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Tipperary Ladies Through to All-Ireland semi-Final

posted by Friends of Tipperary FootballFriends of Tipperary Football on Sun Aug 13, 2017

We extend our congratulations to the Tipperary ladies football team who overcame the challenge of Wexford today in the All-Ireland intermediate quarter-final on a scoreline of 2-15 to 3-11.

The teams were level at the end of normal time 1-12 to 2-9 and a superb effort in extra time saw the Premier emerge victorious by one point.

Three is a Magic Number – Tipperary’s Three Munster Titles in 1935

posted by Friends of Tipperary FootballFriends of Tipperary Football on Tue Aug 08, 2017

Three is a Magic Number – Tipperary’s Three Munster Titles in 1935

Schoolhouse Rock! was an American TV series of short animated musical educational programs that aired in the United States on Saturday mornings on ABC and ran from 1973 to 1985. It was revived in 1993 for another seven seasons. David McCall came up with the idea for the show when he noticed one of his children was having difficulties remembering multiplication tables but could remember lyrics to songs without any problems. He enlisted Bob Dorough who wrote all the “Multiplication Rock” songs including his most famous Three is a Magic Number. The lyrics include many reasons as to why three is a magic number and incorporated the three times tables aiding children in learning their maths. The song was also used by TV3 in the early days of the station as its signature tune. Had Dorough been a Tipperary GAA fan there’s every reason to believe that he might have referred to the year 1935 when Tipperary captured three Munster football titles ensuring that three and 1935 became a magical number in the history of Tipperary football.


Our senior, junior and minor football teams, along with the minor hurlers, all delivered provincial titles but unfortunately none reached the summit of All-Ireland glory.



The minors began their campaign with a trip to Ennis and came away from Clare with a 0-8 to 0-4 win over the hosts before accounting for Cork in the Munster final in Fermoy 3-5 to 0-4. They defeated Ulster champions Donegal in the semi-final 3-3 to 2-3 before coming unstuck against Mayo in the All-Ireland decider 1-1 to 1-6 in what was revenge for the Westerners following Tipperary’s win over them the previous year in the All-Ireland semi-final which turned out to be the de facto final as Dublin and Tyrone, who had come through the other side of the draw, were eliminated for fielding illegal players.


Munster Semi-Final (30 June 1935)

Tipperary 0-8

Clare 0-4


This game was the curtain raiser for the senior encounter between the same sides. Played in Ennis it was the home side who did the early running. Clare saw an early goal-bound shot saved but moments later pointed to open the scoring. Tipperary quickly equalized but Clare were again unfortunate not to goal when “McGrath had bad luck in striking the upright for what seemed a certain goal”. The Tipperary goalkeeper came in for particular praise in the Cork Examiner with them reporting “the Tipperary custodian saved some difficult shots, and just before half-time intensive efforts by Clare failed, Tipperary’s defense holding well”.


In the second half Clare were again unlucky not to goal “when a low ball by Slattery, having passed the custodian, just cleared the upright on the wrong side, and again when Fitzpatrick, close up, struck the post when a point was certain”. The Irish Press reported that the contest “produced some spectacular flashes of individual play, notably those provided by Ginger Slattery on the Clare side. The scorers for the winners were Power, Hickey, Greensmyth and Treacy. For Clare the scorers were Hennessey, McGrath, Slattery and Fitzpatrick”.


Munster Final V Cork (21 July 1935)

Tipperary 3-5

Cork 0-4


Tipperary ran out comfortable winners in the Munster final against Cork which was played in Fermoy. The Irish Press reported that “Cork were first to score when the Tipp. goalie put over his own bar in endeavoring to save a close-in shot”. According to the Nenagh Guardian “Cork took charge from the start” “and maintained a steady pressure on the Tipperary backs before relief was effected”.    Greensmyth scored the Tipperary goal and at half-time Tipperary led by 1-2 to 0-2.


In the second-half Greensmyth goaled again only for it to be disallowed but shortly after Jimmy Hickey made amends with a goal of his own. Greensmyth was rewarded for all his efforts with a second goal of his own and Tipperary’s third to seal victory 3-6 to 0-4.


Tipperary: E. Smyth, A. Quirke, T. Kenny, W. Hennessy, M. Gavin, M. Flynn, E. Mythen, C. Dillon, W. Treacy, J. Hickey, W. Donohue, H. Greensmyth, W. Power, O’ Mara, Rafferty.


Cork: J. Kelleher, J. Lynch, F. Holly, J. O’ Dwyer, C. O’ Leary, D. O’ Connor, P. Brosnan, V. Carr, J. O’ Reilly, T. Ashe, A. Mulcahy, J. Ring, E. Casey, W. Lysaght, G. Lowery


Referee: Mr. D. Ryan (Tralee).

All-Ireland semi-final (19 August 1935)

Tipperary 3-3

Donegal 2-3


The Nenagh Guardian reported that our minors “were hard set” to beat Donegal after the Ulster side put “up a great fight for the laurels in the All-Ireland semi-final”. “The Northern players were a nippy lot who fought every inch of the way, and with a little luck, might have signalised their first appearance at headquarters in this grade by carrying off the honours of the day”.


However, it was Tipperary who carried the day and our “defense proved the stumbling block to the Donegal forwards”. “Kenny, Hennessy, Gavin, Flynn were the outstanding players in this end, Greensmyth, Rafferty and Treacy also doing well”.


“Hickey going right through for a goal”, “Greensmyth goaling from a ruck” and “there was a good deal of loose play before Rafferty raced through for a goal that made the half-time score Tipperary 3-1, Donegal 1-3”.


Donegal piled on huge pressure in the second half and reduced the margin to a solitary score before two late points from Hickey sealed the win and Tipperary marched on to the All-Ireland final on a full-time score of Tipperary 3-3 Donegal 2-3.


All-Ireland Final (22 September 1935)

Tipperary 1-1

Mayo 1-6


There was little between these sides in the opening half as a penalty goal for Mayo was cancelled out when Power fisted to the net after great combination play from Greensmyth and Rafferty. Mayo kicked two more points to leave it 1-2 to 1-0 in favour of the Westerners at the break.


Mayo started the second brightly and kicked an early point and piled huge pressure onto the Tipperary backs but they managed to prevent any three-pointers from being scored. Tipp were handed a lifeline with a penalty of their own which would have brought them right back into contention but unfortunately Hickey failed to convert the chance. With O Meara and Dillon playing well at mid-field there was always a chance and Hickey scored Tipperary’s solitary point in the game midway through the second half but unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Connacht side ran out five point winners.


This was Tipperary’s last All-Ireland minor football final appearance until 1955.


Tipperary: M. Gavin, E O’ Meara, W. Treacy, H. Greensmyth, E. Smith, P. Quinn, M. Flynn, W. McCarthy, R. Dillon, J. Hickey, P. Rafferty, T. Kenny, W. Hennessy, W. O Donoghue, W. Power.


Referee: Mr. P.J. Masterson (Cavan).



The juniors easily accounted for Clare in Carrick on Suir in the Munster semi-final 7-3 to 0-5 before facing Cork in Dungarvan in the Munster final. This turned out to be a very one-sided affair with Premier easily winning 4-10 to 0-3. Next up was the meeting with the Leinster champions Offaly which Tipperary emerging winners by four points, 5-2 to 2-7. In Birr, in the All-Ireland final Tipperary came unstuck against Sligo 2-5 to 4-2.

Munster Junior semi-final (7th July 1935)

Tipperary 7-3

Clare 0-5


This game was part of a double bill in Carrick on Suir as the senior hurlers took on Waterford in the Munster championship and had a facile 8-4 to 1-2 win. The junior footballers also won at their ease. There was a very brief report on this encounter in the Nenagh Guardian:


“In a junior football game between Tipperary and Clare, previous to the big game, Tipperary paved the way for a very strong double brought off by the county. Clare started well but they fell away hopelessly after a short time and Tipperary emerged victorious by the large margin of 7-3 to 0-5”.

Munster final

Tipperary 4-10

Cork 0-3


This win ensured that Tipperary completed the Munster treble in Gaelic football in what was a momentous year for the big ball in the Premier.


William Hallinan opened the scoring early on with a point and from here Tipperary never looked back and Hallinan was again in the action as he got back on the goal line and saved a net bound shot which might have given Cork a much needed first-half boost.


A nice passing movement saw Jack Gunn get Tipperary’s first goal of the game which was quickly followed with one of his own by Andy Greensmyth. With Tipperary playing “a more steady game” it was no surprise that they entered the half-time break leading 2-3 to 0-3.


Before Cork had a chance to stage a second-half come-back Jack Gunn and Mick Connors registered early points. Tipp grew in confidence and their kicking and fielding was superb throughout while their “forwards rarely lost a scoring chance”. Gunn scored a third goal “that might have been averted” and Tipperary added a fourth just before full-time when Mick Connors finished a great move involving Gunn and Michael Byrne.


Tipperary: John Condon, William Hallinan, Christy Allen, George Grey, Donohue, Paddy Shelly, Savage, Tom Power, Ted Boyle, Andy Greensmyth, Michael Byrne, Larry Power, Phil O’ Leary, Jack Gunn, Mick Connors.


Referee: Mr. P. Whelan (Dungarvan)



All-Ireland semi-final (8th September 1935)

Tipperary 5-2

Offaly 2-7


Offaly made three changes from the one that conquered Leinster for this game in Portarlington and according to the Nenagh Guardian it did little to improve their side as their “high but short kicking” failed to make any input upon Tipperary. Their “forwards gave a disappointing display and were completely off colour” while Tipperary “who were on the lighter side gave a good display”.


“C. Allen was a great full-back with M. Savage and P. Donohue also good defenders, fielding well and kicking with length. P. Shelly and G. Gray were good about midfield and the forwards were well led by A. Greensmyth”.


Christy Allen cleared a ball out from the Tipperary goalmouth which found Paddy Shelly who in turn fed Andy Greensmyth, who had earlier pointed, and he blasted home Tipperary’s opening goal after thirteen minutes of play.


At half-time Tipperary led 1-1 to 0-3.


Offaly scored two early points through T Mullhall and T O’ Connor to give them the lead but Jack Gunn goaled shortly after and Kissane quickly followed this up with another for Tipperary. Gunn and Kissane got two more Tipperary goals when Kildare’s P. Watters blew for full-time the Premier were leading 5-2 to 1-7. Unfortunately, the match report in the Guardian does not say who got Tipperary’s fifth goal.


All-Ireland final (29th September 1935)

Tipperary 2-5

Sligo 4-2


Sligo, confident after their win over Ulster champions Armagh, were Tipperary’s opponents in the All-Ireland final in Birr and playing with the wind “in wretched conditions” they established a 4-2 to 1-2 half-time lead.


The Irish Press reported that Sligo played with “rare abandon and verve” and had scored three early goals “before the Munster champions had settled down” through M. Stenson, P. Brennan and F. Henry. At this stage things looked very bleak for Tipperary until a great break from “the dynamic force” Andy Greensmyth forced a foul which Brendan Kissane converted for Tipp’s first score. Jack Gunn scored a second after good work from Kissane and Ted Boyle.


Suddenly Tipperary were right back in the match when Kissane picked out Phil O’ Leary who played a great ball to Jack Gunn who blasted home a goal. Things were looking up at this stage for the Premier until disaster struck for a fourth time when an O’ Donovan free somehow ended up in John Condon’s net for a fourth Sligo goal.




Tipperary 1-2

Sligo 4-2


To their credit Tipperary did not give up despite the nine-point half-time disadvantage and fought bravely in the second-half to rescue the game. They were rewarded for their efforts with points from Gunn and Kissane (2) and Paddy Shelly set up Gunn for his second goal.


Tipperary piled on the pressure and “with only a goal separated them in the closing minutes, there were some exciting passages in which brilliant Tipperary forward work was foiled by a sterling Western defense” and unfortunately, they failed to get that elusive goal.


This was Sligo’s first ever All-Ireland title and the supporters and players were naturally “elated at their success”.


Tipperary: J. Condon, W. Hallinan, C. Allen, G. Gray, P. O’ Donoghue, P. Shelly, M. Savage (captain), T. Power, T. Boyle, A. Greensmyth, M. Byrne, B. Kissane, P. O’ Leary, J. Gunn, M. Connors.


Sligo: M. McGovern, J. Carty, M. Kennedy, P. Tiernan, O. Harte, M. Waters, J. Scanlon (captain), C. Curran, J. Quinn, M. Scanlon, P. Brennan, F. Henry, M. Stenson, J O’ Donnell, S. Tansey.


Referee: S. Jordan T.D. (Galway).



The seniors played three matches in 1935. Their first was the Munster semi-final against Clare in Ennis which Tipperary won 1-8 to 0-8. In the Munster final, they faced Cork in Fermoy comfortably winning 2-8 to 1-2 before Cavan ended their hopes of All-Ireland glory winning with a dramatic last minute goal in Croke Park 0-8 to 1-7.

Munster Semi-Final (30 June 1935)

Tipperary 1-8

Clare 0-8

Tipperary held out for a one-goal victory in the Munster semi-final against Clare in Ennis. The Irish Press reported that there was “great excitement amongst spectators” in the closing stages of the game as “one goal for Clare would make the contest a draw. Three times they brought the ball to within striking distance of Tipperary’s net, but the visitors held their ground and ran out well deserved winners”.


The game started brightly for the hosts as immediately after the throw-in P. O’ Reilly pointed for Clare and they doubled their advantage as Michael O’ Dowd collected the resultant kick-out and pointed. A Clare free and fisted Tom Stack point gave the Banner a 0-4 to 0-0 lead inside the opening five minutes and things looked ominous for Tipperary.


Tipperary settled after Clare’s “lighting-like” start and Dick Allen settled proceedings with a well taken point before Dick Power of Clonmel Shamrocks added a second. Both teams traded points through Keane (Clare) and Kieran Holland (JK Brackens).


Tipperary took the lead just before half-time when Jim Noonan (St. Patrick’s) won a Clare kick-out and fed possession, with a low ball, to Walter Scott (Mullinahone) “who banged into the net for Tipperary’s first goal” to leave it 1-3 to 0-5 at the break.


Tipperary dominated the second half with points from Chris Allen (Fethard), Michael Condon (Ardfinnan) and Holland (2) while Comerford, White and Sweeney responded for Clare. But try as they might the Banner couldn’t break down a resolute Tipp defense for the all-important goal and Tipperary marched on into the Munster final.


Munster Final (21 July 1935)

Tipperary 2-8

Cork 1-2

And so, it was onto Fermoy to face Cork in the Munster final which Tipperary won by nine-points due in no short measure to a great Premier defense and several fine saves from goal-keeper Jim Williams, described as a “stone wall” in the Cork Examiner. Both teams were led onto the field of play by the Thomas Kent Pipers Band and the national anthem was performed by the Confraternity Brass and Reed Band, Fermoy.


The venue was described as an “admirable enclosure” by the Cork Examiner with the journalist noting that the venue was the result of the “spirited enterprise of the townspeople” and not even the rain that fell before and during the match could take away from the facilities on offer but it did affect the play with “the ball consequently becoming greasy and difficult to control but some really good football was seen”.


Cork did create a few chances but due to relentless pressure from the Tipperary rearguard they were unable to convert them into scores on the board. The Tipperary attack were very efficient scoring most of the opportunities that presented themselves. The Nenagh Guardian reported that “Cork showed better speed, were as well able to field the ball and gave a fine display of combination but were no match for their opponents in the matter of scoring ability” and “the contest furnished a splendid object lesson on advantages of finesse, in which Tipperary had the mastery”.

Tipperary it seems, were happy to play their own brand of defensive football, happy to sit back in their own half and thwart the Cork attack “but when Tipperary did get over the midfield line, they were quicker to take advantage of their opportunities, and showed themselves to be more accurate and better finishers”. Nenagh’s Robert McGann came in for a lot of praise for breaking up numerous Cork attacks.


This was Tipperary’s first Munster championship title since 1922 when they defeated Limerick 1-7 to 0-1. In the intervening period, they had reached seven deciders but were unlucky in defeat each time.


An interesting sub-plot to this Munster championship was the decision made by Kerry to withdraw from the championship, at all grades, in protest at the treatment of Republican prisoners in the Curragh, Kildare. Kerry demanded that the prisoners be released or at least have their conditions improved.

Tipperary: R. Power, T. Williams, M O’ Keeffe, R. Lonergan, M. Morrissey, W. Purcell, E. Scott, W. Scott, P. Dennehy, J. McGann, P O’ Brien, M. Weldon, R. Allen, J. Nunan, K. Holland.


Cork: M. Hennessey, G. Andrews, G. Kelleher, J. Burke, T. Harrington. J. Harrington, T. Cotter, J. Cummins, F. Healy, S. O’ Sheahan, W. Lynch, M Duggan, P. Houlihan, D. O’ Sullivan, J O’ Regan.



All-Ireland Semi-Final (18 August 1935)

Tipperary 0-8

Cavan 1-7


Tipperary marched on to face Ulster champions Cavan in the All-Ireland semi-final and were rank outsiders going into the contest but the gods looked unfavourably upon them and a late controversial last ditch goal by Hugh O’ Reilly stole the game from the Premier.



Tipperary entered injury time winning by a solitary point and the Tipperary fans were in “jubilant” form as Cavan pressed for a precious equalizer. In one final push for the levelling score the ball went wide but the umpire deemed that it last touched a Tipperary played and awarded a ’45 much to the frustration and protests of the Tipperary backs. Jim Smith stepped up to try and level proceedings but his effort fell short and O’ Reilly fisted the dropping ball past Jim Williams in the Tipperary goal. There was nothing the Clonmel Commercials’ man could have done to prevent the winning score and moments after his kick-out referee P. McDonnell from Dublin blew the final whistle. The game was witnessed by 11,537 fans with gate receipts amounting to £720. The Cork Examiner reported that “it was a disaster none could have possibly anticipated and it pays a great tribute to Tipperary that it in no way affected their sporting spirit or their morale, for they launched a furious attack upon Cavan” and “their pluck was unquestioned”. To add further woe to Tipperary, Cavan went on to claim the Sam McGuire defeating Kildare by four points.

Tipperary did launch an objection to the result which was heard by the Central Council on September 1st but failed due to a lack of proof.


According to Seamus J. King in Tipperary’s GAA Story 1935-1984 there were six points to the objection:


  1. The referee could not disallow a point scored by Tipperary as the umpires agreed and raised the flag, the ball being high enough to be out of reach of the defense.
  2. That the goal scored by Cavan should not have been allowed as the time was up, and the player (J. Smith), who took the fifty-yard kick from which the goal resulted, was so informed by the referee after the ball was placed.
  3. That James Smith was illegal to play with Cavan as he became suspended through attendance at foreign games.
  4. That Smith did not declare to play with Cavan as required by Rule 14, O.G.
  5. That he was illegal to play with Cavan as he had played with Garda team in the 1935 championship and league in Dublin (in which county he resided) which is necessary according to Rule 14.
  6. That Smith, being a suspended player, was not entitled to play with Cavan.


Later in the year Cavan visited Clonmel for a league match and were met by the Clonmel Pipers’ Band, escorted to the Town Hall and welcomed by Mayor White and that the town was honoured to have them as their guests that night. The game itself also ended in dramatic fashion as Cavan scored a dramatic last minute penalty to once again break Premier hearts!

Tommy Ryan: A Bloody Sunday Witness 1921

posted by Friends of Tipperary FootballFriends of Tipperary Football on Tue Aug 01, 2017

Tommy Ryan: A Bloody Sunday Witness 1921

Bloody Sunday exhibition in Croke Park

On the 21st November 1920 the most political Gaelic football match in Irish history began.  In a time of growing unrest in Ireland, this was a decisive turning point in the military and political struggle between British forces and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) . Thirty players lined out on that Sunday afternoon to represent their counties but one player, Tommy Ryan, had been doing more than playing football in recent months.

Bloody Sunday match day ticket

The assassination of fourteen British Intelligence officers, by Michael Collins’ squad, influenced the British forces to interrupt the Gaelic football challenge match that was to be played in the next  few hours between Tipperary and Dublin. In that game, Tipperary’s Tommy Ryan, was lining out at centre-field.

After hearing word of the morning’s executions the Leinster GAA Chairman, Dan McCarthy had to make a decision. The country was expecting a retaliation from the morning attacks and Croke Park would be the first target. However the GAA didn’t want the British forces to link the GAA and the IRA as the same organisation so the match was to go ahead. Ryan was also making the decision whether to return to Tipperary with Dan Breen to avoid trouble or go to the match.

Bloody Sunday commemoration 1965

Ryan was commanding a central position in the national movement in Tipperary. His family were part of the Nationalist movement. He resented British control and fell out with his best friend, O Brien from Ballylooby, when he fought for the British army in WW1. At seventeen he was elected ‘Company Captain’ of Tubrid. After receiving a dispatch from Seán Treacy, a highly involved nationalist from Tipperary, they teamed up to show their support for the movement. Ryan climbed  to the top floor of the local Protestant church and hung an Irish Tricolour on the topmost pinnicle of the highest steeple. After hanging the flag the top floor collapsed underneath him.  It was a week later before the flag got shot down by the British garrison in Cahir. At just nineteen years old this was Ryan’s first showing of strong connections to the IRA.

After the Easter Rising many people condemned the leaders  but some young people, including Ryan, held an admiration for the brave men. In April 1917, Treacy went to Tommy Ryan’s village to organise a volunteer unit there. He spent two days going between Tommy Ryan’s home and the home of Ned McGrath of Cahir to organise the sixth Battalion of the IRA. McGrath was appointed Battalion Commandent and Ryan was made Vice President of the third Tipperary Brigade. During this time he began to play football. Ryan didn’t know at the time the impact military action would have on the GAA at 3:15pm on the 21st of November.

The Tipperary team, Bloody Sunday, 1920

McGrath and Ryan spent their time increasing support for their Companies. They went around local parishes encouraging them to set up Volunteer units. They had few arms, some well-wishers did donate shot guns and miscellaneous revolvers, but they needed more support  for their organisation to have any influence. The conscription crisis of 1918 helped the men to gain support and their Companies grew from groups of 6-10 people to 60-80 people. The battalion area extended from Newcastle Co.Tipperary along the Galtees into Cahir. By the 1918 elections McGrath had been imprisoned and so Ryan was in charge of the sixth Battalion. It was clear Ryan’s position in the IRA was going from strength to strength.

Sean Treacy

Tommy Ryan was in contact with the Third Tipperary Brigade and he knew Dan Breen, Sean Treacy and Seamus Robinson well. He was in close contact with these men around the time of Soloheadbeg in 1919. His involvement with the Volunteers was growing and despite suspicions that his house was under surveillence, Ryan continued to live there before he was arrested. He was tried in Clogheen Court and sentenced to three months in prison for his involvement with the Volunteers. In April 1919 he was released and he headed straight to Dungarven where the Tipperary footballers were training. Martial law had been declared in Tipperary so they werent allowed to hold any assemblies in their home county. The British were beginning to link IRA and GAA activity together.

The late Michael Hogan, murdered in Croke Park, Bloody Sunday

Tommy was commanding officer of the sixth Battalion for the next few years. Whenever Ned McGrath was in jail, Ryan took charge. Ryan was involved in many raids. He was in charge of raids including the ‘Raids on the Mails’, as they were called. At Gormanstown, Tommy and two others held up the local mail car and took all the letters which were meant for the local RIC or other officials. This was to gain information on their activities and to make sure there were no spies in the area. Seán Treacy’s death in October 1920 led to Tommy growing even more involved in the IRA and it was then that Ryan decided he would be willing to die for his country. ‘I felt forced to make the serious and solemn decision that I would die; I said to myself, and to myself only, “For God and Ireland!” and, as I have stated already, when I had registered this solemn vow to myself, I felt extremely happy about it. ‘ S1

Ryan was very involved in the Volunteer movement leading up to Bloody Sunday.The day before the match, the Tipperary team travelled by train to Dublin. On the train there was trouble between the footballers and the RIC. Ryan and his teammates bet the men up and the group of RIC men quickly got off on the next stop. Tommy and his teammates were worried about who would be waiting for them  but when they reached their destination nobody was there to arrest them. They  scraped their original plan to stay in Barry’s Hotel and scattered among several hotels. Tommy Ryan and Mick Hogan were the  two volunteer officers on the Tipperary team and they stayed at Phil Shanahan’s home. There they learned of the plans to execute the British intelligence officers .  While they were at Shanahan’s, D.P Walsh came with information about the morning’s mission. He asked Ryan to accompany him down to Shanahan’s cellar where there were revolvers and .45 ammunition held in porter bottles.  Ryan helped Walsh carry ammunition to Fleming’s Hotel in Gardiner place. When Ryan returned back to Shanahans after dropping off the guns he volunteered to take part in the mission the next morning. However, somebody had felt nervous about him knowing so much about it and for reasons unknown, he was told the mission had been postponed.

At 11am the next morning Dan Breen sent a message to Ryan saying that he was leaving for Tipperary and he advised Tommy not to go to Croke Park as it wasn’t safe for him. Tommy wouldn’t let his team down and headed to Croke Park.

Dan Breen

In an interview years after Bloody Sunday Tommy Ryan gave an account of what he remembered:

                  ‘I was about to take the freekick when a burst of machine-gun and rifle fire occured’ S1

                  ‘The crowd of spectators immediately stampeded. The players also fled from the field in among the sideline spectators, except six of us who threw ourselves down on the ground’ S1

                  ‘The six of us who remained- Hogan and I and four of the Dublin team – were I think all volunteers’ S1

‘It was while Hogan was running from the field to the paling that he got hit by a bullet’ S1

‘Going across to Hogan, I tried to lift him but the blood was spurting from a wound in his back and I knew he was very badly injured’ S1

After leaving Hogan, Ryan ran towards the paling where he narrowly missed being shot. ‘As I reached the paling, I saw one Auxie loading a round into the breech of his rifle and who appeared to be looking in my direction. I dropped to the ground, and a youngster near me fell, which I took to be from the shot that was intended for me.’S1

The Dublin team, Bloody Sunday, Croke Park, 1920

When Tommy Ryan finally escaped Croke Park he ran to a house in Clonliffe where he thought he was safe but soon after, Black and Tans and Auxilaries surrounded the house. Tommy was knocked to the ground and stripped naked. One Black and Tan was about to shoot him before an officer intervened. He was ordered to bring him back to Croke Park to be shot with the rest of them. Tommy was marched back to Croke Park completely naked and anyone who tried to help him was quickly hit by the RIC ‘A man who was standing with his girl friend, with his hands up, taking pity of my nakedness, threw me a coat, but his thanks for this was a blow from 37. the butt end of a rifle from one of the Auxiliaries’S1  When they reached Croke Park he was lined up against a wall with all the other remaining players. A firing squad stood in front of them. Much to their relief the Auxiliaries and Black and Tans let them go.

Following Bloody Sunday, Tommy Ryan  involvement with the Irish Volunteers grew. Tommy returned to Tipperary for Michael Hogans funeral but never returned to his own home. Ryan became a full time Volunteer and joined a flying column. Tommy Ryan was appointed Chief Scout as he knew the countryside the best out of all them and led them in all their missions. He was a part of this flying column right up until the Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921. After this Ryan took the Pro-treaty side and joined the New National Army of the Irish Free State. Declining an appointment of Chief Superintendent of the New Garda Síochána, Lieutenent Colonel Ryan served in the army until the end of World War 2.


Tommy Ryan’s full statement with the Bureau of Military History can be accessed here.

Click here for a video interview with Bill Ryan who played for Tipperary that day.

If you would like to learn more about Bloody Sunday we recommend that you read Michael Foley’s brilliant book on the subject, The Bloodied Field. This can be purchased here.

Roisin Cooney, Glynn-Barntown, Wexford who sent us in this fabulous essay.






  • Ryan, T. (1953). Bureau of Military History.Statement by Witness. 783 (1), 1-38.
  • Michael Foley (2014).The Bloodied Field. Ireland: O’Brien Press. 5-20.



Roisin in action for her school, Loreto Wexford.


The people behind the superb Twitter account @sportingtipp have just sent us in the match programme from the 1965 commemoration game between Tipperary and Dublin in Croke Park. We wish to thank them for their generosity and would encourage anyone with an interest in Tipperary’s sporting history to follow this fantastic Twitter account.


1995 commemoration match programme


1995 commemoration match programme



Nineteen Eighty-Four – The Last Men in Munster

posted by Friends of Tipperary FootballFriends of Tipperary Football on Sat Jul 29, 2017

Nineteen Eighty-Four – The Last Men in Munster

The Story of the Tipperary Minor Footballers of 1984

On 4th December 1948, George Orwell sent his masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four to publishers Secker and Warburg for publication. Set in the year 1984 it centers around the protagonist Winston Smith who works in the Ministry of Truth for the privileged elite in the government. Smith is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism where he changes, forges and falsifies old newspaper articles to suit the current party line of the government. In the real year 1984, the Tipperary minor footballers were doing something similar as they smashed tradition and captured the Munster minor title for the first time in 29 years, breaking up the Cork and Kerry duopoly that had existed since then, with Limerick the only other side to interrupt in 1956. It was also the year of the GAA’s centenary and it was appropriate that Tipperary, the county that bore witness to the birth of the Association, should be to the fore when major honours were handed out.

Managed by Galtee Rovers’ Seamus McCarthy this team went on a run that saw them defeat Cork, Clare, Kerry, New York and Roscommon before finally succumbing to Dublin in the All-Ireland final played in Croke Park. The panel started training in January and met twice weekly as McCarthy put them through their paces and built up resolve, determination and confidence within the players to add to their undoubted talents. They played challenge matches against Limerick, Laois and Dublin before finalising the panel. With a lot of ground work being put into developing football in 1983 McCarthy, from the get go, set his sights on winning the All-Ireland and brilliantly prepared the team physically and mentally for the challenge ahead despite so many having to face the prospect of their Leaving Certificate examinations in June.


Tipperary 1-9 Cork 1-8


“CORK MINORS ARE BEATEN” screamed the headline in the Cork Examiner after Tipperary opened their campaign with a 1-9 to 1-8 over the Rebel County in Clonmel in what was “a well merited win”. “Tipperary played some fine football throughout the first half with their forwards moving smoothly and creating a lot of problems for the Cork defense”. Fethard’s Brian Burke scored Tipperary’s goal from a penalty to help his side to a 1-6 to 1-1 interval lead.


“A gallant Tipperary defense held out against tremendous Cork pressure and at the final whistle they [sic] were jubilant scenes”. The un-named journalist described the performances of John Owens, Michael Holland and Richie Quinn as “sterling” while Brian Burke, Gerry Ryan, Jim O’ Meara, Michael Goonan and Tommy Sheehan also came in for special mention. So dominant were the Tipperary backs that only two Cork men managed to get their names onto the scoresheet.


Scores: Tipperary T. Sheehan 0-5, B. Burke 1-1, J. O’ Meara 0-3. Cork: P. Harrington 1-5, C O’ Connell 0-3

Tipperary: G. Enright, D. Walsh, R. Quinn, D. Williams. J. Owens, F. Howlin, M. Holland, B. Burke, G. Ryan, M. Goonan, J. O’ Meara, K. Farrelly, S. Brett, A. Crosse, T. Sheehan.

Cork: G. Galvin, D. Creedon, P. Hanley, A. McCarthy, N. Creedon, K. Hyland, B. Duff, P. Hayes, C. O’ Connell, M. Barry, C. O’ Sullivan, A. O’ Sullivan, S O’ Driscoll, A. Barrett, P Harrington.

Referee: L. Shanahan (Limerick)


Tipperary 1-10 Clare 1-6


Next up was a trip to Limerick to face Clare in the Munster semi-final and it is fair to say that this game was over after only ten minutes of play as Tipperary racked up 1-5 without reply and led 1-8 to 0-1 at half-time. Tommy Sheehan scored the Tipperary goal.


Clare played much better in the second period, outscoring Tipperary 0-5 to 0-2, but it was too little too late and Tipperary held on to win by four.

Scorers Tipperary: T. Sheehan 1-3, J O’ Meara 0-5, K. Farrelly 0-1, J. Hackett 0-1 Clare: J. Ruane 0-3, J. Nugent 0-1, C O’ Donoghue 0-1, B O’ Doherty 0-1

Tipperary: J Enright, D Walsh, R Quirke, D Williams, J Owens, F Howlin, M Holland, B Burke, G Ryan, M. Goonan, J O Meara, K Farrelly, J Hackett, A Crosse, T Sheehan Sub C McGarahan for Goonan

Clare: J Garrihy, D Moloney, R Lyne, F Barry, C Crowe, M Ruane, J O Dea, S Carey, T Egan, M Roche, JJ Ruane, J Nugent, C O Donoghue, T Finnucan, B O Doherty Subs E Conway for J O Dea, D O Keeffe for J Nugent

Tipperary 2-3 Kerry 0-8

And so, it was onto Killarney to face the hosts in the Munster final in sweltering heat and it was Brian Burke who grabbed the headlines in the Irish Independent with “Brian Burke Snatches Title for Talented Tipperary”.


But things did not go according to plan in the opening eleven minutes as the Kingdom raced into a four-point lead and it looked as if it was going to be another case of a false dawn for Tipperary. But Seamus McCarthy, who had been training the team since January, had instilled an inner belief within the team which sustained them over the hour and brought Munster glory. In fact, things could have been a lot worse for Tipperary early on as goalkeeper Ger Enright made a superb save from PJ Gaire, coming off his goal-line to block the low shot. In fact, this save finished in third place in the RTÉ ‘Saves of the Year’ for 1984.

Tipperary had kicked six wides before opening their account when Brian Burke’s sideline kick deceived everyone and ended up in the Kerry net for a much needed and well deserved break. Throughout the opening period Burke, along with his mid-field partner Jerry Ryan, John Owens and Michael Holland in defense, Jim O Meara, Tom Sheehan, Anthony Crosse, Michael Goonan and Kevin Farrelly pressed the home side hard and “forced the Kerry defense to make some frantic interceptions”. Jim O Meara added another point to leave it 0-5 to 1-1 at the break.

Kearns (Kerry) and Burke exchanged scores before Burke collected a Kerry kick out and fed Anthony Crosse who rounded the Kerry net-minder before blasting the ball home, via the upright, from a difficult angle and sent Tipperary into the lead for the very first time, a lead they would refuse to surrender. It gave the team the belief that they could win and every player ran himself into the ground and fought tooth and nail in an effort to hold on. Burke added a third Tipperary point and Kerry piled on the pressure to rescue this game. Enright again made a great save to deny Kerry before Cork’s Donal O’ Connor blew the final whistle to spark wild scenes of celebrations and Frank Howlin (Cahir) became the first Tipperary minor football captain in 29 years to accept the Munster trophy.

“Each and everyone of the 16 players on view were heroes in the eyes of the small contingent of Tipperary supporters but followers of Kerry and Cork joined in to give them a warm reception in their lap of honour following their hard-earned success” according to Tom O Riordan in the Irish Independent.  John Guiton in the Tipperary Yearbook of 1985 noted that “we became estatic – as captain Frank Howlin led his men on a lap of honour round the stadium and even our keen but friendly rivals the Cork supporters raised their banners to salute the heroes on such an historic occasion”.

The Nenagh Guardian were lavish in their praise of this fine young team and their “dogged determination” “despite unrelenting pressure from Kerry in the last few minutes”. “What makes this victory more satisfying is the fact that the Premier side managed to oust the Kingdom County in their home sod and with the huge Kerry crowd in their favour”.

Michael Holland

The Nenagh Guardian went on to award Kiladangan man Michael Holland their “Guardian Player of the Week”. It should be noted that his club were due to play Silvermines in a minor match the following night after the Munster final and Holland, rather than celebrate his magnificent success and much to his credit, showed up in Puckane to play the game.

Tipperary: G. Enright, D. Walsh, R. Quirke, D. Williams, J. Owens, F. Howlin, M. Holland, B. Burke, D. Ryan, M. Goonan, J. O’ Meara, K. Farrelly, J. Hackett, A. Crosse, T. Sheehan. Subs D. Pyke for Hackett.

Kerry: J. O Leary, P. Coughlan, C. Murphy, T. Galway, S. Stack, S O’ Sullivan, J. Walsh, J. Galway, J. Galvin, P.J. Gaire, M. Gaire, M. Kerins, T. Brosnan, E. Moynihan, L. Canty, K. Rice. Subs D. Keane for O’ Leary (injured), C. Sugrue for Brosnan and M. Downey for Galvin.

Referee: D. O’ Connor (Cork).


Tipperary 2-15 New York 2-5

Next up was a rather unusual clash in Clonmel when New York made their way across the pond to face the home side in the All-Ireland quarter-final. Not surprisingly this turned out to be a rather one-sided encounter with Tipperary winning by ten-points.


Indeed, the gap could have been a lot wider but for, as the Nenagh Guardian reported, “the frivolous play of the forwards who wasted many a scoring chance” while New York goalkeeper, John McHugh, made three memorable saves however the match was over as a contest by half-time with Tipperary leading 1-8 to 0-2. The players were in “top-shape” thanks to the “extremely hard” training they had done all year and once again “Brian Burke excelled, while in defense there was Trojan work from John Owens, Richard Quirke, David Walsh, Michael Holland and goalkeeper Ger Enright”.


“Even-though New York presented a poor challenge they did have some excellent displays especially from Owen McCorry, Anthony Burke and Terry Connaughton”.

Tipperary: G. Enright, D. Walsh, R. Quirke, P. Williams, J. Owens, F. Howlin, M. Holland, B. Burke (0-5), G. Ryan, M. Goonan, J. O’ Meara (1-2), D. Pyke (0-3), T. Sheehan (0-4), A. Crosse, J. Hackett (1-1). Subs. S. Brett for Crosse.

New York: J McHugh, P. O’ Brien, M. McHugh, B. O’ Sullivan, J. O’ Donnell, M. Holmes, J. Chambers, I. Horan, A. Burke, O. McCorry (1-1), T. O’ Dwyer (1-0), M. McCarthy (0-1), G. Riordan, T. Connaughton (0-3), K. Hynes. Sub. J. McCormack for Burke.

Referee. Pat Lyons (Limerick).



Tipperary 2-12
Roscommon 1-1


On the same day that John Treacy was writing himself into the history books at the Los Angeles Olympics by winning the silver medal in the marathon and becoming the first Irish runner since Ronnie Delaney (1956) to win a medal of any kind the Tipperary minors travelled to Croke Park for the first time in 29 years and faced Connacht champions Roscommon in the All-Ireland semi-final and maintained their remarkable record of never having lost at this stage of the competition.

They outclassed their opponents from the throw-in with Brian Burke and Gerry Ryan controlling the middle of the park and both worked tremendously hard through-out the sixty minutes although it took time for Tipperary to make their superiority count on the scoreboard.


Within the opening ten minutes Tipperary missed several chances from frees and play and forced Roscommon goalkeeper, Paul Staunton, into making two fine saves. They held a two-point lead by the 23rd minute when Padraig Brennan found himself clean through with only Ger Enright to beat but the Cahir man made an astonishing save to keep the Westerners at bay. This fright sparked the Premier into action and quick-fire points from Tom Sheehan, Jim O’ Meara and Declan Pyke ensured a 0-5 to 0-0 lead at the break. The Irish Press reported that “an additional five points would not have flattered them”.

Not long after the second half began Anthony Crosse banged in Tipp’s first goal after great work from Tom Sheehan and Jim O’ Meara and the game was as good as over. Three minutes later Tipperary scored another 1-1. Jim O’ Meara pointed and from the kick out Crosse turned provider setting up Sheehan for the goal.


Patrons began to wonder if Roscommon would even get their name onto the scoresheet and on 41 minutes Padraig Brennan scored a goal which was quickly followed by a Vincent Glennon point. After that the Tipperary forwards found their scoring boots and kicked over six unanswered points to leave it 2-12 to 1-1 at the full-time whistle and Tipperary had qualified for their first All-Ireland final since 1955.

Liz Howard

Martin Quinn, Brendan Cummins and Liz Howard

Liz Howard, the Tipperary PRO, reported in The Guardian that this is “a fine team, eager, fit and strong and very well prepared” and that the Kerry supporters, there to cheer on their team in the senior match, “were totally behind” Tipperary. In fact, both the Tipperary minors and Kerry seniors had stayed in The Grand Hotel, Malahide the night before “with players and mentors mingling. Jack O’ Shea, as usual, was the player who was centre of attention. Jacko is very popular and has a grand way with him”. Liz herself, a big follower of the Friends of Tipperary Football Facebook page, got caught out at the game wondering who were the vocal fans cheering on the Premier with the Ulster accents. Eventually curiosity got the better of her and she introduced herself only to discover that they were John Owen’s parents, originally from Newry but based in Clonmel.


For the table quiz enthusiasts, this match is noteworthy as it was the very first time that a Tipperary football team played on live television with RTÉ broadcasting proceedings.


Tipperary: G. Enright, D. Walsh, R. Quirke, D. Williams, J. Owens, F. Howlin, M. Holland, B. Burke, G. Ryan (0-1), M. Goonan (0-1), J. O’ Meara (0-4), D. Pyke (0-1), T. Sheehan (1-4), A. Crosse (1-1), J. Hackett

Roscommon: P. Staunton, M. Lawless, J. Dowd, D. Rock, J. Connaughton, S. Conacur, A. Smith, E. Durney, A. Luby, V. Glennon (0-1), B. Flynn, P. Quinn, P. Brennan (1-0), P. Daly, T. Deehan, Subs: A. White for Deehan, P. Cuddy for Luby, B. Coughlan for Lawless

Referee: M. Greenan (Cavan)



Tipperary 0-4

Dublin 1-9


And so, it was a repeat of the 1955 decider as Tipperary faced Dublin in the All-Ireland final and the golden jubilee of their previous success at this stage in 1934 and unfortunately for the Premier the men from the capital were once again victorious.

Following their victory in the semi-final the panel were given a well-deserved two week break from training and then they played a Castleisland District team in a challenge with team captain Frank Howlin “receiving a beautiful plaque presented by the local club” according to the Tipperary Yearbook 1985.

Many had hoped that in the centenary year of the GAA that Tipperary would bring this All-Ireland title back to Thurles but sadly it was not to be as Dublin were comprehensive victors but as Donal Keenan in the Irish Independent rightly pointed out, “it is very difficult for players of such tender years to compete for the first time in front of over 60,000 people, so performance does suffer”.

Tipperary had been guilty of missed opportunities in-front of goal in earlier games but had gotten away with it but this time Dublin were not as forgiving. Keenan, in his match report, praised both teams stating that “neither side lacked in commitment or in determination. If the frills were missing there was plenty of raw courage to substitute” but “Tipperary failed once again in this championship to transfer the amount of possession in attack onto the scoreboard. On their path to the final this weakness did not deter them, but against the unyielding Dublin defense which provided few gifts this was to be their downfall”.

Kevin Farrelly

Templemore’s Kevin Farrelly was a talented sprinter and held Munster and All-Ireland titles in athletics and naturally enough speed was one of his greatest assets on the GAA field however he wasn’t a noted scorer. Early in the game he made a trademark burst through the Dublin defense and his brothers Noel and Paul were standing facing him in the terrace as he bore down on goal. “Pass it, will you pass it” they roared in unison. We don’t know if Kevin could hear their advice, but if he did he choose to ignore them, kicked a fine effort that split the posts and became the first Tipperary footballer since 1955 to score in an All-Ireland final in Croke Park. While the result didn’t go Kevin’s way he was quickly cheered up after the match with the news that his sister-in-law Breda had just given birth to his nephew, baby Aidan, that same day.

Brian Burke and Jim Stynes

Two of the giants of Gaelic football clashed at mid-field that day, Tipperary’s Brian Burke and Dublin’s Jim Stynes. Stynes went on to become a legend at Australian Rules Football and in 2003 he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Burke, a native of Chicago, moved to Fethard and became immersed with the club and Gaelic football. A winner of five senior county championships, he later represented Ireland in 1990 in the International Rules Series. Both men “fought a personal duel which made intriguing viewing, but served to nullify their effectiveness”.


Tipperary: G. Enright, D. Walsh, R. Quirke, D. Williams, J. Owens, F. Howlin, M. Holland, B. Burke, G. Ryan, M. Goonan, J. O’ Meara (0-1), K. Farrelly (0-1), T. Sheehan (0-1), A. Crosse (0-1), S. Brett. Subs: J. Hackett for Brett, D Pyke for Farrelly

Dublin: Martin Broderick, Greg Walsh, John Barry, Ciaran Walsh, Albert Martin, John Power, Bob McKeon, Jim Stynes, Paul Clarke (0-3), David de Lappe (0-2), Aidan McClean, James Fahy, Niall Clancy (1-2), Michael Crowley (0-2), Conor Crowley. Subs: P Daly for Walsh, D. Whelan for McClean.

Referee: S Mullaney (Roscommon)

Seamus McCarthy

Bansha’s Seamus McCarthy has a long association with Tipperary football and his role here must not be understated. Having guided the team to the previous year’s Munster final where they lost to Cork a confidence grew among the panel that they could achieve success. Aided by Tom Lonergan (Kilsheelan), Mick Darcy (Borrisokane), Ned Sheehan (Fethard) and Hugh Kennedy (Arravale Rovers) they left no stone unturned in their quest for glory. The panel themselves obviously deserve special mention, not only for their footballing ability and having the courage to beat Kerry in their home patch in front of thousands of their supporters but also “for their remarkable character and great sense of manliness – both on and off the field, and in victory and defeat. They were a credit to Tipperary” (John Guiton, Tipperary Yearbook, 1985). Liz Howard, in the same publication, boasted that “they were an impressive bunch, disciplined and obviously proud to wear the county jersey. There was a great sense of unity and friendship among the group and a sense of fun. Their captain Frank Howlin was another inspiring captain and a great ambassador for Tipperary.” She went onto praise manager Seamus McCarthy: “the rapport he had with the lads was ideal. They respected him, he respected them. He was a hard but fair taskmaster, interested in developing skill and character side by side. Seamus was honoured as Talbot Manager of the Month and Tipperary Person of the Year”.


Frank Howlin

Recently Cahir published their history in a book entitled Memories and Achievements. 124 Years of the GAA in Cahir. This fine publication is an excellent example to clubs everywhere on how to record their history and captain Frank Howlin penned a beautiful article about this particular team.

He spoke about “the honour of captaining the Tipperary minor football team” and the evolution of the side since 1982 when they were “on the wrong end of a hammering” from Cork. The team were “embarrassed by the result and promised ourselves that we would do everything we could to prevent this from happening again”. After a much-improved performance against Cork in 1983 the team entered 1984 full of confidence.


His admiration for Seamus McCarthy is clear to see… “At every training session Seamus spoke to us in a calm and matter of fact manner telling us how good we were, how fit we were, how strong we were and that there was no team better prepared than us”.

The self-belief in the team was evident when he mentioned that “when the final whistle went and we had won, I think the only people who weren’t surprised were the players and support team”.


While the team lost, they had won the hearts and minds of the Premier and despite the loss to Dublin the public turned out in force to welcome them home. “We were stunned at the amount of people who came out to welcome us back…. the warmth of the crowds soon made us realise just how much it meant to people to have a Tipperary football team taking part on the biggest day in the football calendar”.

We will leave the final words to Peter Gleeson from the Guardian: “For the first time since 1955 a minor team from the Premier County appeared in what is arguably the most prestigious final ever held on a GAA pitch. The intense training, the spirit, tenacity and determination to be in that contest earned the youngsters the privilege of defeating football giants such as Cork, Kerry and Roscommon. Surely, there is not one man in all of Tipperary that can stand up and fault them now for a feat that may never again be accomplished by a Tipperary side until the next century of the Association comes around”.

Anthony Shelley Looks Back at the Tipperary Armagh Match

posted by Friends of Tipperary FootballFriends of Tipperary Football on Mon Jul 17, 2017

Anthony Shelley, in his own humorous way, reports on the Tipperary Armagh clash last Saturday

As I walked through Liberty Square on Saturday afternoon, thoughts of the popular American drama series, Orange is the New Black came into my head. Streams of Armagh supporters were flooding the square like Knock pilgrims who had just received word of a second apparition in church yard.


Surrounded by orange jerseys, I couldn’t help wondering if I was witnessing the greatest case of Stockholm Syndrome ever recorded.


The history of the Armagh colours is a curious one. The county colours were originally black and amber stripes and some say that, in a neighbourly gesture, the orange jerseys were presented by members of an Orange Lodge back in the 1920’s. When details of the gesture were leaked, the Lodge was ordered to disband.


Others claim that in 1926, a group of nuns from Louth knit a set of orange jerseys and presented them to the Armagh Co Board. It would have been considered rude to turn down such a gift from the nuns and Armagh have worn orange ever since.


I headed to Hayes Hotel and in keeping with the theme of Orange is the New Black, I met a man called Debbie. I should have known then this was going to be a strange day.


As we send a couple of Diageo’s finest down the red lane, we both agree that the Tipperary footballers are tragic heroes. They are splendidly gifted but live in a county were these gifts are unlikely to be abundantly rewarded. You know what you are signing up to when you become a Tipperary footballer. You do it for love not glory, although I still maintain that, circa 1888, if J.K. Bracken hadn’t rode his horse across a goalmouth in Templemore to deprive Thurles Sarsfields of a certain goal and a football title, then Tipperary would now be a football county. Prior to that Thurles was a football town. After that incident, the Thurles boys decided they have no luck at football and turned their attention to hurling. With Clonmel already a committed football town, if the next major town in the county had remained a football town, then there was a fair chance the rest of the county would have followed suit.


Back in Hayes Hotel, an Armagh supporter claims the fine weather will suit Armagh better than Tipp. He got a tad annoyed when I pointed out that Tipperary didn’t exactly have an Alaskan like climate so we compromised and agreed that the weather should contribute to a fine game of football.

The ball is in and the game is on!


Armagh attack from the start and should have had the ball in the net after 30 seconds but Andrew Murnin palms it wide. We hit two early wides ourselves before Kevin O’Halloran, Casey and President Jack Kennedy have us three points to two up after twelve minutes. Sweeney and Grimley swap frees and then the referee makes his first big call of the day. Gavin McParland slots the ball to the Tipp net, but Paddy calls play back for a phantom foul and awards Armagh a thirteen-metre free instead of a goal.


Kieran McGeeney has received much criticism since he became a manager but on Saturday he got his tactics spot on. He tied up Sweeney and Quinlivan and negated the Rolls Royce engines of Maher, Kiely and Feehan by constantly bottling them up in cul-de-sacs in their own half. Despite this, we head for the Jaffa Cakes with a ten point to eight lead.

The managers in the stand are looking for the introduction of Philip Austin for George Hannigan. I think it’s too predictable. I call for the introduction of Jason Lonergan for O’ Halloran and hold Austin for another ten minutes. I argue that we are going well at midfield, Armagh are conceding the kick-outs which sees the stats at nine from ten on our own kick-out. Lonergan can take over the left legged frees and offer additional pace to our attack. Against the wind he can carry ball and his runs are often as unpredictable as the flight path of the UFO’s in Roswell.


Liam Kearns goes with the managers in the stand and Philip Austin is introduced for George.


Five minutes into the second half, an Austin run sets up #MQ14 for the opening goal of the game and gives us a four-point lead. Armagh reply with two quick points before Paddy Neilan issues papers for the impeachment of President Jack Kennedy. To the 6,823 crowd in Thurles it looked nothing more than an accidental tangle of legs. To Paddy Neilan it was a deliberate body check by the President or maybe he deemed it a deliberate drag to the ground. Only Paddy knows.


When thinking of killing Duncan, Macbeth spoke of the “deep damnation of his taking off”. He knew he would face eternal consequences if Duncan was “taken off”. Details of Liam Kearns knowledge of Shakespeare are sketchy but he may well speak of the “deep damnation of his sending off” as the black card to President Jack Kennedy changed the course of this game and his team would feel the consequences.


Armagh are now the dominant side and Kenrick, who patrolled his goal well all day, came to our rescue on a couple of occasions before Jamie Clarke goaled in the 69th minute to put Armagh four up.


But Tipperary were not finished yet. Not by a long shot. A young wit commented last week that you’d need the months-mind said before you could declare this Tipp team dead. He wasn’t wrong. Three minutes into broken time, Paddy remembers he is also the official time keeper and indicates that we will be playing an additional seven minutes. In the remaining time, Paddy managed to turn the most obvious black card for Ciaran McKeever into a yellow card but he saved his most bizarre decision of the day until last, when he failed to allow advantage to Philip Austin as he broke free of a challenge and was bearing down on goal.


A couple of late Tipperary points and an outrageous and brilliant take of a high ball by Armagh keeper Blaine Hughes ensured the Orchard County ran out 1:17 to 1:15 winners.


Liam Kearns term as Tipp manager is now up. I had serious doubts about his appointment two years ago but now I’m leading the chorus for him to stay. During his two-year reign, we beat Cork in championship football for the first time since 1944, we reached an All-Ireland football semi-final for the first time since 1935 and we will start the 2018 season playing division 2 football. He has achieved all of this with one hand tied behind his back.


Under Liam’s guidance this Tipp Team have often being referred to as the saviours of Gaelic Football. It’s time to save ourselves now and ensure that we don’t let Liam Kearns walk out the door.


Fairy Godfathers don’t come around too often!

Tipperary Go Down Fighting as Armagh Progress

posted by Friends of Tipperary FootballFriends of Tipperary Football on Sat Jul 15, 2017

In an exciting encounter in Semple Stadium today Armagh defeated Tipperary by two points but the Premier made them work all the way


Tipperary 1-15

Armagh 1-17

Tipperary exited the championship today but did not go down without a fight as Liam Kearns men fought to the final whistle in an exciting encounter in Semple Stadium.

Jamie Clarke scored the crucial goal late in the game to open up a gap between the two sides that, try as they might, Tipperary just could not close despite some hectic attacking in the final moments that kept the Orchid County under severe pressure until Patrick Nielan’s final whistle ended this encounter.

Tipperary opted to play with the breeze in the opening half and led the visitors 0-10 to 0-8 at the break but will feel that the gap should have been more after a number of missed opportunities. Kevin O’ Halloran and Gregory McCabe exchanged points in the opening minutes before Liam Casey kicked a fine score.

Points followed from Niall Grimley (Armagh), Jack Kennedy and Conor Sweeney to open up a 0-4 to 0-2 lead for Tipperary. Grimley added a second point before controversy arose after Gavin McParland slotted the ball to the net for what appeared a legitimate goal but the referee called him back for a foul which Rory Grugan pointed.

Tipperary finished the half strongly as Josh Keane (2) and Liam Casey kicked three late points to leave it 0-10 to 0-8.

Upon the resumption Joe McElroy pointed for the visitors before Michael Quinlivan scored a brilliant goal after great work from Philip Austin, Robbie Kiely and Conor Sweeney. This should have inspired Tipperary to push on but disaster struck shortly after when Jack Kennedy, who was having a fine game, was harshly black-carded and his loss allowed Armagh to take charge.

The teams continued to exchange scores until the 61st minute when Armagh took the lead for the very first time through Jamie Clarke. Stefan Campbell pointed after Tipperary felt they should have had a scorable free at the other end on 65 minutes before Jamie Clarke scored the decisive goal. Tipperary fought hard to get the all important goal but just could not break down the Armagh backs.

This ends the year for Tipperary after a mixed season. Gaining promotion to division two was one of the priorities for this side and they achieved that, along with capturing the division three title, after a great win over Louth. From there on in lady luck deserted the team as injuries mounted to unbelievable proportions and despite all the missing personal they very nearly beat Cork in the Munster semi-final before the Rebels won the match with a late goal. Things appeared to have turned a corner last weekend as they beat Cavan in Kingspan Breffni Park but unfortunately today Armagh ended any hopes of repeating last years heroics.

On a final note the support today from the Tipperary fans has to be acknowledged. The Tipperary Football Board appealed for the fans to show up today and that they did. The roar that went up from the Old Stand as the team went in at half time was deafening and constantly the chant of “Tipp Tipp Tipp” could be heard around the grounds and this was something that was greatly appreciated by all the players.

Tipperary: C Kenrick; A Campbell, P Codd, E Moloney; B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; L Casey (0-02), G Hannigan; J Keane (0-04, 2f), K O’Halloran (0-02, 1f), B Fox (0-01); C Sweeney (0-03f), M Quinlivan (1-00), J Kennedy (0-02f).

Subs: P Austin (0-01) for Hannigan (h.t.), Hannigan for Kennedy (b/c 48), L Boland for Moloney (48), D Foley for O’Halloran (70+2), L McGrath for Boland (64).

Armagh: B Hughes; G McCabe (0-01), J Morgan, C Vernon; B Donaghy, P Hughes, A Forker (0-01); S Sheridan (0-01), N Grimley (0-08f, 5f, 1 45); C O’Hanlon, M Shields, R Grugan (0-02, 1f); G McParland (0-02), A Murnin, J Clarke (1-01).

Subs: J McElroy for McCabe (injured 28), S Campbell (0-01) for O’Hanlon (47), C McKeever for Clarke (70+3), E Rafferty for Murnin (70+8).

Referee: Patrick Neilan (Roscommon)

Attendance: 6823