Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1986
In the bookshops since last weekend is the 1986 county G.A.A. Yearbook. A committee has been producing this book since 1970, when the first one was published as a result of the initiative of Seamus Ryan of Moneygall, the then county chairman. The first editor was an enthusiastic Gerry Slevin, then working with the 'Nenagh Guardian' and he conlinued in that position until he moved to work with the 'Clare Champion' in 1977.
The production has come out faithfully since and has expanded and become more comprehensive. Last year's edition was a special Centenary number and was an extremely comprehensive account of everything that happened in the G.A.A. in the county for Centenary Year. That number is now a collector's item and should be in every household. The present committee includes Michael McCarthy of Moyle Rovers, one of the county representatives on the Munster Council, as chairman and Liam O Donnchú of Durlas Og as secretarv, Sean Nugent of Kilsheelan, John O'Grady of Thurles, John Costigan of Templemore, Michael Maguire of Lattin, J.J. Kennedy of Kickhams, Seamus King of Cashel King Cormac's, Philly O'Dwyer of Boherlahan, Seamus O'Doherty of Roscrea, Gerry Long of Knockshegowna.
Pride of place in this year's edition goes to the All-Ireland under-21 hurling victory. The cover contains a colour photograph of the winning team and Seamus O'Doherty has a detailed account of the successful campaign. Michael Dundon gives comprehensive coverage to the near victory of the county juniors in the course of which he says: "Tipperary's disappointment, at the defeat in the final was understandable and with the county having to field a completely new side in 1986, the prospects of going one better next year are not great. Yet how different our outlook would be had Tipperary won, because at any time an All-Ireland victory is a great achievement, no matter what the grade, and who will deny that in these rather barren times, we can hardly turn up our noses at such a success."
In his report on the senior champianship John O'Grady concludes: 'So, despite the satisfaction of running up 4-11 we had to bow to Cork's 4-17; and to wonder at the lack of amendment to a defence that was so porous and lacked, most prominently, a solid middle core' .. John also covers our success in the Ford Open Draw and has this to say: "The final was, naturally, enough, in the field down river from the now silent Ford premises on the Lee. It rained. At the end our jubilant players were as muddied as a rugby team, but they were happy.'
As surely befits a team that achieved so much in 1985 Kilruane MacDonaghs get plenty of exposure. In an article on the senior hurling championship Seamus King observes how successful the club was during the year: "It was a great achievement for the Kilruane MacDonagh Club. It was the best possible success to have in the Centenary Year of the Club. But it wasn't the club's only achievement during the year. They also won the county junior hurling championship and the divisional senior. football championship. To top it all the parish, priest of Cloughjordan, Fr. Eddie White, produced a fine club history which told the story of the G.A.A. in the parish up to the present year. The only task that remains to be done at the end of 1985 is to write another chapter that will properly chronicle the great achievements of the year'. When that was written Kilruane hadn't won the Munster hurling championship and, to add to the attraction of the Yearbook, it contains an account of that memorable victory over Blackrock.
In his account of football affairs in the county Michael Power, the secretary of the Football Board states that 'even thpough no major honours were won, I thionk it is fair to say that football has reached a stage of credibility in the county.' There's a full account and a full-page colour photograph of Arravale Rovers, who won their first county senior football final in 44 years. The historic 21st successful Mid football championship by Loughmore-Castleiney is also highlighted.
Schools get plenty of cover. Tommy Barrett has an account of the visit of President Paddy Buggy to all schools early in the year. Liam O'Donnchu covers the Primary Schools Scheme. There's a detailed account of the activities in hurling and football· in the Vocational Schools by T.J. Egan. There's an account of Cashel C.B.S. winning the Croke Cup for the second year in a row, of Rockwell Agricultural College, captained by Philly Quirke of Bansha, winning the All-Ireland Agricultural Colleges' final, of Roscrea C.B.S. success in Corn na Phiarsaigh, of Thurles CBS winning the Rice and Fitzgerald cups and of Templemore CBS retaining the Kinane Cup, plus much more. In fact this section is particularly extensive and an earnest of the the committee's intention to make the Yearbook as comprehensive a record as possible of G.A.A. affairs in the county.
There is an extensive obituary section on the greats of the past who went to their final reward during the year. Pride of place goes goes to Tommy Treacy and this appreciation contains some fine photographs. In fact the level of the visual in this book is of an excellent standard. Not only are the photographs many and good but the layout and the headings make it a very attractively produced work.
Traditionally there has been another dimension to the Yearbook, the historical flashback. An interesting episode or incident from the G.A.A. history of the county is presented. In this number Philly O'Dwver of Boherlahan turns his attention to the Munster hurling final of 1941, which was postponed until October 26 because of the Foot and Mouth disease. Tipperary beat Cork, who had previously been nominated to represent Munster in the All-Ireland series and had won the first of their four-in-a-row.
On a slightly different vein Seamus Leahy turns his nostalgic eye on some great GAA days at Thurles one of which was in 1886, when a great tournament was held a a huge crowd turned up but most of them got in for nothing because the organisation was so bad. The result was that when the teams had returned home. and the crowd had scattered, the committee realised that "they had incurred huge expenses, had entertained lavishly, and had failed to take a 'gate' .. They decided to throw themselves on the understanding and mercy of the townspeople ..... The townpeople responded most gallantly and within 24 hours of the appeal being made, the debts of the tournament had been paid'.
There's much more to this Yearbook including. messages from Archbishop Morris and county chairman, Michael Lowry, divisional reports, Bord na nÓg reports, Scór, handball, snippets from one hundred years of the GAA by Sean O'Driscoll which includes the information that Tom Semple won the Long Puck championship of Ireland in 1906 when he drove the 9 oz. ball 96 yards with a massive stroke. In the course of her reflections Liz Howard refers to the famous Justin McCarthy interview: "Generations of Tipperary hurlers were made little of. I can well remember the 'nameless one' being hurled off the field by Mick Roche, who had more class and style than half a dozen of the 'nameless one'. If anything spurs Tipperary hurling it will be the degrading remarks made by this person. He is now condemned to the wilderness, because he spoke about the shortcomings of his own team, not because he insulted Tipperary."
It's impossible in a short review to give a true impression of the comprehensiveness and variety of this publication. I understand there is a print run of two thousand two hundred and I would advise everyone to go out immediately and get his copy which contains 130 pages for the meagre sum of £2.50. For so little expense it's a mighty read and a credit to the committee that produced it.
Post Advertiser, Dec. 1985, Vol 1 No 11