Mid Senior Hurling Final 1911
The Mid senior hurling final, between Thurles Sarsfields and Borrisoleigh, was played in Carew's field, Rossmore, on July 2, 1911. It wasn't the first Mid final to be played at Rossmore.. The 1908 final between Thurles and Cashel was played at the same venue on May 16 with Tim Condon of Horse & Jockey as referee. Thurles won by 2-12 to 0-3. Cashel lost in spite of having a very wide pick, as one commentator put it 'from Tullamaine to Tubberadora'. New recruits to the team for the final were Johnny Leahy, Dick Walsh, Arthur and Thady Donnelly, Paddy Dargan, Bill Doyle, Jack Meara, Patsy and Willie Dwyer. It appears that Johnny Leahy played his first senior hurling with Cashel. He was then only sixteen years of age.
This, in fact, was the first Mid final to be played, because the 1907 championship was unfinished and Thurles were nominated to represent the division in the county championship.
But, back to the 1911 final. Six teams affiliated in the championship. In the first round, played at Drombane, Rossmore defeated Holycross by 0-10 to nil. Thurles got a walkover from Boherlahan.
Borrisoleigh defeated Glemgoole by 6-1 to 3-3 at Thurles. In the second round Thurles defeated Rossmore by 5-6 to 1-1 at Borrisoleigh. The final, between Borrisoleigh and Thurles, was fixed for Rossmore.
Rosssmore was decided on as the venue at the meeting of the Mid board on June 15. The club was represented by Dan and Willie English. There was also a proposal to the meeting that Templemore be the venue. Rossmore won the vote by 9 to 6.
There is another theory that there was a bit of canvassing behind the scenes and that Anthony Carew, who was Thurles club secretary at the time, was behind the motion to get the match to Rossmore, where his father, Patrick, used to own a farm and public house. Sometime before the final he sold both to John Bradshaw of Cappawhite, who came to live there with his son, also John, who married Nora Heffernan of Glenough. The farm had a field suitable for hurling and the pub would come in handy for a crowd at a match.
There was a second game fixed for the venue on the same day, the Mid junior final between Thurles Emmets and Suir Rapparees. The Rapparees were started by Jim Walsh of Camas and included players from Ballydine, Longfield, Ardmayle and Tubberadora.
The referee was Tim Gleeson and he was given charge of the two games. Tim was a Rossmore man, living close to the border with Drombane. He was a National teacher and after some years in Rossmore, moved to Clonoulty. He won All-Irelands in 1906 and 1908 and three Munster finals. He was a member of the Rossmore team beaten by Thurles in the 1911 semi-final. He was treasurer of the county board from 1910-1916
Preview of Game
The Tipperary Star gave a brief preview of the game in its edition of July 1. According to it 'Borrisoleigh is a young, most enthusiastic and very ambitions team and as such is keen on practice. They beat Glengoole and Two-Mile Borris along the way and these successes would be crowned by beating 'the Blues'. The team, 'aware that nothing but continual training can bring success, have been working in this direction with such earnestness that several minor casualties have been reported.'
In contrast there was an ominous quiet from the Thurles camp 'which betokens that the team will not lightly enter into the struggle without being prepared to exert themselves with all the great ability which on many a hard-fought field shed lustre on the far-famed 'Blues'.'
There was a very good attendance at the game. There was no advertisement in the Tipperary Star beforehand telling us of the games and the times and the admission prices. It would be exciting to be able to go back in a time tunnel and get a picture of the day in Rossmore. How many people were there? How did they arrive? What was the composition of the crowd? The venue was a bit out of the way for both Thurles and Borrisoleigh. Did many of the patrons patronise Bradshaw's pub at the cross before the game? We shall never know the answers.
The senior game was a poor affair and failed to live up to its pre-match expectations. It was late starting because of the failure of Thurles captain, Tom Semple, to arrive. It appears he was expected but failed to tell anybody he wouldn't be there. Thurles had a problem because they had the bare seventeen players and the absence of Semple left them short, Nobody was forthcoming to take his place until eventually Jack Cahill was pressed into service and, 'though out of practice for years, got through the game with considerable credit.'
Playing against the breeze in the first half, Thurles scored heavily in the first quarter and easily overcame the Borrisoliegh defence to lead at half-time by 6-2 to nil. The second half was uninteresting as Thurles won with unexpected ease on a scoreline of 8-2 to 1-1.
Thurles Emmets won the second game by 4-1 to 3-0. Tim Gleeson gave universal satisfaction with his refereeing of both games. The pitch was in excellent condition and the local club kept good order, 'particularly during the first game'. There's an inference here that control wasn't quite as good for the second game!
The Thurles Sarsfields team was as follows: Hugh Kelly (vice-captain), Jack Moroney, Thady Dwyer, Joe Moloughney, Ned McGrath, Jim O'Brien (Hawk), Mick O'Brien, Tom Kerwick, Andy Callanan, Anthony Carew, Jack Cahill, Jack Dwyer, Paddy Brolan, Tom Mockler, Jer Fogarty, Bill Smee, Mick Hammonds.
A Rossmore Man
Anthony Carew was a Rossmore man, who lived in Thurles. The neighbouring big town was a magnet then, as it continued to be later, for good hurlers in surrounding parishes, and Carew was an outstanding hurler and a great scorer of goals as the records of the Blues reveal. He was an agent for Singer sewing machines and he also had a pub at the lower end of Liberty Square. As a young lad he walked on a darning needle, which went up his foot. Later, at the age of sixteen years, he got a severe pain in his knee. There was no relief for it and the doctors decided to open the knee in order to discover the cause. They found the darning needle had made its way up to his knee and removed it to the great relief of the young boy. Carew later became secretary of the county board for the period 1913-1922 and held the position at the time of Bloody Sunday.
Carew was secretary of Thurles Sarsfields for two years before taking up the county position. The famous Croke-Fennelly Cup, which became club property, following three victories in a row, was 'lost' for some time and discovered again in Carew's house following the fire that destroyed his place in January 1930. He believed the fire was started maliciously and took an action against Thurles Urban Council for £800 damages. He lost the case and appears to have fallen on hard times. At some stage he emigrated to Southampton in England, where he died 1943. He was married to Mary Boyle and they had one daughter, Catherine (Kathleen), who married Thomas O'Mahony of Moyaliffe. After his wife's death, Carew married Bridget Greene and she moved to Southampton with him. Following his burial in Southampton, his grave was 'lost' and discovered again some years ago by his grandson, Sean O'Mahony
Anthony Carew was one of a number of Rossmore people who made names for themselves in Thurles at the beginning of the 20th century. Hugh Ryan was another and he became the first chairman of the Sarsfields club. A more famous son of the parish was D. H. Ryan of Park, who worked in Cannocks in Limerick and was one of the founders and members of the Commercials team, who put Limerick on the map when they won the first football All-Ireland. He later came to live in Thurles, opened premises on Liberty Square and contributed significantly to the life of the town.
Clonoulty-Rossmore 13th Vintage Rally Booklet 2013, pp 13-15