After the famine of the past few years there's a respectable meal of new publications to write about this year. They include a history of a famous towns land, an impressive account of a famous club and an account of how the hurling famine ended in Tipperary.
But first to that townsland, the golden square mile that is Tubberadora. 1995 was the centenary of the first of three All-Irelands won by a famous band of men and, as well as building an impressive monument in stone to their revered memories, a booklet of 48 pages was produced to flush out their names and give them faces and histories.
The booklet was researched and written by John G. Maher and is complementary to two other G.A.A. publications from the parish, The Tubberadora-Boherlahan Hurling Story, told in 1973 by Philip Ryan, and Boherlahan and Dualla: A Century of Gaelic Games written by Philip Ryan and John Maher in 1987. John Maher, in Tubberadora: The Golden Square Mile, concentrates on Tubberadora, telling what happened and giving us interesting inforrmation on the men who made it happen.
Among other things we learn that Ned Brennan died in a shooting accident in 1912 at the age of 38. Tim Condon and Mike Wall died in 1918, the latter in faraway Australia, whence he emigrated in 1906 and where he continued to hurl. Another of the famous band, Jack of the Fields, died in California. We are also told of their descendants. Peter Maher's greatgrandson, for instance, Davy Hogan, is on the current Tipperary senior football team and another great grandson, John Hackett, was a member of the 1984 Tipperary minor football team which won Munster honours.
The booklet is a fascinating read and is a giveaway at £2. As well as telling us about the players it gives a brief account of the games played by Tubberadora. There is a picture of the 1898 side and a map of the place with the houses of the players marked.
Tom O'Donoghue has been working on the history of the club for a number of years and it eventually saw the light of day in July, when it was launched with due pomp and circumstance by Marcus de Burca in the Royal Hotel, Tipperary. A very impressive publication, the book stretches to 564 pages in A4 size pages.
The first part of the book will be of enormous interest to everyone wanting to know more about the state of football in the county in the early days of the Association. There were no less than three teams from Tipperary Town, Bohercrowe, Arravale Rovers and Roseanna.
Bohercrowe won the county championship in 1888 but there was no Munster or All-Ireland championship because of the American Invasion. Bohercrowe and Roseanna met in the first round of the county championship the following year with Bohercrowe successfull and they went on to capture the All-Ireland title with a comprehensive victory over Maryboro in the final. The Spittle was the home base of the Roseannas and the rivalry between them and Bohercowe can be gleaned from a ballad to celebrate the All-Ireland victory, two lines of which ran as follows:
And coming up the Spittle/With neither dread nor fear.
If Bohercrowe were successful in 1889, it was to be Arravale Rovers turn in 1895 when they beat Navan O'Mahonys in the final. The game was played on March 15, 1896, and it was part of a double fixture, the second half of which was the Tubberadora/Tullaroan hurling final. It was the one and only time the two finals were played on the same day and the first time for finals to be played at Jones's Road. There is another interesting point about both finals. Jim Riordan played for Arravale Rovers in the final and his brother Paddy played with Tubberadora. Both were originally from Drombane and they have the rare, if not unique, distinction of winning senior All-Ireland medals on the same day in different games.
Paddy Riordan has a further distinction of being credited with Tubberadora's total score of 6-8. His achievement was confirmed in the weekly paper, Sport, in 1914, by Frank Dineen, who had been President of the G.A.A. in 1896.
But back to Arravale Rovers. The town of Tipperary was alive with political tension in the late eighties. New Tipperary was born and in July 1890 the three famous clubs of Bohercrowe, Arravale Rovers and Roseanna agreed to be united under the banner of the New Tipperary Club. However, this unity was not to last long. The Parnell Split was to cause this fragile unity to be well and truly riven.
The book traces the fortunes of the various clubs that came into existence. For the benefit of the reader I thought the author might have included an appendix with the names of all the clubs that existed in the town over the years. And, while on the question of additions, a roll of honour of the clubs' achievements would have been very helpful. Finally, a list of all the players from the town who had won All-lrelands in hurling and football would be most useful.
These few deficiencies should not detract from a very fine achievement. Of great interest are the exciting contests between Tipperary Club and Bray Emmets in 1904/5. The achievements of the club in later years are presented in detail. The selection of photographs adds to the value of the book and the numerous team lineouts will make it an important work of reference. Tom O'Donoghue has laboured long and assiduously to complete this book and deserves the gratitude not only of the people of Tipperary Town but of the county as well.
The Tipp Revival
Tipperary's hurling famine came to an end in 1987 with the capture of a Munster senior hurling final for the first time in 16 years. Since then the county has had a reasonable amount of success including five Munster finals, two All-lrelands and two National Leagues. The success of the county is more dramatically reflected in the number of All-Stars it received. Between 1972-86 the county had 11 All-Stars. Between 1987 and 1994 the number has been twenty-six.
Seamus Leahy has written an important book on these years. It is reviewed separately in this Yearbook. It is sufficient for me to mention that the book is not only an account of the revival but it seeks to put it in perspective. Chapter 2 traces the dominant position the county held in the hurling world up to 1971 and follows this up with a chapter on the famine years. It goes on to talk about the arrival of Babs and his efforts to put Tipperary back in its rightful place. The book writes about the players who made it possible, the successes and the failures. The final two chapters include an interview with Babs on these years and his part in it and the final chapter is entitled: 'Whither hurling, whither Tipperary?' The book is a very good read with plenty of insights, reflections and flashbacks to previous periods of Tipperary hurling and is to be highly recommended.
The year 1995 is the 75th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and there is an account of the commemorative events surrounding the anniversary elsewhere in this publication. In connection with it, south division secretary, Michael Q'Meara, put together a very impressive and comprehensive commemorative booklet, which was launched at the opening of an exhibition on Bloody Sunday in the County Museum in Clonmel.
Comprising about 80 pages, the booklet tells the story of Bloody Sunday from the books and documents published about the event. It also contains a selection of photographs, some of them never before published. It includes an account of previous commemorations, pen pictures of the players, a piece on the Hogan family and a selection of ballads relating to the period. The publication is a credit to Michael O'Meara and his helpers.
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1996, pp 115-116