Cashel Intervention Results in Aghabullogue's Suspension in 1955


'Come listen awhile my countrymen and hear my mournful news,
Although my song be sorrowful I hope you'll me excuse
The tears roll down my cheeks like dew whenever I recall
Aghabullogue's long suspension now from playing a hurling ball.
'

This mournful tale began in 1955 after Aghabulloge won the Mid-Cork intermediate hurling championship. By the time the county quarter-final came up, five of the players, who were clerical students, had returned to their respective seminaries and could not get out for the remainder of the championship, which was the rule at the time.

At the celebrations after the divisional final there was plenty of drink-filled talk that they'd be county champions, 'But someone then grew windy saying 'boys, we'll ne'er survive,/ So we'll pick a team to be supreme and no one will be wise'.

In crises there is always somebody to step into the breach and in this case it was Cashel native, Gerry Buckley, who was a member of the Aghabullogue club. He came up with a solution to their depleted forces: bring in a few replacements from Cashel:

'They are senior men, both big and strong, as I will let you see,
So fix the date and pay the rate and leave the rest to me.'

As a result of his contacts with Cashel his brother, Mickey, who won an All-Ireland minor medal with Tipperary in 1949, Mick Davern, Larry Harding, Billy Hickey and Sean 'The Glamour' Walsh, agreed to travel down in Mickey's van, under strict instructions to remain incognito and to talk to nobody.

In spite of the instruction Sean Walsh, who wasn't know as 'The Glamour' for nothing, wore white boots on the day! Aghabullogue defeated Banteer and prepared to meet Castlelyons in the semi-final. All appeared to be going to plan.

In the meantime, Cashel King Cormac's secretary, Martin Hackett, got wind of the word of it and informed the Cork county board that some Cashel players were travelling to Cork for the semi-final. The board informed Aghabullogue of the information received but the club went ahead and used the players.

Aghabullogue won but Castlelyons objected and won at the Cork county board hearing of the case.

They claimed to have identified Mickey Buckley in Clonmel Hospital, where Mickey ended up following a crash the day after the game. Mickey still denies the evidence, not that he played but the two witneses couldn't have seen him as he was inintensive care! Aghabullgoe appealed to the Munster Council that Castlelyons had an illegal player with the result that both teams were thrown out of the championship and Ballyhea won the championship by default.

'No more down at the enclosure gate will our local heroes stand,
No more will our supporters crow about this team so grand.
Aghabullogue are spectators now as you can plainly see,
But early in the New Year again they'll hoist the white and green.'

The Cashel boys were subsequently suspended by the Tipperary county board.

The twelve-month suspension of Aghabullogue had a devastating effect on the club. Many players left and joined other clubs and the club remained in decline for years afterwards.

 


Munster Under-21 Hurling Championship Match Programme, Limerick v Tipperary, Thurles, May 31st, 2013