the county interest in sport.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?

I don’t know about the biggest but there are a few big ones. We need to expand on the number of tourists coming into the county. Over 300,000 visit the Rock of Cashel annually but there is too small a spill over to the rest of the county. We have a lot to offer the tourist, religious places like Holycross, Roscrea, Lorrha, water pursuits on Lough Derg, mountain climbing in the South, good food, plenty of sport. The big challenge is to sell the huge variety of visitor attractions we have to offer. In the meantime we need to catch up with Kilkenny in the roll call of All-Ireland honours!

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Tipperary, what would it be?

Another difficult question because I’m not quite sure what traits, habits or practices Tipperary has that are different to other counties. I suppose it would be a good idea to have one capital town in Thurles rather than two in Nenagh and Clonmel, with politicians and staff traipsing between the two incurring expenses. Another idea might be to relocate the county a bit further south where the weather would be better.

<span class="postTitle">Centenary of Gaelic Sunday</span> The Nationalist, August 4, 2018

Centenary of Gaelic Sunday

The Nationalist, August 4, 2018

Gaelic Sunday was the response of the G.A.A. to a proclamation by the British authorities early in July 1918 prohibiting all ‘meetings, assemblies, or processions in public places’ without written authorisation from the police’.

The G.A.A. responded in two ways. It forbade any club or part of the G.A.A. body to apply for a permit to play a game, ‘breaches of which were to be punishable by automatic and indefinite suspension’.

More dramatically the G.A.A.’s resistance went beyond non-compliance to actual defiance of the proclamation. County Boards were instructed to hold a meeting of their club delegates with a view to organising a program of club matches to be held on August 4th. All these games were to start simultaneously at 3 pm and nowhere was a permit to be sought.

The press reported at the time that about 1,500 hurling, football and camogie matches were scheduled, that over 50,000 players were expected to participate and that many thousands more would turn out to watch.

The numbers that participated may not have been as great as the weather turned out to be atrocious. The football match planned for Castlegrace against Cahir was abandoned owing to the inclemency of the weather.

Newspaper reports

The Nationalist of August 7, 1918 reported that the match between Boherlahan and Cashel did go ahead. The local correspondent reported that ‘notwithstanding the inclement nature of the afternoon a goodly muster foregathered in the sports field to witness the contest, which turned out as expected in an easy win for the All-Ireland champions’.

Neither team was at full strength, owing to the prevalence of ‘flu’ amongst them, but both fifteens gave a good exhibition of the national game. The result was: Boherlahan 5 goals Cashel 1 goal 2 points. Mr J. Cahill, U.C, P.L.G., Cashel refereed.

‘The Cashel Brass Band played to the grounds, where an excellent musical selection was discoursed. The band returned playing an inspiriting national air. Throughout the entire proceedings there was nothing but perfect good order, and not an unseemly incident was associated with the festival. The local police were passive onlookers, and they did not in the least interfere with the match.’

The last sentence sums up the success of the G.A.A. defiance. There was no showdown between the British authorities and the G.A.A. as had been expected. The authorities realised the impossibility of policing so many events and relented beforehand ‘a circular being sent out to the police to the effect that Gaelic games were no longer to be considered to fall under the terms of the July 4th proclamation.’

Participation in County Tipperary

The Nationalist reported on August 7 that 12 games were played between the South division clubs, about 14 in the Mid division and 16 in the North. (There was no West division at the time.)

The report continued: ‘At Ballyfowloo, Clonmel hurlers defeated Ballyfowloo after a well-fought contest by 3 goals to 1 point..

‘At Kilcash, Clonmel footballers went down before the home team after 25 minutes play by 2 points to 1 point. The heavy rain greatly interfered with the game, which was abandoned after 25 minutes.’

Another match was played at Ballydine. The contestants were Golden and Ballydine. The newspaper report described the match as ‘a noteworthy exhibition of good feeling.’ Few spectators were present and the match ended in a draw. The referee on the occasion was P. Hayes, Ballydine

The paper reported that the matches went off without difficulty ‘in no case was there any interference with the players though youths of 9 and 10 years of age were arrested for doing the same thing about a week before.’

The Midland Tribune gave an extensive report of G.A.A. activity on the day in North Tipperary. Written by ‘The Whip’, the writer screams Victory! at the beginning of his column and writes euphorically on how the Gaels of the division defied the Government directive on playing games. He continued: ‘The Gaels of North Tipp, I am glad to say, acted as one man, and their display on Sunday last was one to be proud of. Fourteen matches was no small task, and the fact that they were all carried out shows the loyalty and patriotism of the Gaels of this sporting district.’

He goes on to give a list of the games played: Killadangan v Ardcroney at Ardcroney; Finnoe v Kilbarron at Finnoe; Abbeyville v Eglish and Lorrha v Glenahilty at Abbeyville; Roscrea v Coolderry at Roscrea; Toomevara v Moneygall at Park; Toomevara v Gurtagarry at Gurtagarry; Ballymackey v Nenagh at Kilruane; Ballina v Ballywilliam; Newport v Birdhill; Portroe v Garrykennedy; Shalee v Foilnamuck; Templederry v Curreeney; Newport Shamrocks v Ballinahinch.

No Interference

‘The Whip’ continued his report: ‘In only one case, as far as I can learn, was there anything like interference, and that was in Kilruane, where the local police sergeant demanded admission, but did not consider it worth fourpence of his money. He took the name and address of the young man, who refused him admission without the payment of fourpence, and then he viewed the proceedings over the ditch.’

‘The Whip’ attended the match between Nenagh and Ballymackey at Kilruane. The posters had stated Nenagh as the venue and this inconvenienced the writer, who walked the railway line to get there, but was late arriving. He added that five policemen were also inconvenienced and took up positions at the Show Grounds before the time advertised for the match. The game at Kilruane turned out not to be up ‘to All-Ireland standard, or even championship standard, but nonetheless, the game was a good one, and well worth fourpence of anybody’s money, even Sergeant O’Donnell’s’ The result was a draw, Nenagh 3-3 Ballymackey 2-5.

I couldn’t find a detailed report of what teams played in the 14 matches in the Mid division. The Tipperary Star report for August 10 is unsatisfactory, lacking in detail. All it carries is a generic report of what happened in the county without any specific information relating to the Mid division. Perhaps, someone reading this may be able to fill in the details.

<span class="postTitle">Sean O’Meara (1933-2017)</span> Nenagh Guardian, May 6, 2017

Sean O'Meara

Nenagh Guardian, May 6, 2017.

The death of Sean O’Meara of Lorrha on March 18 saw the passing of an outstanding athlete  and hurler. Born in October 1933, he was the second son of Jim ‘The Private’ and Margaret O’Meara, and one of four children with Paddy older and Kathleen and Seamus younger.

He first played for Lorrha against Shannon Rovers in the under-15 championship at Kilbarron in 1943. Lorrha were slaughtered on the day by an opposition superbly trained by Rev. John Cleary, C.C. Sean as a nine-year old played on goals but gave such an exceptional performance that when Fr. Cleary spoke to the defeated side after the game, he singled Sean out as the only player he would select on the Shannon Rovers side!

After national school in Lorrha, Sean went to Pallaskenry Missionary College, as it was then known. He spent five years there during which he played with the college team. He impressed enough to be invited to play for the Limerick minors but he declined in the hope of getting a call up for Tipperary, which never came. One of the other things he excelled in while in Pallaskenry was running. The prime competition annually was the mile race and he won it three years in a row.


Played with Meath

Following his Leaving Certificate Sean spent a year in the Salesian Novitiate in Burwash, Sussex, U.K. following which he went to Warrenstown Agricultural College, Co. Meath for a year. His hurling ability was recognised when he was selected on the Meath senior hurling team in 1954, which had the distinction of beating Carlow and Offaly, before going down to Dublin in the Leinster semi-final. Playing at centrefield, Sean had as opponents Mick Ryan and Phil Shanahan of Tipperary, who were playing with Dublin that year. In the same year he got a trial with the Meath footballers, who defeated Cavan in the All-Ireland semi-final, before going on to beat Kerry in the final.

Back home in 1955, he played with Lorrha in the senior championship, losing out to Borrisileigh in the North semi-final. In the same year he was selected for the Tipperary hurlers in the  Munster championship and for the Tipperary footballers against Cork, but couldn’t play because of injury.


The Offaly Dimension

Later in the year he got a job as an insurance agent in Banagher on condition that he play with the local club, Shannon Rovers, so he transferred to Offaly. He played in the county hurling championship for two years, reaching the county final in 1956, only to be badly beaten by Drumcullen. He also played football with Cloghan, the football end of the parish, and reached the final in 1956, before losing to Tullamore.

Playing with Meath and Banagher brought Sean to the attention of the Tipperary selectors. He made his first appearance against Clare in the 1955 Munster championship, when Tipperary were surprisingly beaten. He played in the subsequent league campaign and partnered John Hough at centrefield in the final at Croke Park, when Wexford came back from the dead after half-time to defeat Tipperary. He was dropped in favour of Mick Ryan for the Munster championship semi-final, which Tipperary lost to Cork after leading by 2-6 to 0-1 at the interval.


National League medal

Sean was back on the team for the 1956-576 league campaign and played at full-forward on the side that defeated Kilkenny in the final at Croke Park on May 12, 1957. He was in the same position for the Munster semi-final against Cork, a game that was lost by the unlikely score of 5-2 to 1-11.
The winning of the league led to a trip to the U.S. in October. Tipperary played New York in the St. Brendan Cup, playing four games in all, one under lights. Sean decided to remain on in New York and was to remain there for ten years.

It was understandable that emigration wouldn’t bring an end to Sean’s playing career. He played with Cork (New York) in football initially, as he had got a job through a Cork connection, and won a championship with them. Later he played with Kilkenny and won a second football championship. But hurling was his first love and he won a championship with Tipperary in 1962.


St. Brendan Cup

Sean was part of the New York team which played Kilkenny in the St. Brendan Cup in the Polo Grounds on June 1, 1958. It was the last Gaelic match to be played in the historic ground and Sean had an outstanding game, scoring 3-6 at full-forward over the hour. It gave him the unique distinction of having won St.Brendan Cups with Irish and New York teams, and in consecutive years. He was to win his third later in the year, when  New York defeated Wexford by 3-8 to 3-7 in another final at Croke Park.

In 1960 Waterford travelled to New York and were beaten by a star-studded New York team on a scoreline of 7-7 to 3-4. Playing at full-forward, Johnny had an outstanding game and scored 3-2 off the great Austin Glynn before an attendance of 29,000 people.
During his time in New York Sean made a number of hurling trips to Ireland, wither with New York teams for league engagements or to play with Lorrha. For instance, he played with his native parish in 1965, when Lorrha were beaten a point by Kilruane in the North final.



While in New York Sean married Peggy Egerton, originally from Oldcastle, Co. Meath, in May 1962. The couple had four girls, Margaret, Marie, Olivia and Valerie. All the girls, with the exception of Olivia, have won All-Irelands in athletics and represented Ireland at international level. They were good sprinters, and Marie was a jumper at well. She held the Irish ladies’ record for the triple jump at one stage.

Sean returned to Ireland in 1966 and was on the Lorrha side that won the North senior divisional side that year. He continued to play with the club until 1979, twenty-six years after making his first appearance as a senior with the club. During the same period he won two divisional junior football titles in 1966 and 1971, going all the way  to a county title in the latter year.

He remained an athlete all his life, participating in sports all over the country.  He took part in the first Dublin City marathon in 1979 and on two later occasions.


G.A.A. Administration

He was also involved in G.A.A. administration. He was registrar of the North Board for seven years and a trustee of the county board for four years. Refereeing was another part of his life. He refereed at all levels, divisional, county, Minster (Munster Club final 1977) and All-Ireland levels, and had the unique distinction of refereeing five divisional hurling finals in the same year, senior, intermediate, junior, under-21 and minor. He served as Tipperary representative on the Munster Referees Advisory Council.

Comhaltas played a major part in his life. Ever since Paddy Madden, Canon Martin Ryan and Peggy Wilde started the Irish Nights in the old hall in Lorrha in the 1960s, Sean was involved. He used to travel from Nenagh with his daughters every Friday night and the entertainment played a major part in his and his daughters’ lives. At one stage he was part of a half-set with Bernadette Turner, Tommy and Kathleen Houlihan and they won a number of Munster titles.


An Active Man

Sean O’Meara was always a most active man. During his sporting life he achieved a level of fitness that was exceptional in his time, when hurlers and footballers had a much more relaxed attitude to their physical preparations. He was a robust player who revelled in taking on opponents in physical battle and not many enjoyed coming in contact with him. As a contemporary of his in New York, Johnny Murphy of Cashel, described him ‘ a man you wouldn’t like to run into on the field of play.’ Off the field of play the same energy drove him in his job and his recreational activities. He was never a person to loll about but was ever restless for new activities, new challenges.

It was ironic, and very, very cruel then that he should be partly paralysed following an operation in the Blackrock Clinic in 2003, which rendered him extremely limited in the kind of physical activity he so enjoyed. It was a most frustrating experience for him to have to spend the last thirteen years of his life in such a state.

In spite of this he will always be remembered as a skilful bundle of energy on the playing fields giving his all for Lorrha, Tipperary and New York.


<span class="postTitle">My 1916</span> The Irish Times, Jan 30th 2016

My 1916

The Irish Times, Jan 30th 2016


I can’t get excited by the 1916 centenary celebrations. I have tried to approach Rebellion with an open mind but I find it difficult to stay with it. It seems to be far removed from any empathetic appreciation of the rebels’ actions or achievements. The re-enactment of the events of 1916 appears contrived and lost in a time warp.

This feeling has little to do with my attitude to the Rising. I was brought up on the historical menu that the event was the culmination of a long line of physical force events commencing in 1798  that eventually lead to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. I never doubted that the Rising was necessary to expedite the departure of the British.

I suppose the leaders were always plaster cast figures in my imagination, similar to the religious statues in the local church. They were pictures, some like Pearse and Clarke and Connolly, making a bigger impact on my imagination than the others, but all difficult to put flesh and blood on.

When they were remembered on television in 1966, particularly in Seachtar Fear, Seacht Lá, and an attempt was made to make them living men and women, they weren’t a success. They were artificial creations, badly realised and had no semblance to the figures in my imagination.

The argument propounded then that they had no mandate from the public, that they were the minority of a minority, didn’t influence me in any way. They were revolutionaries and such are always a minority. It’s the few who initiate change because the majority are invariably satisfied with the status quo.. The rebels were no different.

The other argument, that their actions brought about Partition and prevented the smooth passage to a united, independent Ireland had the Irish Parliamentary Party been allowed to pursue their path to Home Rule, was, in my mind, irrelevant because we don’t know what might have transpired had the Rising not taken place.

Probably the big question that the centenary celebrations pose is how our Ireland of today compares with that envisioned by the rebels. Probably there is no relation. But, what relationship has the U.S. or the Russia of today with the aims and intentions of the Founding Fathers or the Bolshevik Revolutionaries? Or compare the hopes and aspirations of Nelson Mandela with the mess that President Zuma has made twenty odd years after the fall of the Apartheid regime? No revolt lives up to the expectations of the revolutionaries.

The men of 1916 said nothing about the type of Ireland they envisioned. The Proclamation summoned all Irish men and women to the flag of the Irish Republic to strike for freedom from the British. It demanded the ownership of the country for the Irish and the allegiance of all Irish men and women and it placed their effort under the protection of the most High God.

The Democratic Program was a later attempt to provide an economic and social vision of an independent Ireland, The rebels were concerned with getting rid of the British and their concentration on this subsumed all thought of the type of Ireland they envisioned.

In last analysis the Rising started another process, which included the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Economic War, The Program of Economic Expansion and E.E.C. membership and which brought us to the state we in at today. The men who led it were idealistic and self-sacrificing and deserve to be remembered and honoured, whatever about being imitated.


<span class="postTitle">Tom Lambe (1918-2016)</span> Appreciation, Nenagh Guardian, Dec 2016

Tom Lambe (1918-2016)

Appreciation, Nenagh Guardian, Dec 2016

The death last week of Tom Lambe severs another link with the great Lorrha senior hurling team of 1948 that won the North divisional title that year before going down to Holycross-Ballycahill in the county final.

My earliest memory of the man goes back to a summer's day in 1948 or 1949 when I was bringing home a load of turf from Redwood bog.  I had a full load of black, stone turf and I was sitting on the top of the creel driving the horse and following my father who was on the front load.  As we were passing Lambe's, or Bill Kennedy's house as it was still called, Tom came out and stopped us.  He had a hurley in his hand and handed it up to me: 'Take that, it should suit you', he said, or something to that effect.

It was the first decent hurley stick I ever had.  It made a strong impression on me because I can recall the occasion nearly seventy years later as vividly as on the day.  I can see us stopping, Tom coming out and reaching the hurley up to me.  I don't remember what went before or after, the filling of the load in the bog or throwing it into the shed later.  It was a special moment in my life and the sun was shining also.

I suppose it wasn't only the hurl that made the occasion special but the man from whom it came.  Tom was a special player on that Lorrha team that won the county intermediate title of 1946 and was regraded senior.
Promising at an Early Age
According to Eugene O'Meara, who was a few years younger than Tom and attended Lorrha school, Tom was the star hurler in the parish as a juvenile. He was head and shoulders over all around him and dominated the middle of the field. There were no interclub juvenile competitions at the time and Lorrha didn't enter a minor competition until 1941. The result was that Tom had no platform outside the parish to show off his hurling skills.
Tom went to primary school at Redwood Castle, where the school was located at that time and his passing sees the last of the pupils of that school to die. The school was abandoned in 1926 for a new one at Kilmurray, which was situated halfway between the Castle and the current school.
He remembered the teachers as being fond of the stick but hurling made him forget the worst aspects of life as a schoolboy. There was a bit of a field in the front of the school where the boys played at lunch time and after school as well. They organised games among themselves. Tom remembers the great amount of talent at the time with the Sullivans, Kennedys, Brownes, Lambs and Guinans. They had no difficulty getting a team together. Major (He wasn't a real major but given the title because of his fine physique) Sammon, a farmer up the road, who had much more interest in hurling than in farming, used to come to the school to referee their games. Games were also organised with the other schools in the parish and played on a Sunday afternoon. Tom recalls that they beat Rathcabbin and Lorrha schools for three years running. They had to negotiate a venue for the games with some farmer, usually halfway between the schools. Paddy Sullivan's field in the Lordspark was a venue for one of the games with Rathcabbin. They had no jerseys to wear and used a variety of hurleys, from crooked stick to the real thing.
Also an Athlete
Tom was a noted athlete as well. Like many in those years he took up cross-country running during the winter. There’s a lovely picture of him with the Lorrha cross-country team that became the county champions in 1944. He was lean and fit and remained so to the end of his life. When he turned 90 years he complained to me that he had pains in his legs and when I said to him that he shouldn’t expect anything else at his age, he didn’t agree. He was always fit and agile and saw to reason why he shouldn’t continue so.

Tom played senior hurling with Lorrha from 1938 to 1951. Ironically he got a call-up for the county trial the same year and went to Ennis for a match against Clare, but was never called off the bench. Seven-a-Side tournaments were all the rage during his hurling years and he was always an automatic choice on the Lorrha side.

As well as being a good hurler, Tom had a high level of fitness that resulted from life on the farm but also a life style that excluded smoking and drinking. He was always lean and hard, a formidable opponent and a courageous player, who stood back from nothing.

Tom was one of the 1948 team to live to a great age. Tony Reddin passed away in March 2015 at 96 years. Billy Hogan will be 94 next birthday. Eugene O’Meara will be 95 next year and the oldest of them all, Michael O’Meara, will reach the century the next birthday he celebrates!


<span class="postTitle">Martin O'Dwyer (Bob) 1937-2015</span> The Nationalist, May 20, 2015

Martin O'Dwyer (Bob) 1937-2015

The Nationalist, May 20, 2015


The recent death of Martin O'Dwyer (Bob) saw the passing of a man who did more than most to preserve and pass on to posterity the rich cultural and historical heritage of Cashel and County Tipperary. Martin was a man of great curiosity about the past and he was forever extending his knowledge. This took the form of collecting artifacts and collating information through conversations and interviews with people, who still retained a knowledge of the way life was lived and the way things were done in earlier times.

Probably the greatest monument to his curiosity and to his desire to preserve the past was the development of Cashel Folk Village in Dominic Street since 1984. This has become an important visitor centre in the county and a must-see attraction for visitors to Cashel. It has received glowing notices from the Public Sector Magazine, TV3 in Unravel Travel in Tipperary and Tripadvisor.

Housed in a building which has an history stretching back 400 years, it contains mostly original material relating to the history of Ireland in the twentieth century including the original Croke Memorial, which once stood on the Main Street of Cashel, and authentic Tinkers/Gypsy Caravan, a fully equipped Blacksmith's Forge, and a Brougham Carriage. As well the village includes an Irish Famine Museum and a Penal Chapel.  Among the countless and original artifacts is a very rare and authentic Blueshirt Uniform.

However, its unique feature and one of which Martin was tremendously proud was the fact that it included a combined Easter Rising 1916-Irish War of Independence-Irish Civil War museum, with particular association to Tipperary involvement, the only one of its kind in the country. In  more recent years Martin erected in the Folk Village an Easter Rising Memorial Plaza and a Garden of Remembrance commemorating the 16 executed leaders of the 1916 Rebellion.

Restoring the Past

Martin was the co-founder and later chairman of Cashel Arts and Heritage Society and this gave him great scope to develop his interest in the past as well as affording him opportunities to enable people to be more aware of their heritage through its protection and restoration.
One of the first projects the Society took on was the restoration of the Bothán Scoir, a seventeenth century labourer's cottage on the Clonmel Road. This single-storey house, built circa 1650, had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of being lost to Cashel's architectural history. It was lovingly restored and is now in use as a museum.

Opposite the Bothán Scoir was another part of Cashel's heritage that was also in danger of disappearing, the Gouts Pool. To many this was nothing more than a watering hole for horses bringing people into Cashel during past times. In fact it had much greater cultural and historical significance. It was used in the past as a 'ducking pond', into which petty criminals and misbehaving women were plunged as punishment for their crimes. The Corporation had, in fact, an official 'Ducker' to carry out the punishment. The offender was paraded through the streets and this was to cause public embarrassment and social disgrace to the victim.  Martin and the Society rescued  the Gouts Pool from obscurity. Lately it was decided to incorporate elements of St. Declan's Way, a medieval and trade route from Ardmore to Cashel, in a revamp of the place.
Probably the greatest project undertaken by the Society was the renewal of St. Mark's Famine Graveyard on the Clonmel Road and the erection of plaques on a commemorative wall, giving the name, age and date of death of every man, woman and child from St. Patrick's Hospital, who was buried anonymously in the graveyard, numbering close to 1,000 names in total. The narrative has it that any unclaimed dead person was carted from the hospital to the graveyard and buried unceremoniously in mass graves. The names of these people have now been rescued and have the consolation of an annual mass said in their honour.

Other significant projects undertaken by Cashel Arts and Heritage Society were  highlighting the town walls and inititiating some restoration work, restoring the Kinane Fountain at Lowergate Square and indexing the Parish Records.

Imprerssive Canon of Written Work

In later years Martin added significantly to his heritage involvement by the production of an impressive canon of written work that involved him in extensive and painstaking research.
In 1999 he wrote A Biographical Dictionary of Tipperary, 'a collection of concise biographies of famous and noteworthy deceased people from Co. Tipperary.' It contains over 2000 entries and is a valuable font of knowledge and 'a milestone in honouring those who make up Co. Tipperary's colourful heritage.'

Next in 2000 he produced Cashel Memories, a collection of journalistic pieces on Cashel in the 19th Century written by distinguished native, Francis Phillips (1872-1968). This series threw significant light on the social, cultural and political life of Cashel during the period.
This was followed by Tipperary's Sons and Daughters 1916-1923, an account of Tipperary people, who distinguished themselves during Ireland's War of Independence.

In 2004 Martin published A Pictorial History of Tipperary 1916-1923. This was a 'tribute to our heroes and their fight for Irish Independence.' It is an impressive photographic record of the people involved during the period and a tribute to Martin's ability to source all kinds of visual material.

His next book, Seventy Seven of Mine Said Ireland, which appeared in 2006, was a tribute to the 77 men, who were executed during the Civil War. As well as being a compilation of existing tributes Martin made an important contribution by gaining access to personal diaries and notes. Also the account includes pictures of most of the executed.

In 2007 came Brigadier Dinny Lacey (1890-1923) by the men who knew him. An extensive production of over 300 pages, it gives a very  full picture of the short life of the Tipperary patriot.
Martin published Death before Dishonour, an account of the 124 men killed by the Free State between August 1922 and December 1923 in 2010. This second book on the Civil War deals with the wayside murders: 'It vividly recalls the lives of forgotten volunteers and sheds light on the attempt to cover up the actions of the former comrades.'

His final book, The Pauper Priest – the Story of Fr. John Barry, which appeared in 2011 was the re-publication of a work that had first appeared in 1890. Born in Bohermore Parish, Co. Limerick in 1841, John Barry was ordained in 1866 and eventually sought to alleviate the plight of the poor in the Irish Workhouse system. He fell out of favour with the authorities, both lay and clerical, and eventually died in Cashel Workhouse in 1920 at the age of 79 years. His book is probably 'the most trenchant account we have from an inmate's perspective of Victorian workhouse conditions.'

Pamphlets and Videos

Martin O'Dwyer also produced a range of pamphlets and videos on many aspects of Irish heritage.

He immersed himself in folklore and became an authority on ancient customs. He was well informed on Holy Wells, Penal Crosses and Passion Symbols.

His research included work on Bill Shanahan, the outstanding all-round athlete. He was involved in a project in Dublin which included the erection of a plaque to Phil Shanahan, T.D. in the First Dail.. He did an intense study of Larry Carew, the wheelwright and carpenter.

He was fully involved in 1995 when the pageant, An Gorta Mór, was produced in Halla na Feile to mark the 150th anniversary of the Great Famine.

He was always available to groups and organisations to give talks on different aspects of Irish culture and society and to share his vast knowledge of the subject. On such occasions he was always open and curious for more knowledge from his listeners. He was ever generous with his knowledge to other people researching different aspects of Irish history and culture.

Martin O'Dwyer's conribution to our knowledge of Tipperary is immense. He has been one of the foremost contributors to our store of historical data and the range of that data is extraordinary. His efforts in extending our knowledge of our county and country is worthy of the highest commendation. He is to be admired for the originality of his research which was achieved by painstaking interviewing of many people and a thorough examination of material sources.
Away from his interests in history and heritage, Martin had committed involvement in Cashel Social Services and was a regular helper with the Meals on Wheels service.

Martin O'Dwyer, who was born on October 7, 1937, passed away on March 7, 2015.  Pre-deceased by his wife, Agnes, and by sons, Shannon and Martin (Jr), he is survived by his four children, Tracey, Billie, Sally and Danny. 

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.



<span class="postTitle">Eileen Bell Remembered</span> The Nationalist, February 26, 2015

Eileen Bell Remembered

The Nationalist, February 26, 2015


The untimely death of Eileen Bell on January 20, 2015 was met with much sadness. For many years Eileen was part of the 'Nationalist' family as New Inn correspondent. She was also a regular contributor to Tipp Mid-West Radio ov er a number of yeasrs. She started on Cashel and District Radio in February 2002 and conti nued on Tipperary Mid-West, when the two stations were amalgamated in 2007.

During that period Eileen's New Inn report on the radio was a fixture on the program and she often prefaced her contribution by stating that she didn't have much to say. Nevertheless, she always succeeded in mentioning five or six items relating to the parish and keeping the parishioners up to date. She never failed to mention the cards in Knockgraffon on a Wednesday night!

There was no more fitting person than Eileen to report on New Inn. Even though she wasn't a native of the parish she became very much a part of it following her marriage to Gerry in 1968.
This identification with her adopted place was given fine expression in 1987, when she published her first book, Around New Inn & Knockgraffon. She was modest about her achievement. In a Foreword she stated: 'Much of the information is hearsay and is therefore open to contradiction.'
However, Fr. Meehan, P.P. who introduced the publication, differed. He wrote: 'The people of this community should be forever grateful to Eileen Bell for this monumental work involving over three years of careful research from all available sources. It was indeed a labour of love for Eileen.'
The book brings together a wealth of information on the history of the parish, illustrated by a great selection of photographs, the compiling of which must have been painstaking in the extreme. While the text tells us much on the history of places this collection reveals to us the faces of the people who lived there.

Eileen sourced information on many of the famous people who came from New Inn. Dorothea Herbert of Glebe House is featured and her unrequited love of Rockwell owner, John Roe. World high jump champion of 1895, James M. Ryan of Ballyslateen appears in a handsome picture. Dan Breen's on-the-run sojourn in Glenegat House is mentioned and Pat Cleary, of early G.A.A. prominence, is outlined.

The book did more than anyone to highlight the success of Lena Rice, who was born on the 21st June 1866 at Marlhill and went on to become ladies singles champion at Wimbledon in 1890! As far as I can recall from the time of the book's publication, Eileen told me tha she had got some of the information on Rice from Wimbledon at the time but that she also supplied information to the All-England Tennis Club which they hadn't got. This illustrates Eileen's research interest and her desire to have the complete story. It is probably true to say that as a result of her researches into the importance of Rice's achievements, the first and only Irish woman to win a championship at Wimbledon, the direction sign to her grave was erected in the village.

Eileen updated the book in 2003 because she was 'inundated with requests to do a follow-up', but also because she had collected further information on the parish, in particular 'the Halloran story'.

Before touching on this one paragraph in the introduction tells us much about Eileen's love of the place. She writes:

'To many people the name, New Inn, means nothing. For those born and reared in the parish, wherever they may be today, New Inn is very special. To them it means home and in the words of the famous song 'There's No Place Like Home'. Certainly there is no place like this peaceful parish which is bursting with history. Down through the years the parishes of New Inn and Knockgraffon combined have produced a variety of famous people in many different walks of life. Over the years the parish has grown into a thriving, mature and peaceful place, ideal for parents to raise children in these difficult and troubled times.'

The new history that had come to light in the intervening years was the story of the Halloran family. In 1862 Gustave Thiebault, the landlord at Rockwell, was murdered and three sons of an evicted tenant, Patrick Halloran of Boytonrath, were arrested for his murder. They were acquitted in court  but the three brothers, Edmund, John and Thomas, emigrated to the U.S. and nothing was heard of them for 125 years.

In 1961 the first contact was made by a decendant regarding the brothers and this culminated in 1987, when a party of 38 of the Halloran clan, mainly from Minnesota, came to Ireland to visit their ancestral home in Boytonrath. They were feted at New Inn and Eileen took a great interest in the story and facilitated the visit.

Eileen published a third book in 2008:  Rosegreen: Then & Now. She did for the village and surrounding area what she had earlier done for New Inn. She had a real connection to the place having been born in the lodge at Ballydoyle, where her father worked in the forties before moving to Cashel. The book is notable for some wonderful photographs, including one of her parents, Pa Joe and Bridget O'Connor with Eileen, about three years old, on her father's knee. 

Along with her books she also did a vast amount of research on the graveyard in Loch Kent when it was being renovated in 1985 under the guidance of Fr. Meehan and Gerry Bell, and she used the old fashioned method of the pencil and paper to trace over old headstones and study them later at home to make out who was buried there. But she didn't stop there. She endeavoured to make contact with living relations where possible and revealed the burial places of many famous parishioners. It all paid off in 1987 when the first Mass was held there in over 200yrs concelebrated by Archbishop Clifford and witnessed by a large congregation.

Eileen's interest and researches into the Halloran and other stories tells us of her passionate love of place and her intense desire to become acquainted with the whole story. This was also reflected in her involvement in community projects in the parish. Whereas her greatest interest was in the G.A.A. and Fianna Fáil, there was always time and space for other activities. If she weren't directly involved she lent her time and interest to helping others out, If it was a sports day or a festival she was one of the first to put her name forward and she inculcated this community involvement into her six children, Fergus, Dessie, Ivan, Sandra, Sherry Ann and Raeleen, who find themselves equally committed to their communities wherever their lives take them.

Eileen Bell was the great volunteer, the first to put her hand up when the community was in need or work required to be done. She set a tremendous example to her family and to the community of New Inn and Knockgraffon and she will be missed greatly by all who have known her.
May she rest in peace.


<span class="postTitle">Sean Gael Awards 2013</span> The Tipperary Star, November 14, 2013

Sean Gael Awards 2013

The Tipperary Star, November 14, 2013


The Sean Gael awards will be presented in the Dome, Semple Stadium on Sunday, November 17. This is the eleventh year of the presentations and thirty-two people, eight from each division, who have given significant service to the Gaelic Athletic Association over their lifetimes, will receive due recognition for their contributions.

The fairness of these awards is that they recognise all kinds of contributions and there is no discrimination in favour of any one kind. The result is that while great hurlers and footballers, administrators and sponsors, prominent personalities and notable clubmen are recognised, so also are people who have contributed in lesser and hidden ways but without whose contributions clubs could not function.

While the ranks of the recipients are predominantly male, there are equal opportunities for females to be given recognition. The predominance of males is a reflection of the way the vast number of G.A.A. clubs were run fifty years ago, when women played a much smaller role that they do today.. It is, therefore, pleasant to include in this year's group of recipients, two women from neighbouring parishes, who have made notable contributions to their clubs.

Notable Women

Mary Kenny of Borrisileigh has been involved in Scór since the early seventies. She participated in set dancing and ballad groups at senior level, winning several North titles. She later organised Scór na nÓg in the club for many years and prepared children for participation in all Scór competitions. She also adjudicated Scór competitions at every level up to and including All-Ireland.

In a different way Tess McGrath of Loughmore-Castleiney is another worthy recipient. She is head of one of the great GAA families in Tipperary and her influence and that of her late husband has contributed in no small way in bringing this about. Their family of five boys and four girls and their families are immersed in every facet of our great association and have been very influential in achieving success at club and on the National stage.

One of the most interesting recipients in this year's list is Micheal O'Meara, who was secretary of the organising committee since the establishment of the awards and who was the presenter-in-chief of the awards every year since them. Micheal's contribution to the G.A.A. has been varied and extensive and he is most deserving of an award.

Standout Hurlers

There are two standout hurlers in this year's list, Tony Wall of Thurles Sarsfields and Peter O'Sullivan of Cashel. Tony had a glorious career with his club and Tipperary, including captaining the latter to All-Ireland glory in 1958. His book on Hurling was ground-breaking at the time, providing an authoritative voice on the various aspects of instruction and training of the game.

And who will ever forget Peter O'Sullivan's defiant performance, when he replaced John O'Donoghue in the 1970 Munster final, which inspired Tipperary to within an inch of success. Unfortunately his fine goalkeeping career was curtailed by a severe works injury in 1972.

Less spectacular but equally important has been the contribution of Bernie Colclough of Inane Rovers. A native of Westmeath, he arrived in Roscrea in 1963 to set up his supermarket business. He soon immersed himself in the fortunes of the Inane Rovers club, acting as coach and selector for many years as well as contributing with other advice and help. His sponsorship has been vital to the club's survival. Equally one might mention Tommy O'Sullivan of Mullinahone, 'who did nearly all his hard work within the club in the background and out of the limelight'.

Handballers as well

Two handballers, Michael 'Boysie' Hogan of Nenagh Eire Og and Paddy Doherty of Carrick-on-Suir are included in this year's list. They add to the variety and diversity of the Gaelic Athletic Association, as do all the recipients in this year's list of awards.

As is customary at these awards, the committee invite a well-known personality to make the presentations. This adds to the prestige of the occasion as well as giving due recognition to the value of the contributions to the G.A.A. made by the recipients. This year's well-known personality with be Micheal Ó Muircheartaigh.

The members of the committee are as follows: chairman – John Costigan, secretary - Seamus J. King, Sean Nugent, Noel Morris, Seamus McCarthy.



<span class="postTitle">10th Anniversary of the Sean Gael Awards</span> The Nationalist, Nov 1, 2012

10th Anniversary of the Sean Gael Awards


The Nationalist, Nov 1, 2012


The tenth presentation of the Sean Gael Awards will take place in the Dome, Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon, November 18. It will occur without much fanfare, lacking any major hype and attracting modest publicity.

But, for the recipients, it will be a very special occasion, a recognition of a lifetime service to the G.A.A. and, for many of them, a belated honour for work done on behalf of the association, much of it unrecognised and, in most cases, poorly rewarded.


John Moloney

The idea of honouring older members of the G.A.A. originated with the late and great, John Moloney, who became aware of how many people, who had given a lifetime of service to the G.A.A., received scant recognition for their efforts. The idea of honouring such people had been working very well in Wexford for years and why not in Tipperary.

The thinking behind the idea was that members of the association, who had reached the age of seventy years, would be honoured in some way by the county board for their lifetime of service.
John was given the go ahead by the county board and he picked his committee to identify the recipients and organise the presentation. It included John himself, who became chairman of the committee, plus Seamus King, Seamus McCarthy and Pat Moroney from the West division,

Michael O'Meara from the South, who became the very efficient secretary of the group, John Costigan from the Mid and Noel Morris from the North.

John Moloney remained chairman until his sudden death in October 2006, when he was succeeded by John Costigan. Since then the committee has six members.



The committee decided to hold the presentations in Brú Ború, Cashel because of the centrality of the venue. It also had the advantage of an excellent tiered auditorium, which was ideal for presentations. However, in the course of time this excellent venue began to reveal one major limitation for older people, accessibility: the steps down from the car park could be a bit trying for people in their seventies and the committee looked around for an alternative. Semple Stadium had been developed in the meantime and the development included the magnificent Dome, which became the new venue for the presentations in 2009. It has been a very popular venue since.

One of the decisions made by the committee at an early stage was to have a distinguished person as guest to make the presentations. This decision was based on the need to give the event an element of prestige as well as recognising the extent of the contribution made to the G.A.A. by the recipients.

The first guest speaker was the former president of the G.A.A, Joe McDonagh, and former Munster Council chairman, Jimmy O'Gorman, will present this year's awards.

The format of the presentation was decided very early on. The event used to have a 6 pm start but now takes place on a Sunday afternoon. The recipients and their family and friends gather together about 3.30 for tea and sandwiches and a get-to-know-you reception. The formalities commence at 4.30 with a number of speeches followed by the presentations which are preceded by a citation on each recipient. The proceedings conclude with a speech by one of the participants.


A Mixture of Stars and Ordinary Members

Since the first presentation in 2003 the list of recipients has included a mixture of famous names as well as players and administrators not well-known outside their clubs. From the beginning the committee decided to recognise 10 people per division. This figure was reduced to 8 in 2008.
The list of recipients in 2003 included such well-knowns as George Pyke of Clonmel Commercials, Dick Cummins of Fethard, Seamus O'Riain of Moneygall, Tony Reddan of Lorrha, Jim O'Donoghue of Arravale Rovers, Monsignor Christopher Lee of Cashel, Mickey Byrne of Thurles Sarsfields and Bob Stakelum of Holycross-Ballycahill. It also included numerous ordinary members of the association, who had given a great part of their lives to keeping clubs going throughout the county and were getting their first recognition on a county stage.

This formula has worked well and has continued in the meantime. Recipients of the honour greatly appreciate the recognition and make their best efforts to be present on the day. Part of the greatness of the occasion is that it brings together as equals, men and women who won the highest honours and achieved the greatest fame in the association as well as more lowly members whose achievements are indeed modest. For all of these people supported the G.A.A. and gave it a lifetime of service in their own particular way. Each person's contribution was important for the health and success of the G.A.A.

The local newspapers have been very generous with their coverage of the Sean Gael Awards. They give advance publicity of who the recipients are going to be and also coverage of the presentation ceremony. The G.A.A. Yearbook also faithfully records each year's recipients. It is only right and fitting that this should be as all the recipients are worthy of such recognition for a lifetime of service to the Gaelic Athletic Association.


The 2012 awards were presented to the following:

Mid: Willie Barneville (Gortnahoe-Glengoole), Michael Murphy (Thurles Sarsfields), Martin Dwan (Drom & Inch), Billy O'Grady (Moyne-Templetuohy), Pat Cullen (Loughmore-Castleiney), Sam Melbourne (Moycarkey-Borris), John Dwyer (Boherlahan-Dualla), Paddy Cooney (Moycarkey-Borris);

West: Paddy Verdon (Solohead), Paul McCarthy (Cappawhite), Paddy O'Sullivan (Cashel/Rosegreen), Tom Buckley (Rockwell Rovers), John Cleary (Tipperary Town), Philip Maher (Clonoulty-Rossmore), John Stapleton (Golden-Kilfeacle), Mike Dawson (Emly);

South: Eddie Ryan (St. Marys), Bertie Sweeney (Fr. Sheehys), Franko Whelan (Ballylooby-Castlegrace), Sean Connolly (Fethard), John O'Neill (St. Marys/Commercials), Dick Goludsboro (Ballingarry), Dick Tobin (Grangemockler-Ballyneale), Patsy Tobin (Carrick-on-Suir);

North: Kevin Moloney (Roscrea), Jimmy Cahill (Borrisokane), John Joe Burke (Ballinahinch), Willie Joe Hogan (Shannon Rovers), Tom Moloughney (Kilruane-MacDonaghs), Pat Cleary (Kildangan), Fr, Seamus Gardiner (Portroe/Borrisokane), John Gleeson (Moneygall).

<span class="postTitle">Meeting of Charter of European Rural Communities</span> The Nationalist, June 30th, 2011

Meeting of Charter of European Rural Communities

The Nationalist, June 30th, 2011


A meeting of the Charter of European Rural Communities takes place in Cashel this weekend, from June 30 – July 4. It's a huge occasion for the town when close to 300 delegates from 26 countries in the European Union will be hosted by local families and Cashel will be the centre of EU affairs for a brief period.

The objective of the Charter is European integration under the motto 'People meet people'. The annual meeting stimulates the members to co-operate in different projects, to organise bliateral exchanges between the members and to arrange small meetings of member communities throughout the year.

The meeting takes place in Cashel for the first time since 1995 when the EU was a much smaller place and the number of delegates and the organisation of the event was a much smaller affair. Cashel people who remember 1995 will recall that it coincided with the bi-centenary of the building of the parish church of St, John the Baptist and the most magnificent spell of weather we ever experienced in the town.

The Charter of European Rural Communities does not make the impact of the Council of Ministers or the European Parliament but attempts to give a voice to the smallest units within the large political union. Since 1989 small rural communities, one from each of the countries of the European Union, have a bond of friendship, which is registered in the so-called 'Charter of European Rural Communities.

The aims of the Charter are high. It seeks to increase European integration by bringing European citizens together to the "Kitchen table". Hence the idea of host families having the delegates in their homes, seeing how they live, what they do, what their thoughts and feelings are like. The aim is to create friendships and closer understandings across political borders and bring the idea of Europe closer to its citizens.

Cashel's Involvement

It's wonderful that Cashel represents Ireland in this distinguished company. It came about simply enough and as a result of good foresight. In May 1989 the Department of Foreign Affairs were looking for a local council to represent Ireland. They wrote to the then town clerk of Cashel U.D.C., David Coleman, inviting the Council to represent Ireland at the inaugural meeting of the European Rural Communes to be held in Cisse, France. The town clerk passed on the request to the chairman of the Council, Mattie Finnerty, who decided to accept the invitation.

Mattie Finnerty and David Coleman attended the inaugural meeting, which was held in the Municipal Offices in Cisse on June 25, 1989. Councillor Finnerty gave an undertaking that Cashel would be part of the proposed Charter. He also planted a tree in the European Park in Cisse to mark the historic meeting.

The Charter has one main meeting, called a network meeting, in the year and a number of smaller meetings. During the annual meeting the mayors of the connected communities decide about which communities will organise the future annual meetings. From each member community a delegation, consisting of a maximum of 10 persons, including the mayor, participates. At least 4 of the delegation should be young people. The network meeting is based on a current theme. There is a special programme for the youth.

By signing the Charter the communities affirm the principle of unity and working together. The members also have the obligation to communicate with each other and to inform each other. The Internet site is used for contact, communication and to publish information (reports of bilateral and small meetings; minutes of the presidium and mayors' meeting, programmes, photos, etc) Every member has an appointed communication officer to maintain mutual contacts. Dr. Neil Gregory is the Cashel communication officer. The English language is the communication language.

The Presidium is a permanent group. It consists of 6 members chosen by the mayors for 4 years. It prepares the Charter policy. The Mayors meeting is organised once a year during the annual network meeting. It is a decision making body.

This Year's Theme

The theme of this year's meeting, The Effects of Demographic Development on the Rural Economy, was proposed by the Irish delegation at last year's network meeting at Strzyzow, Poland. It will be discussed by the delegates at the conference meeting at Brú Ború over the weekend. The youth delegates will hold a separate conference at Halla na Feile.
The themes of earlier meetings give us an idea of the focus of the Charter. In Strzyzow in 2011 Livability in European Rural Communities was discussed. The previous year in Stary Poddvorov it was the Meaning of Primary Schools in Small Communities. In Lefkara in 2008 Participative Democracy was discussed. Energy was the theme is Lassee in 2008. Childcare 0-6 Years occupied the delegates in Cisse in 2006, and Sustainable Agriculture was the theme in Esch in 2005. Interestingly, in Cashel in 1995, the theme was Young People in Europe.

Spring and Other Meetings

There are other meetings of the Charter, such as the spring meetings, when the business of the annual meeting is organised, and a series of bilateral and small meetings. These result from the networking that takes place at the annual meeting and take the form of annual project meetings, conferences and workshops. These attract smaller and greater numbers of members located adjacent to one another.

Councillor Mattie Finnerty, who retired from the Council in 1999, attended many annual and spring meetings of the Charter, visiting 9 countries between 1989-1999. He was accompanied on most of these trips by Cllr. Michael Browne, SF. In 1998 Cashel UDC received the Medal D'Or for its co-operation with and participation in the Charter. This was presented to Cllrs Finnerty and Michael Browne at a special ceremony in Padua, Italy.

Mr. Finnerty wishes to compliment the present members of Cashel Town Council and the organising committee for their efforts in planning the upcoming Charter meeting. He wishes the event well and is looking forward to meeting some of his old friends from across Europe for the first time since 1999.


<span class="postTitle">Wild Duck and Their Pursuit - Douglas Butler (Book Review)</span> The Nationalist, December 9, 2010

Wild Duck and Their Pursuit - Douglas Butler (Book Review)

The Nationalist, December 9, 2010


There are many stimulating books that come one's way but one of the most satisfying to come into my possession for some time has to be Wild Duck and Their Pursuit by Douglas Butler. This lively and informative book looks at the natural history, the populations, the movements and the behaviour of wild duck in order to help the sportsman better to understand his quarry.
What makes this book special is the fact that the author is an enthusiast about his subject. Douglas Butler is a professional zoologist with a particular interest in wildfowl. His liftime interest in the subject began when he shot his first mallard at the age of eight and he has been an avid duck hunter ever since.

In chapter two he tells us everything there is to know about ducks. He is detailed about the difference in male and female plumage. We are taken through their nesting places, the nesting season and the number of eggs. We're also given a profile of the selfish drake who 'takes no part in the tedious business of incubation.' We're informed that there are in excess of 140 species of ducks, geese and swans on earth and the author here, as in other places in the book, gives us a European and American perspective on the subject. Since the duck is meant for eating the author tells us of its performance on the dinner table. He states that as a general rule 'the taste and texture of meat reflects the feeding habit of the animal from which it is obtained. The flesh of herbivores is more palatable than that of carnivores. . . .'

There is a fascinating chapter on 'Residents, Migrants and the Numbers Game' in which the distinction between resident and migrant is addressed and the migratory routes of wildfowl are described. The author emphasises the need for more accurate information on figures for wildfowl. From his experience he harbours 'a deep vein of cynicism when it comes to published figures.'. He is particularly sceptical of figures published on this side of the Atlantic but has considerably more faith in those for North America. The reason he wants accurate information is that 'As a hunter . . . I want to know the size of quarry populations so that I can then make an informed judgement about what is realistic in terms of taking a harvest.'

The author has a chapter highlighting lead poisoning as a mortality factor in wildfowl populations. The problem arises because when shot pellets are fired at a bird, only a tiny number of them hit the target while the rest are dispersed into the environment and those that fall in water may well be ingested by wildfowl. The evidence from America suggests that a considerable number of widfowl die off as a result while in Europe far fewer deaths are recorded. As a result legislation has been introduced in America, England and Scotland against the use of lead in these countries. The author would not agree with this prohibition because 'no one really knows whether the problem of lead poisoning is significant or not.' He is glad there is no such legislation in Ireland.

There's a whole chapter devoted to regulations in place for the shooting of duck. While the Americans have hours during which it is permissible to shoot wildfowl and the number of birds that may be killed in a day, no such restrictions exist in Britain and Ireland. Here, we can shoot ducks throughout the 24 hours. Dusk and dawn are the most favoured periods. 'Indeed it is more or less certain that the greater part of the annual bag is taken at the hour of dusk.'

A number of chapters in the book deal with the activity of shooting. One is on the subject of 'Walking Up Ducks', a term used to describe the shooting of game which the guns themselves have flushed with or without the assistance of dogs. Another deals with 'Flighting', which means lying in wait for the ducks, mainly in the twilight hours, as they go about their business. Here the author brings his lifelong experience to the subject and the chapters teem with information gleaned from long hours over many days and years: 'The man who knows his fowl will have spotted a few feathers washed into the edge or signs that pondweeds have been disturbed. And he will have spent the day in eager anticipation of the good things that may happen at dusk.'
The chapters are peppered with personal experiences across Tipperary and beyond, in England, Scotland, Europe and even further afield, bringing to the reader a wealth of experience gleaned from long hours in the open at dawn and dusk in the depths of winter, in all kinds of weather. Wildfowling is a largely solitary pusuit as the author tells us: 'Whilst all sports have a social element, hunting as much as any other, there are times when, selfishly, I much prefer to be on my own or with a single companion. Evening flight is one such time. Most of my flighting haunts are relatively small and can be adequately covered by a single gun. Since ducks can come in from any angle, sometimes with very little prior warning, it is much easier to be fully relaxed knowing that there is no danger to anyone else when one takes a shot. And, as every hunter knows, we only shoot really well when we are fully relaxed. I am personally very conscious of the fact that when I am shooting in close proximity to another gun, I shoot less well.'
This is the first book for many years to focus exclusively on duck shooting and it will appeal to ornithologists and conservationists, as well as those who shoot duck. Douglas Butler brings to the subject an impressive knowledge that comes not only from his academic background but also from the wisdom gained from a life of field experience. It's an unbeatable combination that has given us an instructive and lively publication.

The book was published by Merlin Unwin Books in September, contains 224 pages with many black and white illustrations most of which were supplied by the author himself. It retails for £20 and is available in most good bookshops.


<span class="postTitle">Mick Bennett (1924-2010)</span> Tipperary Star, April 22, 2010

Mick Bennett (1924-2010)

Tipperary Star, April 22, 2010


Mick Bennett of Rathordan, Cashel passed away on April 1 after a short illness following a car accident. He would have been 86 years of age on April 5, the day after he was buried.

Mick was a big man, who towered over most of us, and he had a personality to fill his huge frame. Tug-of-war was his game as a younger man, about which more later.

Mick, who was one of seven children, was born in Sleaveen, Clonakilty, where he farmed difficult land. There were a lot of hills and slopes on it and it made it unsuitable for tractor work. It was also beside the sea. At some stage he made a decision to sell and buy a replacement farm somewhere else. It could be inside Cork or in any county, he didn't mind.

He bid on a number of places but was unsuccessful. The place he eventually bought in Rathordan, on the Clonmel Road, he had bid for unsuccessfully two years previously. He eventually got it in 1981.

Mick was fifty-eight years of age at the time and it was a big decision to make at that stage in his life. However, because of his determination to leave, it didn't cause such a major wrench in his life.

His Family

The move involved not only himself but also his wife, Eileen (nee Coakley from Dunmanaway), and their five children, Mary, Ger, Eleanor, John and Therina, plus brother Finbarr. The oldest child, Anna, had died from leukemia in 1972. Mick and Eileen had married on November 25, 1963, the very day that President John F. Kennedy was buried. (Eileen passed away three years ago.)

Prior to coming to Cashel Mick had taken part in the sport of tug-a-war. Not for him the games of hurling and football but, from an early age, pulling the rope was part of his life. He was the perfect speciman of a man to anchor a tug-of-war team He continued in the sport until he was nearly fifty years of age. His son, Ger, remembers as a kid being bundled into a lorry to travel to some championship or tournament.


Mick obviously excelled in the sport and won four All-Irelands with Killbree in the 120 stone catagory between 1963-1966. There are eight members on a team and a game consists of three pulls. In order to win a team must pull the opposing side the distance of four meters.

On one occasion at a tournament in Tipperary Town Mick's team was defeated by a side that included many McCormacks of hurling fame from the Kickhams club. What was memorable about this contest was the length of time it took for one pull in the three-pull match, one and a quarter hours to pull the opposing side the equivalent of four metres!

Mick was well past his tug-of-war best by the time he came to live in Cashel. The farm he bought had been a stud farm and there was quite an amount of work converting it to a dairy spread. He was well received by the neighbours and soon established good relations with Jim Devitt and Dan Grogan, among others. Tom Horan, who came into the area in 1987 recalls being welcomed by Mick soon after arriving, a Cork man welcoming a Tipperary man to a part of Tipperary!

Sociable and Friendly

That kind of gesture was the essence of the man. Mick was a most sociable and friendly man and as helpful a neighbour you could wish to have down the road. He just loved meeting people and this desire took him to all kinds of meeting places, fairs, hurling and football matches, funerals, or just travelling around the country.

He had friends all over the country, not only Cork friends in Cork, but Tipperary friends in remote parts of Tipperary, Wexford friends, Waterford friends. Tom Horan recalls when he was canvassing for Michael Slattery for NFA office, Mick came along to Cork and other places to give them the lie of the land and the people to call on. He had contacts everywhere.

Mick was always a Cork man and a great supporter of Cork hurling and football. He was extremely well-informed on new players breaking on to the scene. His gospel was 'De Paper', which he bought daily and read from cover to cover. He always started at the back with the deaths, continued into sport and eventually got to the news.

Attending Matches

He was an inveterate attender at hurling and football matches of all descriptions. It is estimated he attended four or five games a week during the summer time. A match couldn't be bad enough for him to attend! It wasn't only the game he enjoyed, surveying the skills on display with a trained eye, but the camaraderie and sociability of the occasion.

In his moving address at the funeral Mass in Rosegreen Church, Fr. Jim Purcell, spoke of Mick's love of travel and his legendary knowledge of places, far and wide: 'Mick has been described as the original 'Sat Nav' - - - he loved to travel, and only last weekend he made the regular pilgrimage to his roots, completing the journey by stopping off with Mary in Middleton. As said, he lived in his car, the Vento'.

Mick had strong religious beliefs and the practice of his religion was as important as eating his dinner. He may have been disturbed with the recent developments in the Church but they didn't weaken his faith one jot.

Mick made his mark on life, whether pulling the rope with his tug-of-war team, farming in Cork and Tipperary, raising his family, being a good neighbour and bringing joy and fellowship to all he met. It was a privilege to have known him.


<span class="postTitle">Patrick Darcy</span> The Nationalist, February 18, 2010

Patrick Darcy

The Nationalist, February 18, 2010



Patrick Darcy may be slowing down on the legs but he's still very sprightly mentally. In fact for a man in his ninetieth year, having been born on February 12, 1920, he has a wonderful memory that can stretch back over the nine decades.

He remembers going to his first match at Thurles in 1928 at the age of eight years. Clare beat Tipperary that day but he remembers the treat he got from his father, a bar of 'Half-Time, Jimmy' which was made by Urneys at the time. His father and the 'Bear' Parsons retired to Mickey Bowe's pub for a couple of pints and they brought out the chocolate to Patrick, his brother, Danny, and Johnny Parsons.

Another long memory goes back to 1931 and the first minor hurling championship in the West. Cashel beat Arravale Rovers, Clonoulty and Annacarty along the way. Patrick, who came on as a sub in the final at the age of eleven years, believes the game was played at Cooper's field at Killenure. He is still bitter at the failure of the board to provide medals for the winners.

A Handy Hurler

Patrick must have been a handy hurler to get his place on the team so young and could have played minor for another seven years. Cashel minors didn't have much success in the following years and lost a number of matches because of overage players. There is a reference to a juvenile league in 1933 in which Cashel beat Fethard but lost the game beause of illegal players. Patrick was on the team. He does remember playing with the C.B.S. and beating Templemore C.B.S. but losing to Thurles in the final. As well as hurling they used to do gymnastics in the school and they put on a display in the hurling field once a year.

His hurling was curtailed when he emigrated to England in 1936 at the age of sixteen years. He was to remain there until the war broke out in 1939, when he returned to Cashel. He worked on the buildings and had his first drink there. Later in life he used to enjoy a drink in Lonergan's on a Monday night in the company of the 'Dasher' Lonergan.

When he returned from England in 1939 he resumed hurling and played junior for a number of years. He recalls the setting up of the Abbey Rangers in 1940 and believes the reason they broke from the Cashel King Cormac's was a perception among some players that they weren't getting a fair crack of the whip in team selection.

Divisional Senior Medals

Patrick was on the Cashel senior team that won the west final in 1945. He played in the full-forward line with Michael Burke and Charlie Power. They beat Kickhams by 4-5 to 1-3 in the final on a day when Jim and Pat Devitt were in sparkling form. They lost the county semi-final at Thurles to Roscrea. The only survivors of that team are Patrick and Jackie Corcoran.

The hurling field in these years was on the Ardmayle Road and Patrick believes the team was trained for one of the finals by Arthur Donnelly's brother from Boherlahan. They used to puck the ball about and have sprinting and running during these training sessions.

Patrick won his second senior divisional medal in 1948 when Cashel again beat Kickhams in the final. On this occasion the match was much closer. Kickhams led by four points at half-time but Cashel fought back to win by two points on a scoreline of 3-6 to 3-4. They lost by a point to Lorrha in the county semi-final. Again there are only two survivors of this team, Patrick and Jackie Corcoran.

He continued to play for Cashel for the next three years, losing to Kickhams every year, twice in finals and once in a semi-final. In January 1952 he emigrated once again to England and remained there until 1956. During his time in England he didn't play hurling.

Returning to Cashel he worked with the contractor, Paddy Murphy of Bohermore, and was involved in the building of the tower in Rockwell College. He used to walk to work there and had to be on the job at eight o'clock.

Board of Works

He went back to England once again for a couple of years in the sixties and when he returned he was involved in the building of the Cashel Motor Inn late in the same decade. He continued to work for local contractors until he joined the Board of Works in 1974 and he remained with them until he retired in 1986.

Today as he reminisces on his long existence he can look back on a life of variety that spans nine decades with a high level of satisfaction in the knowledge that he has enoyed a greater slice of life than many of his fellow men.


<span class="postTitle">Through Memories Haze - by Gerry Slevin</span> The Nationalist, December 24th, 2009

Through Memories Haze - by Gerry Slevin

The Nationalist, December 24th, 2009


Whenever Borris went low, Reddin responded, inspiring those around him with such confident control. He was simply unbeatable that afternoon. As his great friend and solid defender in front of him in the Tipp colours, Mickey 'Rattler' Byrne, recalled in Frank Burke's magnificent 'Blue and Gold' CD/video 'he'd (Reddin) stop caraway seeds.'

The score at half-time was 3-3 to 0-7 and at full time it was 4-8 to 0-18. It refers to the North final between Lorrha and Borrisoleigh in 1956 and it's taken from Gerry Slevin's latest book in a chapter entitled 'A Tale of Two Goalkeepers', the second being Pat McLoughney.

This book of G.A.A. memories started out as a series of articles for The Guardian in the early months of 2007. They were based on memories gleaned in over four decades of writing in G.A.A. journalism, mostly hurling, first in The Midland Tribune in Birr, then in The Offaly Independent in Tullamore, next in The Guardian, then on to The Clare Champion in Ennis and then back home to Nenagh as Editor of The Guardian in 1989, a position he retired from in 2004 but to which he continues to contribute articles and reports on a regular basis.

The 2007 articles stretched over twenty-one weeks and when he came to put them together in book form they were revised and extended, in fact many of them re-written. Indeed, the process managed to unearth several more memories not included in the original series but fleshed out for inclusion in the book.

Borrisokane Abú!

The first memory in chapter 1 deals with one of the finest hours in Borrisokane hurling, which is but right and fitting since it is Gerry's native place. Borrisokane hadn't much success at senior grade, a single North title in 1933, but a conjunction of outstanding talent in that year, that included Sonny Fogarty, Tom McGarry, Ronnie Slevin and Mackey McKenna, among others, got them to the county semi-final against the famed Thurles Sarsfields. It took a Larry Keane goal in the dying minutes to rescue a draw for the Thurles men. Gerry describes the scene:

'A stunned silence pervaded the arena and the relief on the faces of the Thurles men and their supporters could hardly have found a starker contrast in the bewilderment that the Borris players and those of us looking on experienced. So near and yet so far hardly summed it up. It was more, much more than that because even though the Borris performance was such as to raise the pride of all of us, deep down, and probably in the players most of all, was the nagging feeling that second chances against teams of Sarsfields' calibre seldon bear the desired fruit.' And so it turned out to be the case with Sarsfields winning the replay on a scoreline of 7-9 to 3-4, which did scant justice to the Borris performance.

He describes his first trip to Croke Park on September 4th, 1949 and 'no matter how often I have been there, the experience neither has nor will ever compare with that.'

'And what a day it was for Tipperary hurling! The minors, led by John O'Grady, who would later become a G.A.A. columnist with the Tipperary Star, a position he still holds, captained the side to victory over Kilkenny. Just as the day coincided with the first issue of The Sunday Press, so too was it the first time the Irish Press Cup was presented for the All-Ireland minor championship.

'Laois were captained in the senior final by Paddy Rustchitzko, son of a Polish father and a Kilkenny mother. Oddly enough, Rusty, as he was familiarly called was also a man I would come to know in later years in a different context. Paddy was a fine singer and he took the lead in musicals which I attended when staged in Mountrath and Portlaoise. The White Horse Inn with Paddy singing Goodbye, the number made famous by Josef Locke, is well remembered.'

A Family Divided!

There's a fascinating chapter entitled 'A Family Divided' and the family in question is his own and it was divided in its hurling loyalty. As a result of having worked in Offaly and Clare, members of his family grew up supporting teams other that Tipperary. He recalls his experience in 1997:

'With family members still residing in Clare, visits there were quite frequent. I remember the first day I headed into Madden's Terrace in Clarecastle as the All-Ireland final build-up was starting and seeing all the flags and bunting displayed. As the area from which Clare team captain, Anthony Daly, originated and whose mother still lived there it was only to be expected that the residents of Madden's Terrace would pull out all the stops in tribute to one of their own. Madden's Terrace was indeed a veritable sea of colour, saffron and blue favours billowing in the gentle late August breeze. Most impressive it was and a clear indication of how wound up its residents were and how they felt about the up-coming final.

'I reached No 15 and out of an upstairs window a Clare flag took its place amid all the others. My daughter Niamh's house!!!

'Right next door to Mrs. Daly she lived. I stopped, I stared, and I shook my head. What could I say or do! She was entitled to make up her own mind as to whom she should support. After all she had spent almost twenty years in Clare. Clare had become her home, her county and probably always would be. But, boy! Was it hard to take! I couldn't force her to support Tipp or even appeal to what I might consider to be her better judgement. If I did she could come back at me and tell me she wasn't a native of Tipp either. True, she was born in Offaly and reneged on her native county two years earlier!'

Camogie Success

Gerry has always supported camogie ˆ I think it was he made the statement: Hurling is a beautiful game when played by women ˆ and one of the chapters is devoted to Tipperary's belated breakthrough to All-Ireland honours in 1999: 'So many Tipp players became household names, their contribution to the camogie scene with their distinctive style of play being something of a catalyst for the leap forward the game has taken this century. They won over a huge audience and it was great to see coach loads of young, enthusiastic supporters ferried to Croke Park on All-Ireland final days from all over the county.

'Camogie success arrived late in Tipperary but when it did it came with trumpet blast.'

There is much more in this collection of memories and the book is a wonderful tribute to the author.

He is generous in his appreciation of all those who have played for club and county and each chapter is an entity in its own right while contributing to the overall enjoyment of the book.

While bringing us his memories he is supporting the Tipperary Supporters Club because the proceeds of the book will go to the club after publication costs.

The book ws launched in the Yanks Bar, Main Street, Borrisokane by Marty Morrissey on November 27, 2008 and retails for €20. It's available in most bookshops in the county.

<span class="postTitle">Historic Croke Cup Remembered</span> The Nationalist, May 16th, 2009

Historic Croke Cup Remembered

The Nationalist, May 16th, 2009


The members of Cashel C.B.S. team, who won the Croke Cup for the first time in 1959, came together last weekend to celebrate the historic win against Thurles C.B.S. on May 6, 1959.

The Croke Cup competition was the first Tipperary post primary hurling competition for Christian Brothers Schools. It started in 1933 and catered for under-16 players.

The competition was dominated by Thurles C.B.S. and to a lesser extent by Nenagh C.B.S. during the early years. The Abbey School in Tipperary made a breakthrough in 1952 and won it again in 1955 and 1957. Cashel tasted their first success in 1959 and have won it eight times in all.

There have been a few changes in the competition down the years. It catered for players up to sixteen and a half years for a short period of time. In 1980 it was opened up to all post-primary schools in the county and about ten years ago the age qualification was reduced to under-15.

Prestigious Competition

The Croke Cup was the most prestigious schools' hurling competition in the county, after the Harty Cup, until the inauguration of the Fitzgerald Cup in 1971. The winning teams received a very fine trophy, which was a replica of the Ardagh Chalice.

Cashel lost out to Thurles C.B.S. in the 1958 final on a scoreline, 5-5 to 2-6, very similar, only in reverse order, to that when they won in 1959. The defeated side was as follows: Michael Fogarty, Jimmy Hickey. John Joe Moloney, Donal O'Dwyer, John O'Brien, Tommy Kelly, Billy Eakins, Albert McGovern, Jerry Purcell, Philip Maher, Tom Breen, Davy Ryan, Liam Hyland, Jimmy Davin, John Darmody. Before the final the Cashel C.B.S. Flageolet Band rendered the National Anthem and impressed all with their fine playing of Irish airs during the interval.

The report of the 1959 final that appeared in the 'Nationalist' was very brief, and even briefer in the 'Tipperary Star'. Maybe it was because Thurles were beaten!

According to the report Cashel led up to the fortieth minute, when Thurles drew level 'and looked as if they were going to add another trophy to their already imposing list.'

McGovern Outstanding

That was not to be for, at that vital stage, the Cashel boys rallied under their inspiring captain, Albert McGovern, who played a great game from start to finish.

'Picking up neatly within range of the Thurles goal, he judged accurately and sent the ball soaring gracefully over the bar to return the lead to his side.'

This was the turning point of the game. Soon after Albert was again to the fore, finishing off a great movement to the Thurles net. In the closing stages Cashel added two more points for a comprehensive win of 5-3 to 2-4.

The winning panel was as follows: Jimmy O'Sullivan (R.I.P.), Paddy Purtill, Jimmy Hickey, Paddy O'Leary, Philip Maher, Davy Ryan, John McGrath, Liam Hyland (1-0), Michael Fogarty, John Murphy (R.I.P.), Albert McGovern (capt.), 3-2, John Scott (0-1), John Darmody, Michael Purtill (1-0), Brian Sheridan, Tom Breen, Jimmy Wardick, Mickey O'Sullivan, Denis Ryan, Liam Fennell.

For the official photograph of the team, taken on the steps of the entrance to the C.B.S., the team wore the jerseys of the Cashel King Cormac's. Apparently there weren't enough jerseys in the C.B.S. set for the full panel. In the photograph of the seventeen taken the day of the match, the players are wearing the C.B.S. jerseys of green and gold. The trainer was Rev. Brother Boland, who didn't appear in the picture either.

The celebrations on the occasion were of a modest nature, a few bottles of Cidona and some biscuits supplied by team supporters Michael Davitt and John Joe Grogan.

The celebrations last weekend were of a more substantial kind with a dinner in the Cashel Palace Hotel, some stronger refreshments and a photograph on the steps of the old C.B.S., where they all posed proudly fifty years ago.



<span class="postTitle">South Tipperary G.A.A. 1907-2007 - A History of the South Board</span> The Nationalist, January 26th, 2008

South Tipperary G.A.A. 1907-2007 - A History of the South Board

The Nationalist, January 26th, 2008


The South Board of the G.A.A. celebrated its centenary during 2007. The Commemorative Committee organised numerous  activities during the year recognising the achievements of the board in many  areas as well a honouring a huge number of individuals who had contributed to  the board's success since its foundation. Probably the most permanent  achievement of the committee was the decision to have a history of the board  written and to have chosen for the task, Micheal O'Meara, a man associated  with the board over many decades, and currently its President. When many of  the centenary events of 2007 have passed into memory, South Tipperary  G.A.A. 1907-2007 will remain a permanent  record and a masterful achievement.
The history is dedicated to  the memory of all players, administrators, officials and supporters, who have  contributed to one hundred years of Gaelic Games under the auspices of South  Tipperary Board G.A.A. since its foundation on June 8, 2007. It stretches to  almost eight hundred pages, divided into thirty-one chapters.
The first chapter covers the  period before the setting-up of the board and has the catchy title 'From  Hayes's Hotel to Ryan's Hotel' What was to be the South Division was well  represented at Hayes's Hotel with Maurice Davin and Joseph P. Ryan from  Carrick-on-Suir numbered among the founding seven. One of the most  distinguished G.A.A. officials from this period was Dick Cummins, of Fethard,  the first chairman of the Munster Council in 1901 who, together with his son  of the same name, straddle the whole period from the foundation of the G.A.A.  until the death of the latter in the South Centenary Year. Some longevity and some service!
There was one major  controversy during this period, the row between the All-Ireland champions of  1900, Clonmel Shamrocks, and the Central Council over the non-payment of  expenses to the club for the All-Ireland. The club got a court decree against  G.A.A. secretary, Luke O'Toole for £7.0s.10d and had his personal property  seized in lieu of that amount. Central Council gave the club the option of apologising for their action and paying half the legal costs or being  suspended. The club chose the latter and were suspended for life, but the  Central Council relented later and the suspension was lifted in 1905 to end a  conflict of almost two years' duration.

Ryan's Hotel

The County  Tipperary annual convention of 1907 decided to divide the county into three  division and set up sub-committees in each division to run the championships.  Each division would send one delegate to the county board and the officers of  the latter were: chairman, Frank Moloney, Nenagh, secretary, Martin Brennan,  Ballingarry and treasurer, Mikey Maher, Tubberadora. Brennan had been  secretary of the county board since 1899 and a former member of the Munster  and Central Councils. He was one of those who attended the foundation meeting  of the South Board at Ryan's Hotel, College Street, Clonmel on June 8, 2007  and he was to be first secretary of the newly-formed board.
Ryan's Hotel  (today McCarthy's) had a strong G.A.A. connection. Its proprietor, Martin  Ryan, came from a well-known G.A.A. family. He was uncle of Sean Ryan, who  became president of the Association in 1928, and was for many years legal  adviser and confidant of many of its leading figures. Another nephew was Tommy  Ryan, who was secretary of the South Board from 1918 to 1930. Martin Ryan himself was a native of Kilshane, who came to Clonmel at an early age, was a  member of Clonmel Corporation from 1902-1914. He died in September 1930 and is  buried at Bansha.
The historic date  attracted an impressive aray of G.A.A officials, representative of the clubs within the new division, to the foundation meeting. The officers elected were  chairman/president, James Meehan, a Labour Councillor on Clonmel Corporation,  Robert Quane, one of the greats of gaelic football from Tipperary Town, and  the above-mentioned Martin Brennan.
All of this  matter is dealt with in chapter 2, which the author calls 'The Grangemockler  Era'. Over the course of the next twenty chapters, each dealing with four-five year segments, he writes about the happenings in the division up to Centenary Year. As in all such accounts the earlier years, with their personalities, conflicts and, from this distance, quaint happenings, are far more interesting  than the happenings of later chapters with their proliferation of competitions  and games. Chapter three makes interesting reading with matters not going well  for the board, poor attendance at meetings, many disputes and eventually  suspension by the county board for irregularities in the running of its  affairs.
The chapters  divide the 100 years into interesting segments, sometime with evocative  titles. 'Croke Park Heartbreak & Killarney Joy' neatly encapsules the 1935  football All-Ireland semi-final defeat and victory in the All-Ireland at  Killarney hurling final in 1937. 'Of Swans and Walls' covers the great period  in Swan history and the mighty Walls in the second half of the forties. 'Na  Piarsaigh and Cahir Slashers' made their mark in the second half of the  fifties. 'Of Babs and Theo' captures the glory that was Marlfields and  Ardfinnan's in the early sixties. Chapter 14 deals with one of the greatest  periods in South football and hurling when Commercials and Davins were kings  in the division and beyond. We jump forward to the arrival of John Leahy and  Mullinahone in the latter half of the eighties, and of Moyle Rovers in the  beginning of the ninties. The only quibbles I have with the content of the  chapters is the use of too many and too extensive quotations from newpapers  and other publications, as well a failure to give enough specific dates for matches, particularly finals. The provision of dates is a great service to future researchers, who are able to find the relevant match report much more  easily as a result.
Chapters 23 and  30 are directly related to the content of the first twenty-two chapters. The  former of these covers 'Club Profiles' and this is a very valuable chapter giving vital information about the clubs in succinct form. Starting with  Ardfinnan, founded in 1910, it progresses alphabetically to Skeheenarinha,  founded in 1952. The Club Colours, Other Clubs in the Parish, Roll of Honour, Club Players Who Won All-Irelands, Club Members Elected to Divisional Office,  Club Members Elected to County Office, Club Grounds, Other Special Achievements are given for each club. This chapter will prove a godsend to program makers of the future.
Chapter 30 has  profiles of Players and Administrators and is the longest in the book. It is equally important, even more so, than the chapter on club profiles but, unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired because of the uneveness of the  contributions. It is understandable that the author had to make do with what he received from contributors and, while some contributions were excellent, others contained not even the basic information. I believe that such profiles  should contain some basic information such as the subject's years, if he is  dead, his year of birth if he is still living, where he was born, the name of  his club or clubs, his achievements, offices held, reasons for inclusion,  etc.

Ancillary Activities

While the opening  twenty-two chapters give a detailed acount of the workings of the board and  the organisation of games over the hundred years, and the latter two contain important additional information, the remaining seven chapters deal with other  sporting activities not all of them under the aegis of the board. Handball,  Athletics in South Tipperary, Camogie, Ladies Football Bord na nÓg and Scór are covered in this section. Ken Conway's chapter on handball includes the  All-Ireland Roll of Honour of South Tipperary handballers. Seamus Leahy's  account of athletics rightly gives prominence to the two world-famous families  from the South, the Davins and the Kielys. Sean O'Donnell mentions the  exploits of two St. Mary's players, Johanna Meaney and Nora O'Connell, both not too long dead, in the Tailteann Games at Croke Park in 1932, is his article on camogie. Ladies Football gets detailed treatment from Biddy Ryan while Ricky Sheehan gives comprehensive coverage to Bord na nÓg, which includes a good statistical section. Sean O'Donnell also covers Scór but unfortunately does not include the Scór na nÓg and Scór na bPaistí champions.
The final chapter  is entitled 'A Miscellany' and covers anything that should be covered but hasn't already been covered. All the board officers down the years are included, but also club secretaries since 1962. All the referees that have  performed for the board since the thirties are mentioned. Awards winners since 1970 are included. The finances of the board since 1929, when total gate receipts amounted to £271, to 2006, when they amounted to €102,960, are given.  There's a tribute to the reporters and journalists in 'The Nationalist' who covered the games so well over the period. The significant role of sponsorship  in recent years is highlighted. The improvement and devlopment of club grounds is recorded. The role of the Tipperary G.A.A. Draw in the finances of clubs is  mentioned. There's a section on South Tipperary Schools and finally the  results of all finals in the South hurling and football championships are included.
A massive tome  containing an immense amount of information on gaelic games in the South  Division! Micheal O'Meara has done a huge service to the board and to all those involved in the games in all the clubs in the division. As well as text  the book has over four hundred pictures, most of them black and white, but with a special colour section devoted to recent players and personalities. As is usual in such books there is a scarcity of photographs in the early section which is more than made up for by their proliferation from 1970 onwards. Curiously the advent of digital photography has reduced the preservation of pictures. Admittedly pictures can be stored more easily but many are now destroyed after use in the local paper, whereas in the past the photograph was framed and hung or put into a drawer for safe keeping.

There are a few  unexpected omissions from the photographs that appear in the book. While  chapter 4 deals with the rise of Fethard there is no club picture. This may  have been due to any being available. Also there is no picture of the Swans in  1947, who made the great breakthrough in winning the county senior hurling  title. As well there is no picture of Marlfield or Ardfinnan in chapter 13,  which is devoted to the exploits of the two clubs.
However, these  are small matters in the context of a mighty work and do not take in any way from the huge achievement which is South Tipperary History  1907-2007. The book will live as a monument to the achievements of the South Division and to the dedication, commitment and ability of Micheal O'Meara in recording these achievements. It gives us a comprehensive picture of the contribution of the division to the story of the G.A.A. in County Tipperary and will join the histories of the  North and West Divisions, and the soon-to-be-completed History of Mid Tipperary, in informing us in greater detail of the role of the Gaelic  Athletic Association in the lives of the people of Tipperary.


<span class="postTitle">Memories of '48 - Cashel Win 7th West Senior Hurling Title</span> The Nationalist & Tipperary Star, January 17, 2008

Memories of '48 - Cashel Win 7th West Senior Hurling Title

The Nationalist & Tipperary Star, January 17, 2008


This year is the sixtieth anniversary of Cashel King Cormac's success in winning their seventh West senior hurling title. The year 1948 also marked the end of a very successful period in the history of the club. During the course of fifteen championships, commencing in 1934, Cashel had won seven titles and led the divisional roll of honour, with Clonoulty-Rossmore, Kickhams and Eire Óg following with four each. In contrast it was to be seventeen years before Cashel were successful again.

When the adjourned convention of the West Board was held at Dundrum on February 15, 1948, seven teams affiliated in the senior hurling championship. An unusual affiliation was Geraldines, a team drawn from Holyford, Kilcommon and Rearcross, who were joined by Glengar players. Cashel were drawn against Eire Óg in the first round. The latter had a very strong team at the period and had played in the previous seven finals, winning four and losing three. Cashel got the better of them and defeated Golden-Kilfeacle in the semi-final at Clonoulty on August 22. Golden looked good at the interval, leading by six points, and increased their lead shortly after the resumption, but ably led by Jim Devitt, Cashel fought back with determination, wiped out the lead and finished seven points in front.

In the other half of the draw Geraldines defeated Galtee Rovers St. Peacaun's, while Kickhams overcame Clonoulty-Rossmore. Kickhams went on to defeat Geraldines in the semi-final at Cappawhite on August 29.

The West final, between Cashel and Kickhams,was played at Golden on September 5. Kickhams had already defeated Cashel in the senior league but the King Cormacs were to reverse the decision on this occasion. Cashel had three players with county experience, Jim Devitt, who had won a senior All-Ireland medal with Tipperary in 1945, and Paddy O'Brien and Billy Hickey, who were on the unsuccessful county junior teams in 1946, 1947 and 1948.

Kickhams got of to a flying start and netted two goals. They were ahead by four points at half-time and looked good, but Cashel fought back and won by 3-6 to 3-4.

The West Board gave Cashel a training grant of £10 and they played Lorrha in the county semi-final at Thurles on September19. There were 6,500 spectators present. Cashel's fortunes were the reverse of those in the West final. They were the better side in the first half, having played against the breeze, but were only level, 1-0 to 0-3 at the interval, the Cashel goal coming from a melee. They went ahead with two points after half-time but were caught by a Lorrha rally midway in the second half, which produced two goals and a point within three minutes. As a result Cashel's two-point advantage was turned into a five-point deficit.. Try as they would they couldn't reduce it until the final minutes. In this period Jim Devitt, who was doing trojan work at centrefield, pointed a free and sent another to the net to reduce the deficit to the minimum of margins in a final score of 2-4 to 2-3. The general consensus among neutrals after the game was that Cashel had lost rather than Lorrha had won.

Michael Burke, who was one of the finest hurlers in the club in the late thirties and early forties had retired after the 1945 West final success, but was recalled to corner-forward for the game against Lorrha. The lineout on the day was as follows: Paddy O'Brien, Mickey Devitt, Jackie Corcoran, Eddie Marnane, Mickey Murphy, Jim Devitt, Donal Ryan, Sean Dunne Billy Hickey. Richie Ryan, Bill O'Keeffe, Pat Devitt, Michael Burke, Patrick Darcy. Johnny Hickey.

The team showed a number of changes from the lineout in the West final. According to the only picture of the team, which was probably taken at the final at Golden, there were other changes than Burke. The picture includes fifteen players and three of them, John Fitzell, Martin Hackett and Mick Cody, are not included in the county semi-final lineout. As well as Michael Burke, Donal Ryan and Bill O'Keeffe, who hailed from Moycarkey and lived at Mocklershill, are included. Ryan and O'Keeffe had come on as subs in the West final.

Others in the back row of the photograph are Mick Fogarty, who had played and was a good forward, but on this occasion provided hackney service, Willie English, a farmer from Freighduff, who was a team mentor, Jock Murphy, who was a brother of the Dasher's, Stedie Morrissey, who was trainer of the team, Tommy Prendergast, secretary of the club, and a very yong Peter Looby. In the middle row are Tom O'Sullivan, a brother of Jim's, whose father had a blacksmith's shop beside E. D. Ryan's in Friar Street, and Michael Meehan, who worked as a boots in Ryan's Hotel.

There are only two survivors, Jackie Corcoran and Patrick Darcy. Both are still very much alive. Jackie is hale and hearty at eighty-five years and has been residing in Acorn Lodge for five years. He remembers the team as a good one 'but we had nobody over us.' The training they did was fairly elementary. The field was on the Ardmayle Road and they pucked the ball around, did a few runs around the field and then went home. There wasn't much celebration after the West final either, no meal or banquet to celebrate the occasion, just back to town for a few pints at Davern's. The abiding belief in Cashel is that had Cashel beaten Lorrha in the county semi-final, Paddy O'Brien, rather than Tony Reddin, his opposite on that day at Thurles, would have gone on to be the Tipperary goalkeeper.

Patrick Darcy is also in good fettle after all these years and can still be seen striding tall and straight down Dominick's Street and other places in the town despite his eighty-eight years. He says he doesn't feel it's sixty years ago and his chief memory is not so much the victory at Golden as the loss at Thurles: 'We owned the ball and should have won easily', he keeps repeating.

It was a very different world sixty years ago. The chairman of the West Board was the very colourful Sean O'Dwyer, better known as Jack Sonny, from Knockavilla. Elected in 1935 he was to hold the position for thirty-five years and was known for some memorable speeches. In his speech to the 1948 convention he said: 'It is a sad commentary on our vaunted emancipation to hear Holywood jargon taking the place of our powerful Gaelic salutations, while the soul-debasing foreign film takes the place of our Irish play and the immodest jungle dance supplants and is immeasurably more popular than the ceilidhe.'

At the same convention the Eire Óg club, through their delegate, Bill O'Donnell, had a motion passed calling for the abolition of the parish rule. He argued that standards in the championship had dropped because rural clubs were unable to field fifteen players of senior quality.

The same club proposed that umpires, as well as referees, be empowered to submit reports of games, and also sought that there be a closed date in the county for all games from November 15 until the first Sunday in February. 

More Information on the Winners of '48 (Nationalist & Tipperary Star, January 24, 2008)

In the article last week on the Cashel King Cormac's team that won the 1948 West senior hurling final, the actual lineout for the final wasn't given. Contrary to the opinion given in the article, Paddy O'Brien did not play in goals but at corner-forward. The lineout was as follows: Martin Hackett, Mick Cody, Jackie Corcoran, Ned Murnane, Mickey Murphy (capt.), Jim Devitt, Mickey Devitt, Billy Hickey and Sean Dunne, Richie Ryan, Johnny Hickey, John Fitzelle, Paddy O'Brien, Patrick Darcy, Pat Devitt.

Kickhams led by 2-3 to 1-2 at the interval but Cashel improved well after the interval. According to the match report in the local papers 'With the turover came a big change and Cashel's centrefield pair, Sean Dunne and Billy Hickey, emerged as heroes. They mastered Ryan and S. McCormack and taking command at the vital midfield sector, provided opportunities which P. Devitt and O'Brien utilised to the full and crashed in the crucial scores that ensured the King Cormac's victory.'

The game was refereed by Timmy Hammersley of Clonoulty. Entrance to the game at Golden was one shilling, with sixpence extra for the sideline. When he presented the cup to the Cashel captain, West chairman, Sean O'Dwyer, paid a special tribute to Mickey Murphy for 'his trojan work for his club over a number of years,' and exhorted the King Cormac's to train hard to win the county title for the West.

But it was not to be as Cashel lost to Lorrha by 2-4 to 2-3 in the county semi-final at Thurles. According to the match report 'Cashel came to Thurles on Sunday in force. The special train brought a great crowd of enthusiastic supporters wearing the green and red favours of the King Cormac's, and led by the Cashel Brass and Reed Band playing lively airs. By car, bus and bicycle they came also, and there was a real Munster final atmosphere in the town during the morning.'

The ball was thrown in by his Grace, the Archbishop of Cashel, Dr. Kinane, after the Sean McDermott Pipe Band, Thurles had played 'Faith of Our Fathers', and the National Anthem was played by Cashel Brass and Reed Band. Paddy 'Sweeper' Ryan of Moycarkey was the referee.

Although Cashel won the toss, they opted to play against the wind and were odds-on favourites at the interval as the sides were level: Cashel 1-0 Lorrha 0-3. When the King Cormac's got two points early in the second half from Sean Dunne and Pat Devitt, it cofirmed the favouritism, but Lorrha had a purple patch in the middle of the second half to go five points in front and, although Cashel got it down to a point, they couldn't get the scores to give them victory.

Cashel lined out as follows: Paddy O'Brien, Mickey Devitt, Jackie Corcoran, Ned Murnane, Mickey Murphy (capt.), Jim Devitt, Donal Ryan, Sean Dunne, Billy Hickey, Richie Ryan, Bill O'Keeffe, Pat Devitt, Michael Burke, Patrick Darcy, Johnny Hickey. Also on the panel were the following: Tom Devitt, J. B. Hickey, Martin Hackett, Paddy O'Keeffe, Willie English, John Fitzelle, Eddie O'Grady, Charlie Power. 


<span class="postTitle">North Tipperary Man President of G.A.A. in Australia</span> The Nenagh Guardian, December 15th, 2007

North Tipperary Man President of G.A.A. in Australia

The Nenagh Guardian, December 15th, 2007


With the G.A.A. Congress scheduled for Sligo at Easter, one,man who will be attending will be Seamus O'Sullivan, originally from the borders of the parishes of Lorrha and Carrig/Riverstown, who has been representing Australia at Congress for many years. He emigrated from England to Brisbane in 1972, with his wife, Julie, who was a nurse and came from Castleblayney. His mother had died when he was a baby and his father had just died. Julie's parents had also died recently so emigrating was breaking a link with the past and establishing new roots.

Seamus has remained in Brisbane since his first day there. It wasn't easy to get work when he arrived as he had no trade. There was no difficulty about visas as both of them were emigrating. Julie was accepted straight away because she was a nurse and soon had a job.

Early the following spring, having moved into a house, they had to get a pest control man in. He was a Carlow man by the name of Gerry Daly who, sadly, passed away this year. The talk got to hurling and as a result of the contact Seamus, who had retired from games at the time, started playing on Sunday mornings during the summer of 1973.

There was no formal organisation of hurling or football in Brisbane in 1973. The only activity was an occasional get together for a match to raise funds for some community cause. Such occasions were also an excuse for a few beers. There was no drinking on Sundays at the time so the players bought a keg of beer and had a few after the game.

As a result of Seamus's involvement a couple of teams were formed, Young Irelands and The Alliance. The latter was a pub run by a Laois man, Dominica Kelly. It must have been the only team in existence based on a pub. The teams played each other and at a later stage a third team was affiliated from the local soccer team. By this stage hurling was abandoned and football was the game. At the same time Brisbane G.A.A. came into existence.

Seamus and the others who were involved had no clear plan on where they were going. One such was John Halpenny from Fermanagh, who was married to Emily. They later became the parents of the famous O hAilpín family. Another person was Enda McDonnell, who now lives in Templemore and is chairperson of the county ladies football board.

In 1975 Brisbane affiliated with the national body in Australia under the name Queensland G.A.A. and two years later hosted the national championships at Brisbane. The national championships are hosted by a state every year when each state sends the winner of the state championship to compete for the national trophy. This is a costly exercise for teams. Brisbane representatives in the 2007 All-Australian Championships had to pay A$1,050 -per person for travel and accommodation. Food and other expenses for the three days were extra.

Progress continued with the development of the game in Brisbane but not as qucikly as Seamus hoped for. In 1981 the local committee took a stance to develop the game further. The total panel of players in the city was split four ways, North, South, East and West, and sent off to develop full panels. They succeeded so two teams became four and while the North disappeared at a later stage, three new clubs were formed to bring the full strength of the game to six teams in the city. Most of these teams had at least fifty-percent native Australian players. The expansion couldn't have taken place if they were depending on Irish born players.

While still playing, Seamus had become involved in administration. Already in 1973-74 he was elected president of Brisbane, later Queensland, G.A.A., and he remained in that position until 2001. In 1978 he was elected National President of Hurling and Football in Australia, and he still retains that position. The fact that he has been re-elected every three years is an indication of his popularity and standing on the continent.

He has been very much involved in the development of physical structures for the game in Brisbane. For many years the game had no permanent home and was forced to travel around looking for venues. In 1981 they applied to Brisbane City Council for the lease of a ground. They were successful in their application and began to develop the new grounds. This increased Seamus's workload. In centenary year they built a new toilet block and and dressingrooms on the grounds. In 1990 a clubhouse was completed and this has bar facilities which are used on Sundays, the only day games are played, and they might have seven or eight games on a day. The place was floodlit in 2004 for which they received a grant of €10,000 from Croke Park. They got a grant from the State Government for the clubhouse.

Seamus is high in his praise of the outstanding work of volunteers in the building of their facilities. They would not have been possible without this help. Many tradesmen came on board and did outstanding work in the development of top class facilities.

Today the club caters for six senior men's teams and six under-18 teams. Women's football commenced in 1997 and today there are six teams playing. Over ninety percent of the men playing are Australian and virtually all the women are native born.

Seamus is of the opinion that the powers that be at Croke Park don't know the wonderful game of football they have and how widespread its appeal can be among non-Irish. He cites the popularity of the game in Australia and it has taken off nearly as strongly in Canada. If more support were to be received from Croke Park the game could be promoted even more effectively.

He is critical of the support of the compromise game with the Australian AFL. His point is the folly of supporting a game that nobody plays between tests, when they have a real game of football that men and women all over are willing to play. He cites the case of the AFL pouring 40 million Australian dollars into the promotion of their game in schools during 2007. According to him gaelic football could similarly be promoted, but it is very difficult to compete for players at the moment with so much money available to Australian Rules.

If football were encouraged and supported it could become an international game. He draws attention to the fact that the European G.A.A. are proposing that ladies football be entered for the Olympics by 2016. There is no reason why this shouldn't be so but it is up to Croke Park to push the matter forward.

As a result of much agitation over the years Croke Park has begun to support the game in Australia. Headquarters now fund the position of national secretary, so that he can be a full-time official. The province of Australia is now twinned with Leinster so there is a flow of assistance from that source. In fact over the last two years the support of Leinster Council chairman, Liam O'Neill, and Overseas Chairman, Seamus Howlin, is really starting to bear fruit, especially their commitment to youth development. Hopefully, this will allow the organisation in Australia to develop players at a much younger age. There is also funding possible through the cultural arm of the Irish Embassy at Canberra.

It is hard for us to comprehend some of the difficulties the organisers of the game in Australia, and presumably in other overseas units, have to face in the organisation of the games. The Parish Rule, which is the backbone of the game in Ireland, has no part to play in a place where the base of a club might be a pub. Also, in order to get accreditation from the Australian Sports Council the G.A.A. in Australia had to incorporate rules relating to drugs, discrimination, race, sex, etc that the original rule book never catered for.

At the moment the overseas units of the association are hoping for more liaison between headquarters and them. More formal structures must be set up. The parent body in Dublin needs to know more of the crises and difficulties their far-flung children have to endure. They want to be consulted by the parent body, asked what their requirements are. They want Croke Park to move across the Irish Sea and the Atlantic and embrace the game in the world. They want as much hands-on involvement as the G.A.A. have been affording the AFL for many years now.

Seamus O'Sullivan has been bringing his message to the G.A.A. and to Congress for many years now. He'll be there representing Down Under once more in Sligo next April. His mission will be the same, the promotion of the game in Australia, the mission that has been constant since he arrived there in 1972.

Before that he had spent six years in Coventry having emigrated from Croghan, between Rathcabbin and Riverstown in 1966. While in Coventry he played with St. Finbarr's and won a couple of championships with them. Earlier he had gone to school in Killeen and played with Carrick & Riverstown. During his young years he took up Irish dancing and danced with the Birr Troupe of Dancing for about seven years. His father was from Borrisokane and his mother a Rafter from Rathcabbin. He has no memories of her as she died when he was a year and five months old. He had no brothers or sisters.

It's been a long journey from Croghan, where he was reared by the Hayes family, through Killeen N.S. and the Vocational School, Birr, through work in Birr Shoes in Springfield, and later the Jackpot Factory in Cloghan, emigration to Coventry and later Australia and during all these moves and journeys, Gaelic Games have remained a constant in his life. At the moment his dream is to see a motion from Australia G.A.A. to the 2007 Congress become a reality. It stated that it was time for the G.A.A. 'To become an international organisation in its own right, playing our own games internationally.'


<span class="postTitle">When Cashel was a Milking Town</span> The Nationalist, May 12, 2005

When Cashel was a Milking Town

The Nationalist, May 12, 2005


The celebration of fifty years of the NFA/IFA at Rockwell College last Friday night brings to mind how the agricultural influence in the town has waned over the period. From a time when the town harboured fair days and the sale of cattle, sheep and pigs in the streets, the export of cattle at Cashel Railway Station, the meandering of cows through the streets, and the line of horses and carts bringing milk to the creamery, Cashel has become a place where the agricultural influence is peripheral and is mainly confined to Cashel Mart and Centenary Co-Op Stores. 

Up to about thirty years ago there was a strong agricultural presence in the town, and that was reflected in the number of people milking cows within the town boundaries. 

Donal Ryan of the Rock hunted his cows from the soccer field down the Bohereen Glas, across the Dublin Road to Moore Lane for milking. 

Jim Joe Ryan kept his cows behind Jenny's shop and there was a butcher's stall and abattoir in the same place. 

Jack Maher milked cows where Granny's Kitchen is now located. 

Carrolls in Ladyswell kept their cows up Gallows Hill, drove them down the Bohereen Glass across the Dublin Road for milking in Colliers Lane. 

Peg and Josephine Maher on the Terrace always kept four or five cows in the Majors field and drove them down to the back of the house for milking. 

Jackie Ryan had a cow byre at the top of Bohermore, where Maurice Thompson is living now, and milked his cows there. 

Matty and Jimmy Dunne drove the cows in for milking in Canopy Street before it was demolished in 1974. 

The Presentation Convent kept a good herd of cows and they were milked where the pavilion in Cashel Community School field was built some time ago. 

Pake Roche had a haybarn, where the carpark in Friar Street is today, with entry beside Billy Foley's Pub, and he milked the cows in a house at the corner of Friar Street and Abbey Road. .., 

Rose Kearney milked cows where Wallaces have the car showrooms now, and Foleys had a milking operation on Feehan's Road, where the Council are building houses at the moment. 

O'Leary's had their milking parlour where Marcus Fogarty has his joinery works and Katie Phelan used to give them a hand with the milking. 

Hanlys on the Green were milking in a big way until not so very long ago and, in the same area, Jimmy and Paddy Darmody used to milk where Christy Kinane has his horse training establishment. 

O'Dwyer-Malachys used to drive their cows down the Old Road for milking close to the Green. The children going to the old National School had to contend with the cows. Many people from the town bought their milk there, and it was ladled out in a half-pint measure. 

McCluskeys ran Rosebower Creamery until it was taken over by Centenary Co-Op. The street outside, up and down the Cahir Road and over the Green, was filled with all kinds of carts drawn by horses and donkeys, as they waited in line to have their milk taken in. 

Meanys drove their cows down Boherclough Street twice a day for milking in Main Street. They had a professional milkmaid in Bridgie Coman, who was noted for her particular headdress, apron and Wellington boots. She almost always had the cigarette in her mouth. She acquired the name 'Maritana', because of the similarity between her headdress and that of some of the characters in the musical. 

Carews milked cows in behind what came to be known as Coopers, and Austin Ryan had a milking operation on the Golden Road. 

Even the Palace Hotel was into the act. There were cow byres on the right hand side, now converted into residences, as one goes to the entrance ofthe hotel.. Lord Brockett kept some pedigree Ayrshires on the Rock. 

Also on Main Street Denis Leamy milked cows at the Back of the Pipe. 

One of the most fascinating pieces of information is that ofthe famous 'Judas' bullock! This was a bullock, who used to lead the heifers to the slaughter, and he was trained by the late Charlie Keane. Tom O'Neill owned Mahers butchers, Pat Walsh's today. He had an abattoir beside it, the small room, which is still there today. The cattle for slaughter had to be brought down from All Aileen and the 'Judas' bullock was trained to walk down Ladyswell Street into Main Street followed by the heifers for slaughter, The bullock walked through the abattoir and back up to AlIa Aileen, while the heifers were slaughtered. 

It all presents a much different picture of the town to the one we have today. All these cows no longer foul the streets of the town. The cattle that come to Cashel Mart are transported there, and away afterwards, and are hardly noticed except by the buyers and sellers attending the Mart. 


<span class="postTitle">Post Cashel By-Pass, Peace Reigns</span> The Tipperary Star, 23rd October, 2004

Post Cashel By-Pass, Peace Reigns

The Tipperary Star, 23rd October, 2004

Cashel has settled down to the peace and quiet of the post by-pass period.  The final piece of the new rorld system, the link road between the N8 and the N74, was opened on Friday evening.  The construction of this road is rather puzzling because nobody has informed us what traffic it is relieving. Golden traffic to Clonmel will probably travel via New Inn. Whatever traffic travels from Clonmel to Golden may take it, though it may find the journey through the town to be quicker.

There is also a certain confusion about access to the town from the Clonmel Road. The demands of the town have been half met. There is access to the bypass towards Dublin at the Clonmel road round about, as there is off the by-pass at the same point. What the by-pass does not allow is access at that point, to and from Cork. To get to Cork from Clonmel drivers have to come into the town and travel out to the Cahir roundabout.

The National Roads Authority have produced a colorful brochure giving the statistics on the construction of the bypass. It contains some powerful aerial images of the new road. One from the GortMakellis roundabout shows Ballykelly Castle and the elegant contour of the dual carriageway as it sweeps up the incline to the first bridge.

The deepest cut in a hill along the whole route was made on this stretch where a 27 m cut in the hill had to be made. The removal of the cut provided much of the 735,000 cubic meters of excavated material used in the building of the bypass. More material was excavated from the cut in the 2 km link road between the N8 and the N74.

Other interesting statistics on the project include the information that 2.1 km of regional and local roads were realigned. Anyone familiar with this realignment would be aware of the excellent improvement in the approaches to the new bridge on the Furry Hill road to Dualla. One moves from the narrowest of roads to a fine wide tarmacadam slip with full road markings and cats eyes. To a person arriving to it for the first time it appears like a mirage. 

As well as that bridge there are two others, over the Dualla road and at the Clonmel intersection. There is also an under bridge on link road that crosses the Windmill Road. There is also a cattle underpass.

As whether the excavated materials, close to half million cubic meters of deposited materials were used, and 74,000 tons of crushed rock subbase. There are 21 km of road side timber fencing, 6700 meters of concrete median barrier, and 145,200 tons of bituminous macadem surfacing.

The median barrier is a fine piece of construction. Installed by J. and D. Burke Ltd., it follows the contour of the road with precision. It contains two embedded steel robes that are capable of resisting a major impact and ensure that it is highly unlikely that any vehicle with cross into traffic on the other carriageway.

One of the fascinating aspects of such developments is that there are no longer opened until the last piece of the construction is completed. So much so that Grangemore Landscaping Ltd., who had the contract for the landscaping of the development, have the grass growing on the sides, and the trees planted.

The contract was awarded to Roadbridge Ltd., Limerick in April 2003.  It commenced on May 5th, 2003, with an allocated program time of 24 months. It was opened on October 11th, 2004, almost 7 months ahead of schedule.

The project was the first major construction in South Tipperary to be undertaken using the "Design and Build" contract format. The vast number of people in Cashel and surrounding area are delighted with the result.

In common with the procurement of major road projects, South Tipperary County Council and the National Roads Authority commissioned Orla de Bri to produce a public art sculpture symbolic of the area. The artist has developed a feature comprised of five, six meter tall bronze male figures with mirrored faces. These figures are representative of the High Kings of Munster. Each figure is wearing a stylized crown. These crowns are highlighted in gold leaf.

The shields they carry tell the artistic story of the area. One carries a depiction of the Rock of Cashel and another, a cathedral spire. These features of the sculptures are also highlighted in gold leaf in contrast to dark patina. The faces are made of mirror finish stainless steel. Conceptually, this gives the idea of seeing ourselves in the faces of our ancestors. 

The piece is visually strong and dominant as were the High Kings of Munster. Just as they guarded the path to the south in the past, this five piece sculpture symbolically guards the main highway to the South now.