Tipperary GAA Secretary’s Report 2010

Tá sé de phribhléid agam an ceathrú cuntas uaimse a chur roimh an gComhdháil Bhliantúil.

Is beag a cheap éinne ag tús na bliana go mbeadh rath ar chúrsaí iomána agus peile sa Chontae le linn 2010.  I Roinn a 2 sa tSraith Náisiúnta a bhí na peileadóirí sinsearacha cé gur léiríodar an-mhisneach i gcoinne cuid de na contaetha ba láidre sa tír.  Buadh ar na foirne mionúr sa pheil agus san iománaíocht go luath sa bhliain.  Ach bhaineamar ar fad sásamh as an éacht a dhein na peileadóirí fé 21 nuair a bhuadar Craobh na Mumhan don gcéad uair riamh sa rannóg sin i gcoinne foireann Chiarraí na Ríochta i dTrá Lí.

Ní raibh aon ábhar dóchais rómhór ag lucht leanúna na hiomána ná na peile ach an oiread  ag tús an tsamhraidh.  Deich gcúilín a bhí idir na Tiobradaigh agus Corcaigh an lá úd i bPáirc Uí Chaoimh.  Sheas na peileadóirí an fód i gcoinne foireann Chiarraí ar feadh 45 nóiméad ach fé dheireadh b’iad na Ciarraíghe a rug an chraobh leo.  Ní raibh deireadh le turas na bpeileadóirí áfach.  Bhuadar i gcoinne Chontae Laoise agus bhí lá eile amuigh acu i gcoinne laochra móra Bhaile Átha Cliath.  Bhí an scéal amhlaidh ag na hiománaithe.  Trí bhua i ndiaidh a chéile i gcoinne Loch Garman, Uíbh Fháilí agus na Gaillimhe a sheol go Páirc an Chrócaigh iad ar an dara Domhnach de Mheán Fómhair.  Bhí an t-ádh leis na hiománaithe fé 21 gur rugadar an chraobh leo i gCraobh na Mumhan i gcoinne Chorcaí tar éis dóibh am breise a imirt.

Beidh cuimhne againn go ceann i bhfad ar an dtréimhse seachtaine sin ag tús Mheán Fómhair nuair a rug na Sinsir Corn Mhic Cárthaigh leo i gcoinne Chill Chainnigh agus nuair a bhí na hiománaithe fé 21 buachach i gcoinne na Gaillimhe. Comhghairdeas le gach éinne a raibh baint aige/aici leis an ngaisce sin.

County Convention on 14th December last year brought the curtain down on a rather frustrating 2009 despite winning the Munster SH title and our Senior Footballers promotion to Division 2. We came so close to winning the All Ireland SH title, our U21 footballers saw a Munster title robbed from them with a late goal in added time, and a dismal performance by our U21 Hurlers in Dungarvan as we suffered a humiliating ten point defeat with what we thought was a highly rated team. There were minimal changes at the top table with John Smyth taking over as Youth Officer from newly appointed GDA Andy Ryan and PJ Maher joining Donie Shanahan as our second Munster Council Rep following John Ryan’s departure with the enforcement of the five year rule. The Senior Hurlers and Officials departed for a well earned holiday in L.A. and San Diego on December 28th and returned January 8th to prepare for a whole new season.

The following were the highlights of 2010 on a month by month basis:


With the Country frozen the Senior Footballers eventually got their McGrath Cup under way with victories over UL and LIT before going down to Kerry by one point in Killarney. The Senior Hurlers opened their Waterford Crystal Campaign unsuccessfully losing to Clare under lights in Borrisoleigh before a crowd of 2000 spectators. County Board held a club forum in the Anner Hotel as part of a consultation process for the strategic plan. Former All Ireland Medal winner, referee and writer Bob Stakelum was laid to rest in Holycross.


The frost in January was replaced by snow problems in February and it caused the Tipp v Kilkenny opening NHL fixture under lights to be cancelled twice at the last minute, much to the annoyance of supporters who turned up. Having gone a full month without a game, we lost heavenly to Dublin in Parnell Park as Round 2 became our first game. Life in the top flight of the football world was also proving difficult as Tipp lost to Laois in the opener and suffered a heavy defeat to Kildare under lights at Semple Stadium. With the hope of building up morale the senior football panel and officials headed for a one week training camp in Spain.


Tipp Senior Hurlers got back on track when they eventually got to play Kilkenny before 20,000 spectators who availed of the “Free Admission” to the stadium. The Tipp fans went home happy after a good win and this was followed up with victories over Galway and Limerick but a draw with Waterford meant we needed to beat Cork to qualify. Our football fortunes also improved on return from Spain with an away draw against Down and victory over Meath in Semple Stadium as part of a Double Bill with the hurlers. A one point home defeat against Donegal was to prove fatal as the following weeks trip to Crossmaglen was always going to be difficult which we lost by a credible 4 points. Our U21 footballers made up for it beating Limerick in the semi-final before bringing home our first ever Munster U21 Football title beating Kerry in Tralee on the last day of the month.


Tipp senior hurlers lost to Cork and the chance of contesting a League Final. Our final game with Offaly was of little consequence but important to win with a late Callanan goal. The championship programme really began now with a weeks training camp at Carton House Kildare. The senior footballers also played an irrelevant final game beating Westmeath before 100 spectators at the Stadium. The minor footballers lost to Kerry in the opening round but beat Clare in a playoff to qualify for the semi-final. Our U21 footballers fairy tale journey came to an end with defeat by Donegal in Parnell Park in the All Ireland semi-final. Our minor hurlers looked impressive scoring 4-22 despite losing to Cork in extra time at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Congress was in Down as Con Hogan was elected trustee and Tipperary’s motion was passed allowing fixture notification in English as well as Irish.


Tipp Senior Hurlers fall to Cork in the first round in Pairc Ui Chaoimh and face the qualifier route to rise to the heights of 2009. Our Senior Footballers fade against Kerry despite being competitive for three quarters of the game. After showing promise in the drawn game against Cork in April our minors were disappointing as they lost to a determined Clare side in Cusack Park.  The minor footballers left it too late against Cork despite a great second half performance. Both our Junior Footballers and Intermediate hurlers fell at the first hurdle. Borrisoleigh and Tipperary mourned the loss of the very popular publican Mick Cowan.


Our Senior Hurlers bide their time as they prepare for their first round qualifier in July against Wexford. The Senior Footballers overcome the first qualifier hurdle with victory over Laois in Semple Stadium by one point.


Tipperary Hurlers have comfortable wins over Wexford and Offaly to qualify for the All Ireland quarter final where a late come back was required to pip Galway by one point in a great game at Headquarters. Our senior footballers got their big day in Croke Park but could not rise to the occasion sufficiently to overcome a fancied Dublin side. The under 21 hurlers opened their campaign with an extra time defeat of Cork by the Lee. Despite a scary start they went on to beat Clare to win the Munster title in Thurles. The Munster SH final was a great success in Semple Stadium as Cork and Waterford played out an exciting draw. The replay one week later was the first ever Munster final under floodlights as Waterford claimed the honours.


As we watched Cork fail dismally to the “Cats”, our Senior Hurlers stepped up the tempo to overcome Waterford and qualify for another All Ireland title clash with Kilkenny. The U21’s had an easy win over Antrim in Tullamore and give us a double reason to look forward to September. Mick Frawley passes to his eternal reward and is laid to rest in his native Emly.


Glorious September as Tipp reach the pinnacle and win their first All Ireland SH title in nine years with a historic victory over Kilkenny in a classic final. The U21 hurlers extend the celebrations with an emphatic victory over Galway to claim our second All Ireland in one week. The celebrations began as the Cups start a ten week schedule of schools visits. Floodlit Senior Hurling games at Semple Stadium become the norm as Co. C.C.C. try to catch up.


In an effort to meet Munster deadlines the County quarter finals are played over one weekend with double bills on Saturday and Sunday October 2nd /3rd at Semple Stadium followed by the Semi Finals two weeks later. Thurles Sarsfields and Clonoulty Rossmore reach the decider and Sars win back to back titles. The Cup visits continue including a trip to London for the Tipp Association Dinner dance. Five Tipp players pick up hurling All Stars at the City West Hotel on October 15th.


Aherlow win the Co. Senior Football title but fall to Kerry Crokes in extra time in Cashel having led for the most of ordinary time. Thurles Sarsfields defeat Kilmallock but fall to Del La Salle Waterford by one point in the Munster Final in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on a bitter cold November day. The Co. SH & U21H teams are accorded a Civic Reception in Bru Ború by the North and South Tipperary County Councils.


The January frost re-visits and delays the completion of our Junior Hurling “A” and U21Hurling “A” programmes. Indoors the circuit of conventions and Scór na nÓg competitions keep the patrons occupied in the closed season as our County senior players return to the Gyms for winter core work.

Co. Senior Hurling

DATE                                                    VENUE                                 HOME TEAM    SCORE AWAY TEAM     SCORE REFEREE

Waterford Crystal Cup

26/01/10    Quarter Final         Borrisoleigh                 Tipperary         1.12 Clare                0.17 D Copps

National Hurling League

20/02/10    Round 1                Semple Stadium          Tipperary         OFF Kilkenny         OFF Barry Kelly

23/02/10    Round 1                Semple Stadium          Tipperary         OFF Kilkenny         OFF Barry Kelly

28/02/10    Round 2                Parnell Park                 Tipperary         1.12 Dublin             1.21 James Owens

07/03/10    Round 1                Semple Stadium          Tipperary         1.14 Kilkenny         0.13 Barry Kelly

14/03/10    Round 3                Semple Stadium          Tipperary         2.17 Galway            0.14 John Sexton 21/03/10    Round 4                Pairc na nGael             Tipperary         2.23 Limerick          0.08 Ml Wadding 28/03/10    Round 5                Semple Stadium          Tipperary         1.19 Waterford       2.16 Cathal McAllister

04/04/10    Round 6                Pairc Uí Chaoimh        Tipperary         1.15 Cork                1.16 James McGrath

18/04/10    Round 7                Tullamore                    Tipperary         1.18 Offaly             2.14 James Owens

Munster Hurling Championship

30/05/10    Quarter Final Pairc Uí Chaoimh        Cork                3.15 Tipperary         0.14 Barry Kelly

All Ireland Hurling Championship

03/07/10     Phase I                 Semple Stadium          Tipperary         3.24 Wexford          0.19 James McGrath

18/07/10     Phase III              Portlaoise                    Tipperary         0.21 Offaly             1.12 John Sexton

25/07/10     Quarter Final        Croke Park                  Tipperary         3.17 Galway            3.16 James Owens

15/08/10     Semi Final            Croke Park                  Tipperary         3.19 Waterford       1.18 John Sexton

05/09/10     Final                    Croke Park                Tipperary       4.17     Kilkenny        1.18 Ml Wadding

Looking back from dizzy heights following September 5th, its difficult to find a starting point especially after first round defeats in the Waterford Crystal, National League and Munster Championship. I guess the roots of this All Ireland title were planted three years ago when Liam Sheedy, Eamon O’Shea and Mike Ryan were appointed. The records speak for themselves with Munster National League in 2008, Munster title and All Ireland runners up in 2009, and the ultimate All Ireland title in 2010. In three years, they came, they saw and they conquered and then departed but leaving Tipperary Hurling in a very healthy position and Tipperary hurling Supporters in ecstasy.

In compliance with guidelines from headquarters, Nov/Dec ‘09 were closed months for collective training and players were confined to personal gym programmes prepared by trainer Cian O’Neill. The team holiday in L.A. and San Diego in early January meant a further delay to the commencement of collective training which eventually got underway in Mid January just two weeks before our first round/quarter final in the Waterford Crystal. Generally, bad weather conditions meant difficulties in securing a venue but Borrisoleigh club generously obliged and on a Tuesday night January 26th, under floodlights the year kick-started in front of 3000 spectators. Clare were the opposition, under new manager, Ger “Sparrow” O’Loughlin, with many of their 2009 U21 All Ireland winning side on board and they were anxious to make and early impression. And this they did as they over ran a lack lustre Tipp side who never led at any stage despite missing many goal chances. In the end Clare ran out winners by two points and left Tipp with a four week void before their opening league game. Still this offered an opportunity for team management to focus on ball work and restore the team to the standard of hurling produced in the 2009 All Ireland Final.

Our opening League game fixed for Saturday night February 20th was a repeat of the All Ireland final and Croke Park billed it as a big promotion game to launch their National Hurling League and a crowd of 20,000 was expected. Three hours before the 7.30pm throw in, the snow started falling in Thurles and this turned into a blizzard about  a half hour ahead of the game. The All Ireland Vocational schools final curtain raiser had just finished and concerns started to grow as the snow fall got heavier making for difficult underfoot conditions as well as poor visibility. Kilkenny had arrived and over 10,000 patrons had passed through the turnstiles. At 7.40pm wisdom prevailed with the safety of players paramount and the game was postponed until the following Tuesday night. Irate supporters vented their frustrations on the night and later on the airways demanding a refund of their admission fee but with so many categories of entrance including season tickets holders, juvenile groups, OAP’s, and students, this was logistically impossible. Free entry was promised to all for the re-fixture the following Tuesday night which did not compensate those who could not make it or please the parents of school going children. History repeated itself on Tuesday night as the snow fall again got heavier a few hours before the 7.30pm throw in time. Despite hourly monitoring of the pitch condition and the weather forecast by Tipperary Co Board officials, the referee Barry Kelly, pulled the plug at 7.25pm. The game was eventually re-fixed for twelve days later on Sunday March 7th. Meanwhile our second league fixture away to Dublin had to be overcome before that. Dublin in Parnell Park are always a handful and this was no exception as rusty Tipp were exposed by the Dubs who were themselves reeling from a 13 point defeat to Waterford in the first round. Despite a first minute goal from a penalty by Eoin Kelly it all went down hill from there as the lack of match practise was evident. Dublin ran out easy deserving winners by nine points and left Tipp with an uphill battle to progress in the League.

The perfect opportunity to redeem themselves came the following Sunday as the re-scheduled Kilkenny game drew over 20,000 to Semple Stadium with the “free admission” as an added bonus. The game was not a classic but competitive right to the end as the Tipp backs dominated but our forwards failed to sparkle. An Eoin Kelly goal before half time gave Tipp the edge as we recorded our first victory over the “Cats” since April 2008 and four outings. The success of the free admission was a huge promotion for the GAA despite the loss of revenue but it does pose the question in the current climate, “would we get bigger crowds if we reduce the admission prices?”

Our next outing was a home game with Galway in a double bill promotion at Semple Stadium along with the Senior Footballers clash with Meath. Despite the double attraction only 6000 patrons turned up for a game of the proverbial two halves. Tipp started impressively and a John O’Brien goal after six minutes should have helped kick on, but it was Galway who dominated the remainder of the half to lead by four points at half time and they were also deprived of two goals by a Cummins save and a Paddy Stapleton block.  Tipp upped the tempo in the second half and a kicked goal by Noel McGrath triggered a complete takeover as the Galway challenge wilted. In fact Galway only scored one point in the whole second half as Tipp ran out easy winners by nine points. The following week in the Gaelic Grounds, Tipp trounced a troubled Limerick and used the opportunity to experiment with fringe players and boosted their chances of reaching the League Final. Seven days later back in Semple Stadium, the tempo was raised with the visit of Davy and the Deise boys. Tipp led by a point at the break and a Noel McGrath goal mid way through the second half gave us a comfortable five point lead. Noel had earlier seen a penalty attempt for goal saved but Waterford’s Eoin Kelly made no mistake with his 21 yard free which brought them back into the game and a grandstand finish. It was Kelly again who saved the day for Waterford as his pointed free-in added time made Tipp’s task of making the final even tougher. Our next game against the Rebels was billed as a dress rehearsal for May 30th and in Pairc Uí Chaoimh. The added intrigue of this game was the possibility of a further league final clash between the two if Tipp were to win. Tipp’s first half performance gave little indication of this as Cork held a four point lead at half time with the “Aisake” target a new added dimension in their game plan. He was giving Paudie Maher a hard time early on but not to give too much away ahead of championship he was moved to the ’40 after the first quarter. Tipp hit the ground running in the second half and went from four points down to four points up with a rejuvenated Paul Kelly chipping in for 1-02. An injury to Brendan Maher who was rampant at mid field, took the steam off Tipp and Cork rallied with a Pat Horgan classic goal. Tipp faded in the final quarter and ended our chance of contesting three in a row under this management team. Playing six consecutive Sundays had taken its toll and despite looking settled from 1 to 9, our forward line was still very much undefined. The opening Divisional Championship games the following week-end added to Sheehy’s woes as Paul Kelly (broken leg) and Gearoid Ryan (finger) joined James Woodlock and John O’Neill on the long term injured list. Our final league game against Offaly became a glorified challenge match and it took a last minute goal from a free by Seamus Callanan to claim victory.

Following the Offaly game a planned training week in Alicante Spain was put on hold due to the Volcano Ash from Iceland halting the flights but an alternative home venue in Carton House proved equally as beneficial with our weather being kind. Three more players Eoin Kelly, Darragh Egan and David Young were added to the growing injury list but it gave management on opportunity to bring a few extra to Carton for challenge games from which Brian O’Meara and Paddy Fanning emerged to strengthen the panel. The club championships went into full swing over the following weeks which exposed the panel to further injuries with Benny Dunne and Pat Kerwick now on the list. Cork failed to capture the league title from Galway but were facing May 30th in a confident mood following a trouble free period under Denis Walsh.

The big day arrived and it turned out to be a defining moment in Tipperary’s year. We started well but once Aisake Ó’hÁilpín was fouled in the 12th minute and Pat Horgan goaled from the penalty it was going to be Corks day. Short puck outs to Gardiner and long deliveries to Aisake were the hallmarks of this shock defeat as Tipp players floundered all over the field. The passion and hurling fluency we showed in last year’s All Ireland final, despite losing to Kilkenny, were completely missing as mentally and physically we were a poor shadow of the team seven months previously. After three championship victories in a row over Cork, this ten point defeat was hard to accept as we faced the uncertain qualifier route to the All Ireland play offs. As history would later show, maybe this was a blessing in disguise as the mental development of the team was built along this route.

Tipp avoided the preliminary round and faced Wexford in the first round of the qualifiers in Semple Stadium five weeks after the Cork defeat. This was redemption time for our players as Gearoid Ryan, Patk “Bonnar” Maher, David Young and Conor O’Brien were all added to the starting line up following impressive displays in Club championship and in training. The game was decided in the two five minute periods immediately before and after half time. During this time Tipp stretched their lead from three points to sixteen points with Lar Corbett scoring the two goals in as many minutes after the break. Tipp eased off but still remained in control for an easy victory. To reach the quarter final we had to overcome Offaly in Portlaoise just four days after one third of the team played in an extra time victory over Cork in the U21 championship. Aided by a strong wind Tipp built up a comfortable nine point lead by half time. Following impressive earlier form against Galway, Offaly were expected to provide a stiffer challenge but it never came as Tipp backs remained solid and all the forwards got on the score sheet.

The quarter final against Galway seven days later was the real test for both teams and Tipperary rose to the occasion. Despite conceding an early soft goal to Eanna Ryan we held our nerve and responded with an Eoin Kelly green flag. Galway once again pulled away with six unanswered points but a strong finish to the half which included a goal by sub Seamus Callanan, gave Tipp a two point lead at the break. Galway got the perfect start to the second half as uncertainty by Paul Curran allowed Damien Hayes in for an easy tap home. Gearoid Ryan added a third goal and Tipp looked to be in the driving seat with ten minutes to go, but a Joe Canning penalty goal put the game back in the melting pot. Our management team must take a lot of credit as our subs proved to be vital ball winners at this crucial stage, and the winning point by Lar Corbett was one that will live in our memory for a long time. This was a victory to savour as we rescued the win from the jaws of defeat and dispelled any doubts about the mental toughness of this team. We had a two week break to the semi final against Waterford for most of the panel but no break for the eight panel members on the U21 team who had a Munster Final date with Clare just three days later in Semple Stadium . Tipperary stepped up a further gear against Waterford with a perfect game play which nullified the dominance enjoyed by “Brick” Walsh in previous games. Brendan Cummins puckouts down the wings varied with short ones to the backs kept the play away from the centre back plus the placing of Noel McGrath on the ’40 where he controlled most of the forward play. There was little between the sides in the early stages but a kicked goal by Lar Corbett turned the game in Tipp favours and they led at the break by six points. Noel McGrath put Tipp on the road to victory with a massive 85 yard point from a free with a quarter to go and his sideline cut in the 53rd minute set Eoin Kelly up for a gem of a goal. Eoin sealed it with his second goal as Tipp qualified for another All Ireland Final showdown with the hand of history beckoning Kilkenny towards their five in a row. This was the final everyone wanted following last years classic but looked highly unlikely with Tipp’s first round defeat in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on May 30th.

The build up to September 5th was incredible with a lot of media attention focussed on Henry Shelfin following his cruciate ligament injury in the semi-final v Cork. With Tennyson, Brian Hogan, Tommy Walsh and Richie Power also shipping injuries, the Kilkenny training sessions became tourist attractions even for some curious Tipp Supporters. On the other hand Tipp’s preparations were low key and postponement of the divisional championships allowed management have total control of their players in the weeks ahead of the big day. A quiet determination was building up and a committed resolve that we were not going to be denied this year. September 5th arrived and before we know it we were back in that same dressing room in Croke Park where twelve months previously we left with broken hearts. There was nothing new about our preparation as team management always believed in no surprises and our pre-match itinerary was a replica of our quarter and semi final visits to headquarters. This included travelling up that morning, meet at the Mid Way Portlaoise, lunch at the Radisson Stillorgan, warm up at Clanna Gael Fontenoys and arrive in the dressing room about one hour before throw in. An extra twenty minutes was added to our arrival time to allow for pre-match protocol on All Ireland Day. The planning of the management team was meticulous and aided by Team Liaison Officer, Ger Ryan, it was carried out with precision. In the words of Manager Liam Sheedy “we’ve done everything, we have ticked every box and we are ready to play”. Game on as Shefflin missed the first free and Kelly makes no mistake with his attempt at the other end so Tipp were first on the Board after three minutes. At 10 minutes Lar Corbett fielded a long Shane McGrath delivery and blasted to the net for the games first goal and a six point lead for Tipp. Four minutes later there was heartbreak for Kilkenny Supporters as Shefflin’s knee gave way and he left the field to a standing ovation from friend and foe. As Kilkenny rallied Brendan Cummins lifted the siege with a huge point from a free inside his own 45 yard line. Back came Kilkenny and Richie Power with a goal plus two pointed frees to leave the half time score Tipp’s 1-10 Kilkenny 1.09.

The big questions were now being asked of Tipp and the challenge became even bigger as Kilkenny scored first in the second half from a TJ Reid line ball to draw level. Moments later Tipp signalled that this was their day with two goals in as many minutes from Lar Corbett and Noel McGrath to leave seven points between the sides. Kilkenny tapped on the points to eat into that lead until Seamus Callanan signals his arrival with two points. Tipp substitutions continue to impact as Benny Dunne and Seamus Hennessy both add points but the completion of Lar Corbett’s hat trick in the 73rd minute secured our 26th title and ended Kilkenny’s dream of a historic five in a row. Emotions ran high as players, mentors, officers and back room staff embraced whilst the supporters just sat back and savoured the moment. The 82,000 attendance had just witnessed one of the great All Irelands played with a fierce intensity between the two best hurling teams in the country at the moment. Over 75 minutes they saw five goals and 35 points and full credit to referee Michael Wadding who allowed the game flow and provide wonderful entertainment. Eoin Kelly’s acceptance speech was top drawer stuff and represented the views and appreciations of all concerned. He was a great captain and leader and a perfect role model for our young fans. His leadership qualities now prove how entrenched we were for many years by not allowing management and County board to select the captain. It finally took a motion at Convention December 2008 to change this and within two years we have tasted success. Whether its coincidence or not even those opposed to it at the time, must now realise the change proved to be one of the catalysts which was instrumental in bringing us All Ireland success.

The management team of Liam, Eamon and Mick gave it their all and got their just reward. It was a privilege to work with them as over the three years, they built up and restored pride in Tipperary Hurling. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude as they sail into the sunset for the time being. Enjoy the break gentlemen but I would imagine that we have not seen the last of you.

Tipperary Senior Hurling Champions 2010

Brendan Cummins, Paddy Stapleton, Paul Curran, Michael Cahill, Declan Fanning, Conor O’Mahoney, Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath, Gearoid Ryan, Patrick Maher, John O’Brien, Noel McGrath, Eoin Kelly, Lar Corbett, Seamus Callinan, Conor O’Brien, Benny Dunne, Seamus Hennessy, David Young, Pa Bourke, Jody Brenna, Darragh Egan, Darren Gleeson, Timmy Hammersly, Michael Heffernan, Pat Kerwick, Shane Maher, Hugh Moloney, Brian O’Meara, Paddy Fanning, Paul Kelly and James Woodlock.

Co. U21 Hurling

DATE                                                    VENUE                                 HOME TEAM    SCORE AWAY TEAM     SCORE REFEREE

Munster Championship

14/07/10    Semi Final AET Pairc Ui Chaoimh        Tipperary         2.17 Cork                0.21 Ger Hoey 28/07/10    Final                Semple Stadium          Tipperary         1.22 Clare                1.17 Cathal McAllister

All Ireland Championship

21/08/10    Semi Final             Tullamore                    Tipperary         2.32 Antrim             1.07 Tony Carroll

11/09/10    Final                     Semple Stadium         Tipperary       5.22     Galway           0.12 James McGrath

Co. Board appointed a new management team for under 21 hurling with Ken Hogan taking over the managers role and thus retaining a link with the previous regime who had completed their two year term. Ken had only served one year as he had replaced Eamon Kelly just twelve months earlier. He was now joined on the ticket by Tommy Dunne (coach), TJ Connolly and William Maher. Tommy was also a link with the successful 2007 minor team with many of that group making the natural progression to under 21 in 2010. Once again Tipp were calling on eight senior panellists but that is no guarantee of success as we learned in Dungarvan in 2009. That experience would serve Ken Hogan well especially if Tipp were to progress in the Senior.

A first round away fixture with Cork was a daunting task on July 14th just twelve months after our extra time duel with them in Semple Stadium where we came out victorious. We were also boosted by the record of having defeated the Rebels with the corresponding team in 2007, both in the Munster and All Ireland minor finals. Now at U21, Cork dominated the early stages on the scoreboard but Tipp kept in touch and just before half time, Bonnar Maher set up Michael Heffernan for a classy overhead double to the net to give Tipp a 1-08 to 0-07 lead at the break. Cork half back line took over in the second half and coupled with Tipp’s indiscipline, conceding frees, we found ourselves three points adrift with just four minutes remaining. On the 58th minute Tipp got a free just outside the square and Seamus Hennessy made no mistake as he rifled it to the Cork net. Michael Heffernan almost sealed victory with another goal but failed to connect. So once again like 2009 the game went into extra time where Tipp’s experienced seniors rose to the occasion once again. Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath and Seamus Hennessy stepped up a gear to give Tipp victory and a Munster Final clash with All Ireland champions Clare. This was a home fixture for Tipp as our previous encounter was that unforgettable victory in the controversial final at Cusack Park Ennis in 2008. Five of the team started in the All Ireland Quarter Final victory over Galway just three days before this Munster Final which may have caused the disastrous start. Clare had 1-03 on the scoreboard in the first three minutes and we were reeling, especially as Clare were deprived of two further goals. Tipp gradually worked there way into the game and outscored Clare by 1-12 to 0-06 to lead by three points at half time. Carelessness in our back line allowed Clare stay in the game in the second half but a storming finish saw Paddy Murphy score four points in the closing stages. This game also saw the arrival of Brian “Buggy” O’Meara on the big stage as his catching and distribution of the ball was brilliant. So as Padraig Maher collected the Munster Trophy, Tipp Supporters celebrated a great week with our seniors and U21’s now in an All Ireland Semi Final.

It was even more special for John Coughlan, Sean Carey and Brian O’Meara as they just achieved a unique Munster U21 hurling and football double for the first time ever in the County. As the Seniors advanced to the final with victory over Waterford, the U21’s now faced Antrim at Tullamore in the semi-final. Tipp won this comfortably as the gulf in class between the sides was alarming. John O’Dwyer got the “man of the match” award following his 2-03 and Tipp management used the opportunity to rest the seniors early and also get a look at the fringe players before the All Ireland Final.

The double was now a new focus especially after September 5th as the seniors celebrated. The self control and discipline of the eight “dual” players over the week leading up to the under 21 game was going to be a key factor. As the County celebrated, the eight re-focussed and postponed their own celebrations by returning to training with the rest of the panel on Tuesday night. Confusion reigned over the venue for weeks as Galway protested at Croke Park’s decision to fix it for Thurles on a permanent basis going forward, instead of the usual double header at headquarters with the Camogie final. Tipperary also had their problems with Croke Park C.C.C. as an extremely harsh suspension was landed on full back John Coughlan a few days before the final for an awkward tackle against Antrim in the semi-final. A yellow card was later upgraded to red by the referee following C.C.C.’s viewing of the match video. A subsequent hearing failed despite John showing the Central Hearings Committee on DVD a step by step viewing of the incident which clearly displayed that his awkward tackle bore no malice or intent. There is a glaring inconsistency in Croke Park’s decision on Tipperary’s motion to Congress 2010 seeking video referees when they eventually said in their response “that it is the view of C.C.C.C. that the concept of video referees in the GAA is totally impractical.” How can they then justify handing down suspensions following their own viewing of videos and requesting referees to have a second look at the incident on video. Brian O’Meara suffered a similar fate following the first round senior game against Cork but I felt John Coughlan had a far stronger case of innocence and suffered a serious miscarriage of justice in not being allowed play in the final following his excellent personal appeal. Coughlan’s absence meant we had an all Sarsfields full back line with Padraig Maher reverting to full, Brendan Maher taking over the centre and Ciaran Hough of Lorrha coming in on the wing. Galway’s claim of unfair disadvantage playing in Semple Stadium must have got to the players as they had a disastrous start conceding two goals to Tipp in the first three minutes. Buggy O’Meara was the target man as he scored the first and passed to “Bubbles” Dwyer for the second. A further goal by Sean Carey after 15 minutes finished the game as a contest and Tipp supporters were enjoying the week long party. Galway kept in touch with points but two more goals by Bonnar and Noel McGrath in the space of seven minutes mid way through the second half was the final nail in the coffin. Padraig Maher collected the Cross of Cashel trophy as Tipperary celebrated their ninth All Ireland U21 title since the competition began in 1964 when Tipp won in the inaugural year. This was an outstanding performance from a team that oozed class since that semi-final victory in Munster over Cork down in Pairc Uí Chaoimh two months earlier. Everything about this team gives us great hope for the future especially with eight of the starting fifteen plus most of the extended panel all underage again next year. They were excellently managed by Ken Hogan who proved that a manager’s best position is in the stand where he has an overall perspective and the utmost of confidence in consultation with his fellow selectors on the sideline. What a week in which Tipp won their first All Ireland Senior Hurling title in nine years and their first All Ireland U21 hurling title since 1995. Now the party could really begin for dual starts Padraig Maher, Brendan Maher, Michael Cahill, Seamus Hennessy, Noel McGrath, Patrick “Bonnar” Maher, Brian “Buggy” O’Meara and Michael Heffernan. Heroes All.

Tipp U21H All Ireland Champions 2010

James Logue Ballingarry, Kevin O’Gorman Thurles Sarsfields, Padraig Maher Captain Thurles Sarsfields, Michael Cahill Thurles Sarsfields, James Barry Upperchurch Drombane, Brendan Maher Borrisoleigh, Ciaran Haugh Lorrha, Seamus Hennessy Kilruane MacDonaghs, Noel McGrath Loughmore Castleiney, Sean Carey Moyle Rovers, Paddy Murphy Nenagh Éire Óg, Patrick Maher Lorrha, John O’Dwyer Killenaule, Brian O’Meara Kilruane MacDonaghs, Michael Heffernan Nenagh Éire Óg, Christy Coughlan Templederry Kenyons, John O’Neill Clonoulty Rossmore, Adrian Ryan Templederry Kenyons, Joe Gallagher Kildangan, Kieran Morris Moycarkey Borris, Bill McCormack Thurles Sarsfields, Thomas Butler Clonoulty Rossmore, Sean Curran Mullinahone, John Coughlan Moyne Templetuohy, Paudie Greene Upperchurch Drombane, Denis Maher Thurles Sarsfields, Sean O’Brien Newport, Darren O’Connor Roscrea, Aidan McGrath Loughmore Castleiney, Paudie O’Dwyer Eire Óg Anacarty.

Co. Minor Hurling

DATE                                                    VENUE                                 HOME TEAM    SCORE AWAY TEAM     SCORE REFEREE

Munster Championship

28/04/10    Quarter Final         Pairc Ui Chaoimh        Cork                2.31 Tipperary         4.22 Ml O’Connor

05/05/10    Play Off                Cusack Park Ennis      Clare                0.17 Tipperary         1.13 D O’Driscoll

Mark O’Leary was in his second year as Manager along with Coach Damien Young plus selectors Pat Buckley and Kevin Shelly. Another trip to Pairc Ui Chaoimh was our focus once again for a repeat of last years encounter. In 2008 it ended all square after extra time in a classic battle by the Lee, but Tipp eventually came out on top in the replay at Semple Stadium. Back in Pairc Ui Chaoimh again this year Cork raced into an early lead but an Aidan McCormack goal kept us in touch to only trail by two points at half time. Cork goaled from a penalty after half time but two more McCormack goals kept Tipp in touch and it took an equalising point by Cork sub Jamie Wall to take the game to extra time. Cathal Horan goaled in the first period of extra time to give Tipp the lead but in the final period Cork’s corner forward Brian Hartnett tacked on four points to clinch victory for the rebels. In fact the same Brian finished with a total score of 1-14 with Cork actually scoring 1-24 from play over the 80 plus minutes. Tipp’s 4.22 score was exceptional and should win most games, but on this evening it was not enough. This quarter final was classic hurling on a beautiful spring evening by the Lee but unlike last year the losers at this stage had a back door. It left Tipp with another daunting task in the play-off against Clare at Cusack Park Ennis one week later. Tipp showed four changes for the Clare game as the Banner boys made all the running early on. We did well to be only one point behind at half time in a goaless first half. Tipp led briefly, early in the second half but Clare started to grow in confidence as they realised that this Tipp team who put up a big score against Cork, were not sparking on this occasion. Despite having a player sent off, Clare built up a five point lead but Tipp upped the tempo in the final ten minutes and reduced the lead to 3 points with three minutes remaining. Liam McGrath goaled to draw level and it looked like extra time as the game entered the final seconds. Suddenly up popped Clare mid-fielder Tony Kelly and he slotted over the winning point to deny Tipp’s extra time. At minor level a small thing can swing a game either way and home advantage was a big factor for Clare as the Banner crowd urged on their team at vital stages. This loss was a big disappointment for Tipperary as it was the first time since 1990 that we failed to qualify for a Munster Minor semi-final. Management put a lot of work into coaching this team and this was obvious with the 4.22 score against Cork. Losing by one point in two games over seven days was desperate bad luck especially as both were away from home. Still to win titles you need to be winning the tight games and have a certain amount of luck to go with it. Mark O’Leary and his management team have served their two year term and we thank them for their hard work which did not yield the rewards they deserved.

Tipperary MH v Clare

David Reddan Kilruane MacDonaghs, Cathal Barrett Holycross Ballycahill, Andrew Ryan Toomevara, Joe O’Dwyer Killenaule, Liam Treacy Loughmore Castleiney, Brian Stapleton Captain Templederry, John Meagher Loughmore Castleiney, Jason Forde Silvermines, David Flynn Roscrea, David Butler Knockavilla Kichams, Niall O’Meara Kilruane MacDonaghs, Liam McGrath Loughmore Castleiney, Michael O’Brien Thurles Sarsfields, Aidan McCormack Thurles Sarsfields, Cathal Horan Mullinahone. Subs Tommy Heffernan Nenagh Eire Óg, Dan McCormack Borrisoleigh, Paddy Dalton Arravale Rovers, Pa Dunne Thurles Sarsfields, James Kennedy St. Mary’s Clonmel, John Hassett Drom & Inch, Justin Cahill Kilruane MacDonaghs, Ross Mullane Clonmel Óg

Co. Intermediate Hurling

DATE                                                    VENUE                                 HOME TEAM    SCORE AWAY TEAM     SCORE REFEREE

Munster Championship

30/05/10    Quarter Final          Pairc Ui Chaoimh        Cork                1.18 Tipperary         1.12 SeanMcMahon

Conor Gleeson took over from Connie Maher as manager of the Co. Intermediate hurling team. Connie had given it everything and that victory over Cork in 2008 down in Pairc Ui Chaoimh when Cathal Dillon scored points at will in the final minutes will be his outstanding memory. Conor Gleeson was joined by Barney Naughnane (Kilruane) as Coach, Michael Ryan (Fethard) and Eamon O’Dwyer (Arravale Rovers) as selectors. They knew their limitations with 30 senior clubs in the County as they were confined to select from the rest. County Board have a problem with this and would have serious concerns for the future of this competition if it’s not put on a more even platform. We believe this competition should be changed to a development squad process with a maximum age of say 23 or 25 max. Every person playing county at minor under 21 or intermediate/junior should see it as a stepping stone to playing senior but unfortunately this is not the case. We have it in football where John Evans manages both teams and treats his junior football team as back up for his senior squad. This gives him access to extra players for trial matches and also inspires players to believe they are part of the senior set up.

Conor and his selectors brought in over 100 players for trial and reduced it to 30 in Mid March before finalising the panel on May 1st, one month ahead of the first round against Cork. During the process management succeeded in persuading Co. Senior Footballers, George Hannigan, Philip Austin and Sean Carey to come on board plus former SH panellist Alan Byrnes. Tipp only had five of the starting line up from the first round against the same opposition, when we lost by 15 points in Semple Stadium in 2009. All the preparation seemed to be justified as Tipperary raced in to a 1-04 to 0-01 lead after ten minutes with the goal coming from 2008 hero Cathal Dillon. As management saw their game plan suddenly fall apart, Cork scored nine unanswered points and Tipp went 19 minutes without scoring. This included nine wides and very scorable frees but Tipp finished strong and kept in touch with 2 points to leave the half time score 0-10 to 1-06. Tipp’s indiscipline in the second half allowed Cork six points from frees and a goal mid way through put Cork in the driving seat. We had it down to two points adrift with seven minutes to go but Cork finished strong with five points in a row and Tipperary regretting their missed chances. Still we hurled with pride, and management can be proud of the players they selected to represent the County. Our thanks to all for a super effort.

Tipperary I.H. Panel 2010

Bill McCormack Sarsfields, Alan Byrnes Shannon Rovers, George Hannigan Shannon Rovers, Lee Mackey Carrick Davins, Evan Hanley Lattin Cullen, Niall Teehan Gortnahoe Glengoole, Ronan Sherlock Silvermines, Willie O’Dwyer Carrick Davins, John Coughlan Moyne Templetuohy, Martin Dunne Moyle Rovers, Philip Austin Borrisokane, Pat Buckley Emly, Sean Carey Moyle Rovers, Cathal Dillon Aherlow, Pat Murnane Galtee Rovers, Colm Larkin Borrisokane, Willie Keogh Silvermines, Keith Dwyer Gortnahoe Glengoole.


As in previous years, Bórd Péil Rúnaí Eddie Lonergan gives a detailed account of all Inter County Football games played during 2010 in his own report else-where in this book so I will just briefly comment on each grade.

Our Senior Footballers had jumped from Division 4 to Division 2 in two years and were hoping to consolidate their position in that Division playing top grade football. We had our best run in the McGrath Cup for a few years winning two games before losing to Kerry by just one point in the semi-final in Killarney. Our league campaign opened with a two point defeat away to Laois following a poor first half performance when we trailed by ten points. A great second half comeback brought us level but we failed to finish it off. We were encouraged by the fight-back as we faced into our first ever floodlit football game in Semple Stadium against Kildare just one week later. The harsh realities of football in the higher divisions was brought home to us by the experienced Lily Whites who handed Evans his heaviest defeat since coming to Tipp. A three week break couldn’t have come at a better time as the team headed to Spain for a one week training camp to lift moral after the two defeats. It must have worked because on return we picked up our first league point with a draw against Down in Newry following a late comeback. A further boost one week later in a Semple Stadium double bill with the hurlers saw us take both points from Meath and it looked like we would survive in Division 2. Unfortunately old habits of inaccuracy came back to haunt us in the following game at home to Donegal with a one point defeat and our destiny seemed to be decided. A spirited display against Armagh in Crossmaglen where we came from 11 points down at half time to draw level only to see the Orchard County pull away again in the end. Our final game against the other relegated team was a cosmetic exercise as a troubled Westmeath ended pointless at the bottom of the table and Tipperary with 5 points were just one below Kildare and Laois. Tipp will look back on the opening Laois game and Donegal as lost opportunities but the experience of playing some of Ireland’s top teams who have recently contested for all Ireland honours can only be good for the County in the long term. Our focus was now on Championship and a visit to Semple by All Ireland champions Kerry. Tipp were impressive in the first half and a super goal by Philip Austin gave us hopes for a shock as we only trailed by a point at the break. We were still in the hunt mid-way through the second half until a Bryan Sheehan goal extended Kerry’s lead to six points but Barry Grogan’s immediate reply kept us in touch. Kerry led by Kieran Donaghy finished strong and scored 1-06 as the Tipp rearguard were finally exposed. In the qualifiers six weeks later we faced our Round 1 League conquerors Laois in Semple Stadium. The odds were stacked against us without stalwart defenders Chris Alyward and Ciaran McDonald who gone abroad for summer work but the return of Brian Fox after injury was some compensation. Sean Carey was also missing as he decided to focus his attention on U21 hurling for the remainder of the summer. The game was nip and tuck all the way being level at half time but Tipp managing to keep their noses in front for most it. In injury time with the teams tied on 12 points each, Tipp showed their maturity with a patient build up leading to Brian Mulvihill scoring the winning point. So after a frustrating year to date Tipp finally progressed and were rewarded with a trip to Croke Park to play the Dubs in the second round. This clash was very appropriate in the 90th anniversary of Bloody Sunday when in 1920 Michael Hogan of Grangemockler was shot dead at the Jones Road venue during a game against Dublin. Playing at headquarters live on TV against the highest profile football team in the Country is as good as it has been in a long time for Tipp, but we have come to expect days like this in recent years. After a nervous start in slippery conditions when we trailed by 6 points to one, we gradually worked our way into the game. We responded to a Dublin goal after 20 minutes with an instant reply by Barry Grogan and followed this with our best period to only trail at half time by two points 1-09 to 1-07. We were still in touch with 20 minutes to go and only three points adrift but Dublin turned the screw and took full advantage of our errors in the final quarter to win at ease. So our season came to an end after 13 competitive games over a six month period with losses only to such high profile football Counties as Kerry, Dublin, Kildare, Armagh, and Donegal. Despite being relegated Tipperary prospered in Division 2 and the experience gained should propel us back up there as quickly as possible. We have top class management led by the infectious John Evans who is on a mission to get Tipp football to the top rung of the ladder. Tommy Twomey is a good football analyst and a great support. John Cummins has departed after giving his all to Tipp for the past few years, which is much appreciated. He is replaced next year by one of Tipp’s greatest former players Brian Burke of Fethard. Once again an unkind championship draw pits us away against Kerry but league games at home to Limerick, Westmeath, Wexford and away to Louth, Waterford, Offaly and Cavan are all very possible wins and quick return to Division 2 is forecasted for the Premier County. Tipperary Co. Board will continue to give maximum support and resources to ensure that progress is maintained and we look forward to 2011 with expectation and enthusiasm.

Pride of place in our 2010 football year must go to the U21’s who were contesting their fourth Munster Final in a row. In the semi-final they defeated a Limerick team, who had already overcome Clare, and looked very impressive scoring 16 points mostly from play. Kerry had very easy wins over Waterford and Cork and playing them in a Munster final on their own turf at Austin Stack Park was a daunting task. Tipp had only four of the previous year’s team that suffered that heartbreaking defeat to Cork with a last second goal in Semple Stadium. A Kerry goal after seven minutes gave them a four point lead and it looked like curtains for Tipp. But our back line closed ranks as our mid field gradually got on top and Peter Acheson fed the ball in for Bernard O’Brien to blast a goal five minutes before half time to give us a two point lead at the break. It took Tipp seventeen minutes to score in the second half but Kerry had only managed three points to hold a one point lead with ten minutes to go. Points by Sean Carey and Shane Egan (2) put Tipp two up but a Barry John Walsh free in the final minutes left just the minimum between the sides heading into added time. In an agonising three minutes of added time Tipp attacked and did not allow Kerry up field as we held out for a historic first ever under 21 football Munster Title. Tipp celebrated as a shell shocked Kerry looked on but they were very gracious in defeat. As officers headed for Congress in Newry the U21’s faced an All Ireland semi-final clash with Donegal at Parnell Park on April 17th. The first half was even and very low scoring with both sides missing goal opportunities. Donegal took command early in the second half and Ciaran McDonald’s second yellow meant Tipp were now playing second fiddle. We had no answer to the craft and power of Donegal full forward Michael Murphy and despite a gutsy performance when we attacked right to the end, it was Donegal who marched on to an All Ireland Final date with Dublin. So League promotion in 2008 and 2009, crowned with a provincial title in 2010 was clear indication that football was on the up in Tipperary.

Our Minors headed for Tralee two weeks after our historic U21 victory there, with high hopes of a repeat victory over Kerry. With the same management team under David Power we carried ten of the previous year’s panel who lost to Kerry in the Munster Final by six points. We were boosted by the recent success of the Clonmel High School plus the introduction of football development squads as we headed into the lions den once again. Kerry dominated most of the game and we did well to restrict them to 1-12. Two late goals in injury time put a gloss on the score line but despite this two point defeat, a lot of frailties were shown up and at least we had a play off to try and correct them. Ten days later that play off arrived with Clare at Semple Stadium. It was a dogged encounter with the Banner playing very defensively as they failed to score from play. Mid way through the second half they led 1-03 to 0-04 but after losing their captain with a second yellow, Tipp put in a storming finish which started with a Liam Treacy goal. In a big turnaround Tipp qualified for the semi final and another clash with Cork in Semple Stadium. Once again a slow start allowed Cork build up an eight point lead  by half time. A rejuvenated Tipp surged at Cork in the second half and came within two points of them with four minutes to go, but we could not get that winning goal. Looking at all our three minor games in Munster, if we could only play in the first half like we are dominating second halves? I am sure David Power and his selectors will rectify this and will be encouraged by the timely boast of winning the inaugural U17 Daryl Darcy tournament.

In the Junior Football championship we fell at the first round to Kerry despite a very competitive first half. Tipperary treated this grade as a development squad with all players under 25 and prospects of making the senior team. As such many of the panel came straight from the successful U21 team and /or were on the extended senior training panel. This is surely a formula to persist with into the future with the management team linked to the senior and U21 backroom team.

My colleague Eddie Lonergan outlines all the Match details and scorelines in his Bord Peil report elsewhere in this booklet. Eddie is another victim of the five year rule this year and is forced to step down after a long number of years as secretary of Tipperary Football Board. We thank him for his trojan work for football and his dedicated service. I am sure he will continue to be involved in some role and his advice and experience will still be very much sought after by his successor.

Celebrating with Liam McCarthy

Since claiming that great prize on September 5th, Liam McCarthy has been on an emotional journey around the County and even outside the boundaries of our County and Country. Indeed Captain Eoin Kelly has seen very little of it as he places his requests on the list along with all the others. Naturally enough Eoin’s demands would have to receive priority as his presence is required a bit more than his playing colleagues as can be expected. Once we returned to the County with the trophy a book was opened for orders and I personally took control of it. I felt it was important to keep a personal handle on its whereabouts at all times, as at the end of the day it’s the County Officers responsibility especially if it goes missing or gets damaged. The McCarthy Cup has a magnetic appeal and the fascination with handling it never ceases to amaze me. I have seen people cry with it in their hands as I suppose some felt that we would ever take it from Kilkenny again. Schools were our priority and especially those clubs were players were from. As I complete this report, I am happy to say we have completed our schools visits in the county which is a total of 200 approx. An analysis of this would mean 160 Primary schools, 30 Post Primary and ten special schools. I must pay tribute to my fellow officer Barry O’Brien and Sean Nugent who between them were present at almost all these visits with yours truly picking up those they could not attend. Every school showed so much enthusiasm and appreciation that it lifted our hearts and the players. I must also express my appreciation to the players for their support as they all in turn helped out with the visits in their areas. A special thanks to Brendan Maher, Conor O’Brien and Eoin Kelly who went beyond the call of duty and assisted us on those days when we were desperate for a player’s presence. I would say in our visits to 200 schools we were minus a player on only half dozen or so occasions which is a tribute in itself, when you consider our senior panel included 13 students, 5 teachers, 2 Garda, 5 tradesmen, 5 business / finance and 3 sales reps. It was an eye opener for us on these visits as we heard all the songs from “Any Tipperary Town” to “Slievenamon” “The Mighty Blue & Gold” and of course they all knew “The Tipperary Rap”. Indeed the rapman himself, Johnny “B” toured with us on some occasions and gave a personal rendition much to rapturous applause, and of course I can’t forget Golden’s Johnny Luby who also visited some schools and obliged with his hilarious commentaries. It was encouraging to witness how multi national our schools have become with different races of children from various countries all integrated and celebrating the same as the natives. The hospitality shown to us by schools was much appreciated with numerous cups of tea, buns, tarts, cakes and sandwiches all consumed and very welcome on often long exhausting days. The clubs and divisional officers also joined us in their respective areas and it was great to be able to display a show of strength and unity from all the different levels of the Association. Our Games Development officers co-ordinated the school visits and their assistance was invaluable. It also helped us see at first hand the wonderful work they are doing in all our schools.

Outside of the schools the cup was guest of honour at races, fashions shows, weddings, funerals, birthdays, graduations, civic receptions, masses and many other commercial activities were its presence enhanced the occasion. It has already travelled to London and Boston with further trips to New York, San Francisco and Manchester booked in for the months ahead. The one thing we know is that no matter where he goes Liam McCarthy will be welcomed joyously by Tipperary’s Supporters who have waited nine years to celebrate his presence.

Club Championship Deadlines

Meeting Provincial deadlines is now becoming a big focus for any County C.C. C. Committee. Following the recent snow and frost during the last week of November, the Chairman of Munster Council mentioned bringing forward the dates after many games around the Country had to be postponed. In a year where Tipperary had to complete our SH championship programme by playing on Mondays and Thursday nights under lights its hard to see how any counties reaching All Ireland finals could cope with earlier deadlines. Why is it necessary to commence the Provincial club championships at the year end especially during what is supposed to be a closed season for county players. Could they not commence the following January and play them right through without a break to the All Ireland final, which is St. Patrick’s Day for the senior hurling and football. They could run alongside the Waterford Crystal and McGrath Cups as the qualifying clubs are not expected to have their players play in these competitions anyway. Many managers are questioning the value of competitions like the Waterford Crystal and McGrath Cup coming so soon after the closed season with little or no collective training done. There are many advantages for deferring the commencement of the club championship to the New Year, and it’s hard to justify continuing with the existing practise. So many clubs are forced out to complete County Championships early just to facilitate one club going forward. My suggestion would also allow clubs celebrate their County title without worrying about a Munster fixture the following Sunday. It would also give proper recognition to the “closed season”. Also in a County like Tipperary it would help promote football, as the football championship could start later instead of rushing to meet the early deadlines. Many strong hurling clubs admit they enjoy playing football towards the end of the year but under the current system the championship is over before they get a chance. For example Nenagh got great enjoyment out of winning the County Junior “A” football this year because they were out of the Co. SH Championship earlier than other years.

Senior Hurling Championship Structures

Much debate over the next few weeks will centre on the structure of our Co. SH championship. In fact a few proposals have already come forward which I must say are very commendable. There is much public concern about the number of senior teams in the County which is now at 32. Whatever about reducing senior teams, we definitely cannot allow it exceed 32 which is actually a very workable number. If clubs do not agree to step down to Intermediate, some form of relegation will have to be re-introduced. It’s incredible that clubs who openly admit they are not good enough for senior will not voluntarily step down. When the motion to do away with relegation was brought in a few years ago it was part of a self regulating package. Co. Board allowed clubs who had not won the County Intermediate championship the year before, to go senior but it also asked clubs who could not compete at senior level to step down to Intermediate grade. No club has yet taken that step despite six clubs ascending to senior in recent years so a review must take place and it’s hard to avoid that dreaded word relegation being part of it.

The following should be the core principles of any new County Senior Hurling Championship.

  • Relegation – Co. Knock out competition for all senior teams who fail to win more than one game in their divisions to be played down to one or two who will be relegated.
  • Seamus O’Riain Cup – For all other teams who fail to qualify for semi-finals in their divisions. This competition must be complete before any teams enter the Dan Breen Cup.
  • Dan Breen Cup – For all Divisional semi-finalists plus qualifiers from Seamus O’Riain Cup.

The above may sound simplistic but we must set down guiding principles before we can decide on numbers. We must avoid lopsided games in our County Championship. We must have a definite status for the O’Riain Cup even if it means eight four or two qualifying at different stages for the Dan Breen Cup. Finally teams who cannot compete at Senior Level must be relegated if they don’t go back voluntarily.

Tickets & Attendances

We have seen in the past year a drop in attendances at most of our games and this reflects in overall revenue income which in turn has a knock effect on finance available for Capital expenditure and day to day running expenses. Maybe it sounds like another budget but I suppose it’s all connected with the current economic downturn affecting all and sundry including the GAA. As a County we need to tackle our own gates income and I do believe we must address the match passes issue. At the moment we have over 1200 free passes in the County and these are divided as follows: 72 clubs x 6 per club = 432 approx, 114 x 5 referees & umpires = 570 approx, others inc officers Co. Selectors, Past Players = 250 approx.

On any given club championship match day almost half the attendance have some form of match pass which also included the stadium term tickets when in that venue. The following measures are currently being considered:

  • Club Passes should only give free access to your own club games.
  • Umpires who qualify for passes must undergo training and reach a certain standard of qualification. They should also be on a central pooling list and available to all referees within their division.
  • We are also considering the re-introduction of photos on passes which will be credit card style including bar coding for scanning.

Ticket prices at Inter County games are also being reviewed even though I believe the GAA give better value than most sports. The family packages which allow a child in the stand for just €5 is now very popular especially as the quality of these tickets have improved. The new club package which offered a minimum of 50 stand tickets to a club at €10 each was very attractive in 2010 once clubs became aware of it. Then we had the juvenile groups which allowed one adult free entry with every ten juveniles. So one would have to admit there was good value available when you also add in the OAP and student concessions plus the season ticket for which Tipperary had the biggest uptake in hurling with 750 applicants. I believe we can even go further by grading the price of match tickets by quality and comfort. In other words the people who want the best seats should pay more with the end of field tickets costing less and the lower down tickets even less again especially if you are exposed to the elements. Terrace tickets are too expensive as I highlighted last year and this was borne out by the poor demand in 2010. The price one pays to stand up watching a game on a cold exposed terrace usually at the end of the field, should be far cheaper than those where supporters sit in covered accommodation in the centre of the field. Why would a person who can sit down with a club package ticket at €10, pay to stand up in a terrace for more than double that price. I also believe the supporters who pre-book their ticket at least one week prior to the game should be offered a discount and maybe a surcharge on those who walk up on the day of the game to buy their ticket. We should introduce sliding scale ticket prices which might be an administration nightmare but I am sure would be compensated by an early demand. Finally in an effort to promote the game in the respective weaker Counties, the season tickets should cover both codes. In a County like Tipperary it might improve attendances at our League Football games.

Discipline and Referees

It ironic in a year when assaults on referees were making National headlines, we had forty new referees completing a course during November. As we embark on our strategic plan this is encouraging as recruitment of referees is a priority plus the whole area of continued assessment in order to optimise consistency. The one area I am concerned with is sideline behaviour especially at our club games. Whenever administrators try to bring in measures that will raise the standards of our match presentation we are accused of doing away with traditions. Yet many of the ugly incidents that occur in relation to assaults on refs and match brawls occur because there are too many unauthorised people on the sideline.

Co. C.C.C. in many games has to employ stewards to patrol the sideline and enforce the restrictions. We have got to get the message across to club officers that only a limited number of personnel who have a duty to perform are allowed inside the pitch enclosure. At Inter-County level we have to obey Croke Park regulations and any breaches incur heavy fines. The fourth official notes all transgressions and Central C.C.C. impose the fines which for Tipperary, came to many thousand euros in 2010. Maybe this is the route to take with clubs as many are not heeding our warnings. Regarding Croke Park C.C.C. Tipperary water caries suffered their wrath on a few occasions this year. Our kit man John “Hotpoint” Hayes was banned from the pitch enclosure for the All Ireland final for numerous incursions in the semi-final. Following an appeal heard on the morning of the final, we got a small reprieve which allowed him access to the pitch prior to the throw in. After that he was confined to the substitute’s seats in the stand. Incidentally his replacement Mick Clohessy and our other water carrier James Woodlock also broke the same rules on All Ireland final day and they are banned for our first game in 2011. I believe this whole area of bringing water to players must be looked at as current practice is medically unsafe. Throwing in water bottles is clearly dangerous and expecting players to come to the sideline during the heat of battle is unworkable. Players need water constantly on very hot days to keep the body hydrated and we must find a way to get it to them. I am suggesting a few time-out periods like in Basketball at the discretion of the referee when water carriers could run around to each player. The referee could call these during an injury to a player or after a score. Two of these “time-outs” per half would be sufficient with maybe double that during very hot days. I think this would eliminate a lot of these fines and also be medically acceptable.

“The Premier Plan”

Tipperary’s Strategic Visions and Action Plan will be launched in the spring of 2011. Over the past twelve months we have engaged in a consultative process with officials, club members and players in the development of the plan commencing with the club forum held in January this year in the Anner Hotel. A steering Committee was appointed during the year and we now meet regularly to bring the plan to completion stage. It’s a small active committee consisting of myself as Chairman, Ger Ryan, John Smyth, Ed Donnelly, Michael Bourke, Dinny Maher and Denis Floyd, who is co-ordinating the plan. Once the County plan is launched the focus will be on clubs to formulate their own plans. I know one club who have already completed theirs and others have plans in place. These are many challenges facing the Association over the next five years and all our units must be prepared.

Pride in your local club

I was privileged to be present at the recent launch of the Galtee Rovers club history and it really brought home to me the strength of the GAA in a community. It seemed like the whole parish was packed into the GAA centre which also serves as the community hall and there was so much pride in what the club had achieved over its 125 years of existence. In the course of GAA presidents Christy Cooney’s address he said that Galtee Rovers club was not unique as he had experienced this great sense of community leadership in most clubs he visited. I believe no other sports body or association can boast of such involvement or influence in society. Tens of thousands of volunteers contribute so much of their time, energy and talent to the activities and development of the GAA. The sense of pride in your place and the love of your community is seen in GAA clubs the length and breadth of the Country. The parish rule in Tipperary plays a big part in this loyalty to your locality as it forbids the free movement of players between clubs. Very often this rule is tested with dubious transfer requests where a player may have had a falling out or is lured by the more successful club. Very often where the transfer request is turned down on issues of residency the player eventually returns and plays with his own local club. It is always a joy to watch the star County player, giving his all to win the County title for his local club and very often they get more enjoyment from it as there is less pressure in trying to tie down your place on the team.

Whilst other sporting clubs come and go it is very rare for a GAA club in a parish to go out of existence. Clubs have their peaks and valley periods and standards may drop but they will always hang in there hoping for better days ahead. Competitions are structured to suit all standards and clubs slot in where they can compete best. The die hard element in the local GAA club will always ensure there is someone to fill the vital positions and keep the show on the road. These die hards are always watching out for the new residents in the parish and their potential as a player, a coach or a club officer. The local GAA club is the perfect starting point for a new resident to integrate into the community and become a real member of the parish.

Remembering Past Heroes

  • Moycarkey Borris SH Co. Champions 1982 & 84 were honoured at the Co. SH final this year and a wonderful weekend was celebrated by the group as they got together on the previous night to collect the club ties presented by the club. On the Sunday morning they met in the Dome at Semple Stadium for light refreshments and beverages before being presented to the crowd at half time of the Co. SH final. The celebration dinner was held in the Ragg were a presentation was made to each player of a framed picture of the team photo taken earlier that day in the Stadium. Once again The Ragg Lounge and Tipperary Star gave their financial support to the event.
  • Galtee Rovers SF champions 1976/77/80 were honoured at the Co. SF Final. They also met in the Dome before the game before being presented to the crowd at half time. Their celebration dinner was held in The Park Hotel Clonmel where they also received framed pictures of the team taken earlier that day. Our thanks to the Nationalist and Park Hotel for their financial support and to Pat Carey, John Costigan and Seamus King for their dedication to this function every year which was most apprecaited.
  • Laochra Gael awards were presented this year by his Grace Archbishop Dermot Clifford to 32 deserving recipients who had reached or passed the mandatory age of 70 years to qualify. Eoin Kelly was special guest and John Ryan (Holycross Ballycahill) spoke on behalf of the recipients. The full list of recipients were:

Mid: John Ryan Holycross Ballycahill, Michael Smyth Clonakenny, Joe Tuohy Holycross & Cork, Tom Collum JK Brackens, Sean McLoughlin Sarsfields, Joan Ryan Upperchurch Drombane, Con Ryan Drom & Inch, Sean Barry Moycarkey Borris, Fr. John Joe O’Rourke Gortnahoe Glengoole.

South: Tom Bready Clogheen Handball, Paddy Maher Clonmel Handball,  Nicky O’Shea Fethard, Michael Moroney Fr. Sheehys, Paddy O’Dwyer Newcastle, Mick Morrissey Moyle Rovers, Liam Boland Commercials, Paddy Arrigan Carrick Davins.

North: Neil Williams Toomevara, Jack Pyne Inane Rovers, John Keating Ardfinnan, Paddy Maher Moneygall, Tom Cleary Kilruane MacDonaghs, PJ Starr Shannon Rovers, Paddy Kelly Kildangan, Seamus Ryan Templederry, Dermot Burke Ballinahinch.

West: Sean McManus Emly, Michael Ryan (RIP) Eire Óg Anacarty, Martin O’Dwyer Eire Óg Anacarty, TJ O’Dwyer Sean Treacys, Larry Roche Galtee Rovers, Jack Ivory Aherlow, Johnny Slattery Lattin Cullen.

The Dome facility proved once again that it’s ideal for this type of function with its easy access and spacious car park close by. Thanks to John Costigan (Chairman), Michael O’Meara (Secretary) and Committee members Noel Morris. Pat Moroney, Seamus McCarthy and Seamus King for their trojan work with this event. I think we had a record attendance purchasing tickets this year which was very satisfying for the organisers. Maybe this is a sign there is greater scope to make it an even bigger entertainment event with musical guests as part of the show maybe from Scór and involving the cultural committee.


Tipperary All Stars: Brendan Cummins, Paul Curran, Eoin Kelly, Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath and Lar Corbett. They were joined by Padraig Maher on the GPA teams of 2010. Lar Corbett was also crowned hurler of the year and Brendan Maher received the Young Hurler of the Year award. Seamus Hennessey received the Bórd Gáis “Breakthrough Player of the Year” award for U21 Hurling. Brendan Cummins now has over 60 appearances in the Tipp SH jersey and kept clean sheets for at least 15 of them.

Donie Nealon: received the Hall of Fame award from the Tipp Dublin Association in 2010 and was honoured at the junction that presented rugby player Alan Quinlan with the Tipperary person of the year.

Cahir GAA History was launched in December 2009 and received a McNamee award for the best club history. It’s called “Memories and Achievements” and was written by Colm O’Flaherty and Mattie Hussey

Galtee Rovers/St. Pecauns: launched their club history called “Watch the short Kickout” on December 4th 2010 and was written by Liam Bergin and Seamus McCarthy.

Micheál Ó’Muirchearthaigh: retired following the broadcast of his last All Ireland Finals in 2010. For 60 years he brought games to life to supporters home and abroad. He was recently guest of honour at the Civic Reception honouring the All Ireland SH & U21 teams at Bru Ború and also special guest at the Medal Presentation Banquet in Dundrum House Hotel.

Jimmy “Butler” Coffey who celebrated his 101st Birthday in October 2010 won an All Minor Medal in 1930 and a Senior Medal in 1937.

Scór Winners: Borrisileigh Set Dancers and Solo Singer Noirín Ryan, Clonoulty-Rossmore who won Munster titles in Senior Scór during 2010.

Munster Council Awards

At the Munster Council Awards on November 27th 2010, Tipperary received awards for the following:

Media Awards: Michael Dundon Tipperary Star

Service In Education: Tom Collum JK Brackens

Club of the Year: Thurles Sarsfields

Hall of Fame in Hurling: Mick Roche Carrick Davins

U21 Hurling Player of Championship: Seamus Hennessy Kilruane MacDonaghs

U21 Football Player of Championship: Peter Acheson Moyle Rovers

Cumann Na mBunscoil: on another wonderful year culminating with their hurling and camogie finals at Semple Stadium in June and their football finals during November. They also ran mini sevens and participated in the Munster Championship Primary Games. We are fortunate to have excellent personnel in charge and long may their enthusiasm last.

Post Primary Schools: who had another memorable year in 2010. Pride of place must go to the Tipperary Vocational Schools on their All Ireland SH victory over Kilkenny in Semple Stadium. The Clonmel CBS High School also won Munster and All Ireland honours in Senior “B” Football along with Munster U16 Football and Munster U15 Hurling. Thurles CBS were in hard luck not to retain the Harty Cup following two replays with Ard Scoil Rís Limerick. Munster titles were also won by Colaiste Phobail Roscrea, Nenagh Vocational School and Colaiste Dún Iascaigh Cahir.

Tipperary Handball Board: on 28 All Ireland titles in 2010 and also on hosting some All Irelands Finals in Thurles plus the National Handball Congress in March.

Tipperary Under 16 Hurling: team on winning the Tipperary Supporters Club All Ireland Final in Semple Stadium by beating Galway for the second year in a row. Well done to the County and West Bord na nÓg for hosting the event in their division.


During 2010 we lost some great Gaels both young and old, male and female. The following are a few who I feel deserve special mention for their outstanding service to the Association and who had close links to the County Board at some level.

Mick Frawley (Lisobyhane Emly) served at all levels of the Association from Chairman of West Board, Chairman of County Board, Chairman of Munster Council and Trustee in Croke Park. He was Chairman of Tipperary Co. Board during centenary year and the hosting of the All Ireland SH final in Semple Stadium was one of his proudest moments. In recent years he dedicated much of his time towards the promotion of football in Tipperary and served for many years as Cathaoirleach An Bórd Péil. I personally worked very close with Mick in the early years of Tipperary GAA Draw when he chaired the draw committee from 1987 to 1994. And his dedication and energy drove us all to making the draw a great success.

Sean Mockler (Loughmore Castleiney) served as Mid Chairman and Chairman of Tipperary Football Board as well as being a gate checker and steward. But it was as a Loughmore Castleiney stalwart he will be best remembered as a player in the fifties and sixties, club Chairman at different stages, Club delegate to Board meetings, team trainer and selector and a follower of every team that wore the green and red from under 10 to senior in hurling and football.

Paddy Boland (Carrick Swans) was the longest serving club secretary in South Board history having acted for 42 years. He was to the forefront in the development of Davin Park and served on South and County Appeals for many years. Paddy was a great personal friend of mine as he was Draw Co-Ordinator with Carrick Swans since the launch of the draw in 1987. His smiling face and cheerful attitude was always uplifting.

Biddy Philips (Thurles) was a prominent Camogie referee with the All Ireland of 1997 being her biggest game. She was manager of the Tipperary senior Camogie team that won the O’Duffy Cup for the first time in 1999 and also treasurer of Tipperary Camogie Board from 1988 to 2000.

Bob Stakelum (Holycross Ballycahill) won an All Ireland senior hurling medal in 1949 and County titles with his club in 1948/51/54. He was also a referee, with the 1955 All Ireland SH final his biggest game. He was President of the Mid Board since 1993 and he also wrote the history of his native Holycross Ballycahill GAA club.

Mick Cowan (Borrisoleigh & Moyne Templetuohy) played with Tipperary at Minor, under 21 and Junior Football and captained the County SH team in 1972. He won Co. SH titles with Moyne Templetuohy in 1971 and Borrisoleigh in 1981/83/86 culminating in the All Ireland SH club championship in 1986/87. With his wife Brid, they always made you feel welcome at Stapleton’s Bar in Borrisoleigh.

Mick Gavin (Commercials) was the last surviving member of the Tipperary minor Football panel in 1934 that brought the only All Ireland title to the County.

James McKeogh (Ballina) was a goalkeeper with Ballina and moved to Na Fianna in Dublin where he won a Co. Junior Hurling medal in 2009. He worked with O.M.C. on the Aviva Stadium Project up to his intimely tragic death in a car accident in January 2010.

Betty Ryan (Thurles) that lovely silver haired lady always had a smile and pleasant word to greet you from behind the bar in the Sarsfields Centre. She was mother of Andy Ryan (GDA) and sister of Andy O’Gorman (Gortnahoe).

Marcus De Búrca Was a celebrated GAA historian journalist and barrister. He was recognised as a Tipperary man though born in Dublin where his father was a legal adviser to the GAA while his grandfather “Bourke the handicapper” was a leading figure in athletics in Co. Tipperary. Marcus was best know for his history of the Gaelic Athletic Association called “The GAA – History” which was launched in 1980 and updated and expanded in 2000 to give an account of the first century of the GAA. He also wrote the controversial book called “Murder at Marlhill” and was editor of the “Tipperary Historical Journal” across three decades.

Club members and supporters all have their special memories of loved ones lost during 2010 and we remember all of them at convention.

“Ar dheis De go raibh anamacha na mairbh go léir”

In Conclusion

Winning an All Ireland transforms an ordinary run of the mill year into bedlam especially in the months after the occasion. Schools visits, commercial cup demands, night functions, oversees trips with the cup etc. means a lot of planning and logistical manoeuvring to accommodate all the demands. The appointment of new selectors midst all of this was an added and unexpected dilemma. Planning the team holiday is a major undertaking but our PRO Ger Ryan has become an expert on foreign affairs and once again he has taken on that responsibility. Fundraising to finance the trip is a necessity and at least we had a head start with the fund raiser in the weeks leading up to the All Ireland which yielded a profit of €70k approx. The team photo was taken under floodlights in Semple Stadium on October 10th and sale of these should raise a further €30k to €40k in the run up to Christmas. A corporate event is also being planned around the opening league game v Kilkenny under floodlights at Semple Stadium in February. Ahead of that we have our medal presentation banquet which will be a very special occasion with All Ireland SH & U21 plus Munster U21 Hurling & Football to be presented in Dundrum House Hotel on December 18th. Then of course we have County Convention on December 20th which will bring the curtain down on a very special year.

Our top table worked very close together during 2010 with regular meetings to update each others progress. Whilst meetings maybe time consuming especially for my fellow voluntary officers, I think it’s vital for consultation as well as bouncing ideas off each other and sharing responsibilities. It also leads to more efficient Co. Management meetings were much progress is made in advance of major decisions being ratified. I would encourage clubs to also adopt this policy of regular officer meeting as it leads to more unity amongst officer and less conflict as a result of independent opinions expressed or decisions made in isolation. To Barry, Sean, Eamon and Ger I express my sincere thanks for their support and co-operation throughout the year and it was a pleasure to celebrate the wonderful year with them at my side. Our Assistant Treasurer, John Donovan has been a great help to Eamon and myself at gates, draws and tickets and I am sure we will be drawing on his services a lot more now as he steps down as Mid Treasurer. Tom Maher is a top class C.C.C. secretary as can be seen from the efficient running of all our championships this year and both he and Sean Nugent as CCC Chairman received great support from their colleagues on the C.C.C. Committee. 2011 will see a lot of new faces on Co CCC with the departure of Ger McKeogh, Catherine Gleeson, Jerry Ring, Ed Lonergan and Neil Ryan due to the enforcement of the Five Year Rule. We thank all of them for their support and co-operation over the years and we wish them luck in whatever new roles they take on. Our executive meetings are now more streamlined and focus on urgent issues rather than a rehash of the County Board meetings. Michael Bourke continues to work very close with clubs assisting with Development plans and securing grants. Nicholas Moroney’s role as coaching officer continues to expand and with Co. Games Manager Dinny Maher and their Coaching Committee plus the four G.D.A.’s they have developed a network model which is a template for many GAA Co. Boards. Seosamháin Ni Chathail took over as Cultural Officer this year and she has great ideas and enthusiasm to make a big impact once she comes to terms with her role. John Smyth as Youth Officer has embraced many duties with enthusiasm which include ASAP and Childrens Officer plus assisting Jim Lynch with the whole vetting process and he even finds time to act as secretary and editor to the Year Book. He is a wonderful addition to the County Board. All the different committees have produced their own reports which are included in this Convention Booklet and I want to thank them all for their contribution and support. Finally to my fellow staff in Lár Na Páirce a Míle Buiochas for the loyalty, support and good humour at all times. It was a marvellous year especially that week from Sept 5th to Sept 12th and a just reward for all the hard work put in by everyone.

Níl aon dabht fé ach go bhfuil cúis cheiliútha againn i dTiobraid Árann i mbliana.  Tá súil agam go dtógfar ar na buanna sin amach anseo agus go mbeidh an contae seo ina eiseamláir ag contaetha ar fud na tíre i gcúrsaí spóirt.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

Tadhg De Flóid

Rúnaí Choiste Chontae (December 2010)

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