Previous West Senior Hurling Finals at Cashel
Today’s final is the seventy-second to the played since the West division was founded. It’s the fifteenth to be played at Cashel and the twelfth to be played at Leahy Park. Prior to then the Cashel Sportsfield was located on the Ardmayle Road and before that on the Dualla Road.
Leahy Park was new in 1951 when the first final, between Clonoulty-Rossmore and Kickhams, was played. Originally fixed for September 9, it was postponed and the delegates heard why at a special meeting of the West board the following night. Board secretary, Jerry O’Dwyer, informed the meeting that the game had been postponed as a result of representations made to him by Canon Fogarty, P. P., Clonoulty and one of the honorary presidents of the board. The Canon pointed out that the game was clashing with a Pioneer Rally at Thurles and the secretary had postponed the match as a result of the representations. After much discussion the final was fixed for the following Sunday.
There was also some controversy over the 1945 final at Cashel, between Cashel and Eire 0g. Originally fixed for Dundrum, Cashel wouldn’t play at the venue. A special board meeting was called and the delegates were informed that Cashel’s objections were to the size of the Dundrum field and its proximity to Eire 0g. They wanted a neutral venue and a neutral referee. The chairman pointed out that the field was in Knockavilla parish and the referee was from Clonoulty. (Timmy Hammersley). Mick Davem, the Cashel delegate replied: ‘The ball was lost three times in the grass in Dundrum, when we played Golden there.’ The Dundrum delegate denied this. It was pointed out to Cashel that they had already won championship matches in the field. Then Jim Devitt, Cashel, came up with another reason for not playing Eire Og there:
‘We were butchered previously in Dundrum by Eire 0g.’ After a lot of discussion Cashel and Eire Og agreed to toss for venue and Cashel won. The match was played on October 7. (I can’t be sure if that was the nearest Eire Og got to hosting a West final: they don’t appear on the list of venues.)
The 1931 final between Clonoulty and Newport was played at Cashel. It was the only time Newport played in the West division and it wasn’t a very happy one. The final was a tense, tough game. Newport accused Clonoulty of adopting over-robust and questionable tactics. They also complained of the leniency of the referee, Jack Hennessy of Emly. It was reported that one of the linesmen, Jack Raleigh, a former Toomevara player then playing with Emly, pleaded with Hennessy at half-time to either referee the game or call it off. In spite of these difficulties Newport’s prospects looked bright when they forged ahead by 3-4 to 3-3 with ten minutes remaining. At that stage a hostile section of the crowd pelted the Newport players with clods of earth, leaving them in no doubt as to their intentions of keeping the title in their own backyard. In the remaining minutes of the game Clonoulty forced through two goals to put the issue beyond the realm of doubt.
There was a sequel. Newport objected on a number of grounds including the legality of Pake Mahony and the fact that Dan English in the Clonoulty goal was wearing his trousers. The latter part led to some humorous exchanges at county board where Killenaule’s, Bob Hall, wanted to know ‘where does knickers end and breeches begin’.
During their great run of success between 1946 and 1960, Kickhams played a number of finals at Cashel. They lost there to Clonoulty in 1951 but were successful in 1953, 1954, 1956, 1958 and 1959. In the 1958 final they recorded their highest score when they defeated Golden/Kilfeacle by 8-8 to 2-2.
Leahy Park was the venue for one of Cappawhite’s finest hours, in the 1987 final. Clonoulty led by 3-7 to 1-4 at half-time and seemed set to dump Cappa, who had been champions in 1983, 1984 and 1985, out of the championship. But there was a remarkable turnaround in the second half as Cappa went from nine points down to an eight-point win — a swing of seventeen points. A Ger O’Neill goal sparked the resurgence. O’Neill also had their third goal and John O’Neill added a fourth as Cappa were rampant. It was a truly dazzling second-half performance from Cappawhite who, in the process, ended Clonoulty’s championship bid for the fifth consecutive year. The winning captain, John O’Neill, accepted the cup from board chairman, Michael Maguire.
Ten years later the venue was the setting for a memorable occasion for Kickhams, when they bridged a thirty-seven year gap to win their first senior title since 1960. Kevin Farrell was team captain and Aidan Butler got the man-of-the-match award. The winners were slight favourites going into the game and by the call of time had justified the tag with a 0-19 to 2-10 success. They came back to win after been rocked by two Cappawhite goals midway through the first half
West Tipperary S.H. Final Program, Cashel, Oct. 7, 2001