The Nenagh Co-op 1994 County Senior Hurling Championship
By their victory in the Nenagh Co-Op County Senior Hurling Championship on October 2, Toomevara confirmed their domination in senior hurling and established themselves as one of the great teams in the last quarter of this century. One has to go back to the seventies, to Kilruane MacDonagh's three-in-a-row team, to find a team of equal dominance in the county hurling scene. By winning their third-in-a-row Toomevara were equalling a club record achieved back in 1912-14 and became only the second club in the county to achieve this feat. (Thurles Sarsfields won three (or more) -in-a-row on four occasions. Kilruane-MacDonaghs, Roscrea, Moycarkey-Borris and Boherlahan did so on one occasion each).
From early in the championshp, it was obvious that Toomevara would be the team to beat. Their performance in the club championship was a signal to all, that they were a powerful force once again. They did suffer a hiccup in the north championship when they were held to a draw by Lorrha, but came through the replay. They went on to defeat Kilruane-MacDonaghs in an emphatic manner in the north final, winning by 1-16 to 0-7.
On the same day, August 14, the other three divisional finals were played. In a rather drab mid-final, Loughmore-Castleiney defeated a poor Thurles Sarsfields side by 0-15 to 1-6. In the south, Don Lyons contributed handsomely to Ballingarry's win by scoring three goals in his side's total of 4-9 over Mullinahone, who had 1-9 to their credit. The west final ended in a draw. In a dramatic ending Sean Slattery scored a goal to give Cashel King Cormac's a last minute draw with Clonoulty-Rossmore in a scoreline of l-16 to 2-13.
The county quarter-finals were fixed for the weekend of August 27-28, and there were moves to have two of them put back in order to have the west final replayed. These came to nothing and the matches went ahead as arranged, with the west replay not taking place until October 30 and resulting in a Cashel victory by 2-12 to 1-8.
The quarter-finals took place at three venues, Kilsheelan, Templemore and Nenagh. Cashel King Cormac's had an easy victory over Mullinahone, at Kilsheelan, winning by 1-19 to 1-7, after having no less than three goals disallowed for 'square' infringements. Up to half time the sides were close enough but a Cashel goal and a point soon after the resumption set the west side up for an easy victory. In the second game Clonoulty-Rossmore were never tested. From early in the game, they were on top and when the final whistle sounded they had sixteen points to spare in a scoreline of 0-20 to 0-4.
Toomevara played their quarter-final game with Thurles Sarsfields at Templemore on Saturday, August 27. Two goals by the north champions between the tenth and thirteenth minutes effectively killed off the mid side's challenge and Toomevara went on to win by 2-16 to 0-9. The most interesting of the four games was played at Nenagh on the following evening. Kilruane-MacDonaghs created something of a surprise by defeating a more fancied Loughmore-Castleiney side. Contributing greatly to their victory was the performance of the two veterans of the side, Denis Cahill and Jim Williams. In the end, the margin of victory was three points in a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-11.
The semi-finals were played at Semple Stadium on September 11 and the headlines in the 'Tipperary Star' the following week tell the story: Toomevara Trounce Listless Clonoulty- Rossmore and Cashel stroll past tame Kilruane. In the Toomevara-Clonoulty-Rossmore game the opening quarter promised differently. After eight minutes Toomevara's corner forward, Jimmy Dunne, was sent to the line and the west side led by 0-6 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter. However, Clonoulty were not making full use of their chances and Toomevara came back into the game, chiefly through good work at centrefield by Pat King. At halftime the sides were level and prospects of a close encounter were still alive. For the early minutes of the second half, these feelings continued to be justified. But then between the 7th and 21st minutes Toomevara scored 3-5 and Clonoulty completely collapsed under the onslaught. The final minutes were painful to watch, as Toomevara completely dominated and were ahead by 4-17 to 1-12, at the final whistle.
Cashel went one point better in their fifteen point victory over Kilruane MacDonaghs in the second game. In the first quarter the King Cormacs estabablished a 1-6 to 0-2 lead. At this stage, their chances were enhanced with the sending off of Martin Haverty for a foul on Conal Bonnar. However, the north men got a boost with a Dinny Cahill goal coming up to halftime and were only four points adrift at that stage. Cashel got off to a dream start on the resumption and were ahead by 2-11 to 1-4 after seven minutes. The King Cormac's got a third goal in the ninth minute and the sending off of a second Kilruane player, Ger Maher, tore the back out of their challenge. The final quarter dragged its slow length along until the final whistle when Cashel were in front by 3-19 to 2-7.
Toomevara were two to one favourites going into the final and that favouritism had its basis in their impressive displays during the year and in the recollection of the outcome, when the two sides met in the quarter-final at Templemore the previous year. On that occasion Cashel had no answer to the physical strength and impressive array of hurling talent in the Toomevara side. With no new talent coming on to the Cashel side it wasn't to be expected, that they could create a surprise.
And so it turned out. After a bright opening, Cashel were knocked back on their tracks by the concession of an easy goal from which they didn't recover until near the interval, at which stage Toomevara were ahead by 1-6 to 0-4. Instead of getting the goal they needed for a good start to the second half, it was Toom who scored. By the time the last quarter approached, they were ahead by 2-9 to 0-6. At this stage Cashel got a goal and a point to put only five points between the sides and there was hope of a grandstand finish. But Toomevara replied with another goal and that effectively killed off Cashel's challenge. In the end Toomevara were worthy champions by 3-11 to 1-9. Afterwards Cashel, while admitting the obvious supremacy of Toomevara, were to rue the concession of two soft goals, some questionable selectorial decisions and some dreadful shooting by the forwards.
The teams were:
Toomevara: Jody Grace, Pat Meagher (capt), Rory Brislane, Declan O'Meara, George Frend, Michael O'Meara, Phil Shanahan, Terry Dunne, Pat King, Kevin Kennedy, Michael Murphy, Tony Delaney, Liam Nolan, Tommy Dunne, Tommy Carroll. Subs: Liam Flaherty for Rory Brislane; Brislane for Liam Nolan.
Cashel King Cormacs: Kevin O'Sullivan, Liam Barron, Pat O'Donoghue, Michael Perdue, ]oe O'Leary, Colm Bonnar, Seamus Morrissey, Seanie O'Donoghue, Willie Fitzell, Conal Bonnar, T. J. Connolly, Raymie Ryan, Seanie Morrissey, Cormac Bonnar, Ailbe Bonnar. Subs: John Ryan for Seamus Morrissey.
Man of the Match: Pat King (Toomevara).
Referee: Michael Doyle (Holycross-Ballycahill) . year.
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1995, p 21