Feile na nGael - 1971-1991
Feile na nGael came of age in 1991 and it was only fitting that the celebrations should be held in County Tipperary. It was here, twenty-one years before that the three men of foresight and vision, Tomas O Baroid, Seamus O Riain and Eamon de Stafort, thought up the idea of a festival of hurling for young people from all over the country.
The format of events on the weekend of June 21-23 was very similar to that of 1971, but the programme was more extensive over the previous two weeks. The first event was the official opening of the Feile Exhibition in Hayes's Hotel on June 8. It is worth noting that the co-ordinator of this project was Willie Corbett of Drombane, who had performed the same task back in 1971.
The official launch of Feile took place the following day and it was performed by Uachtaran C.L.G. Peadar O Cuinn. On Monday, June 10, the visitation of Primary Schools in the county by G.A.A. and R.T.E. personalities began and continued during the week. Tuesday saw the divisional finals of the Feile Skillstar Competition. On Sunday the All-Ireland final of the Feile Poc Fada competition and the Camogie County Skillstar Competition took place.
The number of events increased during the second week. Monday saw the county finals of the Tipperary Primary Schools Competition. On Tuesday the county final of the Skillstar Competition took place at Semple Stadium. There was a gala night for the Primary Schools at Hayes's Hotel on Wednesday with the final of the Table Quiz Competition. Thursday saw the arrival of teams and officials from all over Ireland to centres at Nenagh, Thurles, Tipperary, Cashel and Clonmel. There was a Golf Slogadh at Thurles Golf Club on Friday and the first round games got under way. The games continued through Saturday and the finals were played on Sunday.
For the previous ten years President Hillery had never missed a Feile. Now in retirement he was invited for the official opening of the exhibition. President Robinson had been invited on the Sunday for the finals but had a previous engagement and was unable to attend. Without the presence of the President, the event lacked some of the pomp and circumstance of previous events.
Despite that Sunday, June 23 was a very successful day. All the teams and bands assembled at Semple Stadium on Sunday morning for Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Dr. Clifford. Afterwards there was the Féile Parade, which included over twenty bands, through the streets of the town. The teams then returned to Semple Stadium for the main events of the day, the finals. Before the games began, the assembled boys were addressed by Ard Stiuirthoir Liam O Maolmhichil. He told them that by their presence they were very important people as they were the representatives of over 200,000 young people who played our games in the four provinces. 'The disciplined, colourful and vibrant array is a source of satisfaction to all of us, but you mean more than that in that you symbolise our past, you represent the whole great Association of today and you are our future', he added.
Durlas Og were hoping to do well in Division I and repeat their victory of 1990 but they were beaten by Na Piarsaigh of Cork in their third match and failed to qualify. The Cork champions won out the division. Ballingarry performed very well before being beaten in the semi-final.
Borrisoleigh were beaten in the final of Division II. Tipperary teams were rather unlucky in this section, with no less than three of the semi-finalists coming from the county. The other two were St. Mary's and Arravale Rovers. After a promising opening half in the final Borrisoleigh succumbed to a much stronger, Horeswood, Co. Wexford side and were beaten by 2-7 to 1-2.
Division III provided an all-Tipperary final. Ballygalget, Cahir, Fethard and Cashel made it to the semi-finals with Cahir and Fethard coming through. This all-South final provided great excitement with Fethard winning decisively in the end by 4-3 to 0-5 and reversing the result in the south championship.
No Tipperary team reached the semi-final stage in Division IV but there was another all-Tipperary final in Division V. In this
game Sean Treacy's proved too strong for Newcastle and won by 4-2 to 1-2.
Overall then a reasonably successful Feile for Tipperary teams. Not so much success in handball or camogie. In the former Silvermines were beaten in the final of Division 3 and Roscrea won Division 5 of the camogie competitions.
At the conclusion of the grand parade on the Sunday a number of prizes were awarded, Navan O'Mahony's were voted the best dressed hurling team. Loughmorc-Castleiney won the best banner in Tipperary and Birr got the best visiting banner. The best dressed team in camogie was won by Loughmore-Castleiney. The best banner in the county wait to Uppcrchurch-Drombane and the best visiting banner was won by Ballyboden-St. Enda's, Dublin.
The National Executive of Feile na nGael 1991 was as follows: chairman – Pádraig MacFloinn, Down, secretary, Pádraig P Guthrie, Clare, Donal Hickey, Dublin, Eamonn MacMahon, Antrim, John O'Connell, Cork, Jim Whelan, Wicklow.
The Tipperary Executive was: chairman, Donal Shanahan, Toomevara, secretary, Denis Floyd, Newport, programme, Seamus J. King, Cashel, parade, Liam Ó Donnchú, Thurles, fields/referees, Liam McGrath, Holycross-Ballycahill, schools, Eugene Ryan, Moneygall,, skills, James Gleeson, Templederry, handball, Ken Conway, Clonmel, camogie, Marion Graham, Littleton, catering, Eleanor O'Connell, Thurles and P, J. Harrington, Upperchurch-Drombane, Tommy Kelly, Kickhams, museum, Willie Corbett, Upperchurch-Drombane.
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1992, pp 83-84