A Tipperary-Antrim Encounter
On Saturday, December 1, 1928, the first Tipperary team ever travelled to Belfast to play Antrim in the All-Ireland junior hurling semi-final. Tipperary had qualified for this game by earlier victories over Limerick and Waterford in the Munster final. On their way to the semi-final Antrim had a walkover from Cavan and victories over Donegal and Down.
The Tipperary team left Thurles railway station at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning and travelled to Dublin where they had a break for lunch before continuing the journey to Belfast. On arrival at their destination they checked into their hotel and had a meal. No sooner was the latter over than they headed downtown to see what this 'notorious' city was like. As they wandered around looking at the sights some of the lads spotted a policeman who they recognised as a Black and Tan from earlier days in County Tipperary. He had been stationed at Sheverie, near Upperchurch during the 'Troubles'. They became friends and he invited them to his Orange Lodge club where 'a decent attempt was made to set them drunk'. The wag with the team said the attempt failed because there wasn't sufficient whiskey in the Lodge!
The encounter doesn't seem to have had any bad repercussions, The following morning the team were taken for a three hour sight-seeing to the Glens of Antrim. The match was played at Corrigan Park in the afternoon and Antrim gave the visitors a good match. There was only a point between the teams at half-time on a score of 2-1 to 1-3 in favour of Tippeary. The latter added three goals in the second half and then Antrim came with a great rally that was better than the final score of 5-1 to 2-3 would give them credit for
The teams were: Tipperary - A. Foley (Capt.), W. Matthews, P. Guiry, R. Dwan, P. O'Keeffe, E. Walsh, M. Wright, D. Walsh J. Maher, J. Lowry, J. Heeney, J. Maher, J. Stapleton, T. Smith.
Antrim- J. Hunter, G. McDermott, P. Butler, D. Armstrong, J. McKeown, H. Reid, A. Thornbury, J. McNally, W. Mulvenna, F H. Hill, J. Tuohy, P. Cunning, J. McGarry.
The happiest feature of the Tipperary team's visit was the enjoyable Ceili held in the evening in St. Mary's Hall. The visitors, headed Johnny Leahy, received a tremendous reception from the Gaels of Belfast. A thoroughly Irish-Ireland atmosphere surrounded the function, which was most successful and enjoyable for the merry throng. Many of the visitors were fresh to the North and pre-conceived ideas of their possible reception were happily shattered. They left, after an entertainment in which they were made at home, to carry back the tale of the strength of the Gaelic spirit in the North. They departed for home on Monday morning. In the All-Ireland final at Dungarvan at a later date Tipperary lost to Kilkenny by two points.
National Hurling League program, Tipperary v Antrim, Cashel, February 12, 1984