Suir Valley Rangers
In May the Suir View Rangers were remembered in a ceremony and memorial in their honour at Ardmayle. The occasion was the centenary of their winning the 1897 county final and Peter Meskell produced a fifty page booklet recording the history of the team, which had a very short existence, 1895-1898.
Suir View was unique in the sense that it never existed as a parish or townsland but rather as a catch-all name to cover the western portion of the parish of Boherlahan-Dualla. Included in the area were the townslands of Ardmayle, Ballyroe, Bawnmore, Clonmore, Clune, Clareen, Ballydine, Longfield, Kilbreedy, Gortnaglough, Camus and Slatefield from where the players of the Suir View Rangers originated. Most of them went to school in Ardmayle and later ‘The Forge’, owned by Morrisseys at Ballyroe, would become the gathering place of the team. The training patch was Fogarty’s field in Bawnmore.
The team first affiliated in the senior hurling championship in 1895 and came up against Tubberadora, the eventual All-Ireland champions, in the final. The match ended in a draw but, after extra time, Tubberadora were successful by 3-9 to 2-7. Two of the Suir View team, Phil Byrne and Peter Maher, were selected by the winners in the ensuing inter-county championship.
In the following year the sides reached the county final once more. Tubberadora led by seven points to one at half-time and, with five minutes to go, had extended their lead to 4-8 to 2-2. At this stage a dispute arose and Suir View refused to continue, whereupon the referee awarded the game to Tubberadora.
The sides were scheduled to play in the semi-final of the 1897 county championship. While training, Tubberadora’s John Maher, broke his leg in an accidental clash with Phil Scanlan. The latter was so upset that he would not play in the forthcoming game. Tubberadora decided to withdraw from the encounter and Suir View qualified for the final.
Their opponents were Horse and Jockey and the game did not take place until March 6, 1898. Played at Thurles, the match ended in a draw.. Peter Meskell uses the reports in the contemporary Cashel Sentinel to set the record straight on what happened subsequently. The replay was fixed for Cashel on March 20. The Horse and Jockey did not turn up. Suir View didn.t claim the game and it was refixed for Tipperary on April 10.. It was called off because of incessant rain. The match was refixed for Cashel on May 15. When Suir View, who apparently didn’t like playing in Cashel, failed to turn up, the game was awarded to Horse and Jockey. Suir View appealed to the Central Council, which ordered a replay at Tipperary on a date to be fixed. When the date for the replay at Tipperary arrived, Horse and Jockey failed to turn up, thus leaving the title to Suir View.
According to Meskell the county board comes badly out of the affair, acting the dog in the manger because Suir View appealed to the Central Council. They did all in their power to prevent Suir View doing well in the first round of the inter-county championship by fixing them to play Roscrea the week before in the 1898 county championship.
Suir View played Cork on July 21 in Cork. According to Meskell, Canon Fogarty got it wrong when he claimed that Suir View were defeated because ‘of attempting to represent Tipperary by themselves.’ This was not the case. Tubberadora refused to release any of their players unless they were given the major say in the overall selection of the team. The Horse and Jockey had their own grievances and refused to have any of their players selected. Only Thurles players, Tom Semple, Jim Sullivan and Bill Ryan, were willing to participate. So, Suir View, with a depleted side, arrived late for the game because the train was overcrowded and couldn’t take an incline between the Junction and Emly. The game started late and the players were not in a fit state to put in a reasonable performance. By the end of the hour they were behind by the humiliating score of 4-16 to 0-2.
Jim Heney had his teeth smashed in and never hurled again. Neither did the team. It was scheduled to play against Cork in the Croke Cup competition on December 18 but the referee never turned up and Suir View refused to play. Soon after the team disbanded and did not affiliate again. Some of the players joined Thurles for the 1900 championship but most of them called it a day even though many of them were still young.
Peter Meskell tells a fascinating tale and he concludes his story with profiles of all the players and their subsequent histories. He has done a great service to Suir View Rangers and, as a result of his work, our knowledge of life and the state of hurling in this part of the parish of Boherlahan-Dualla one hundred years ago, is all the greater.
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1998. p 57