Sporting Heros


It's an impossible task to cover the sporting highlights of the parish of Cashel and Rosegreen within the bounds of an article and yet it is one that ought to be attempted in a book purporting to describe the activities of the people of the parish over two hundred years. Apart from the extensive time span one of the problems that had to be faced was the sparcity of information and the absence of much real organised sporting activities during the first hundred years. Another problem was what to include and what to exclude. At first it was decided to limit mention to those that had achieved national and international fame. But this created a major problem: for one thing it excluded mention of Cashel King Cormac's historic victory in the 1991 county senior hurling final. It also precluded mention of stories and anecdotes of a sporting nature which would give spice to the account. In the end it was decided to be plain arbitrary in the criteria used and what might have been a solid historical account ended up as a personal essay. And, one further point to add to the confusion; the essay hasn't always remained strictly within the bounds of the parish.

The Sport of Kings

Horses have always played a major part in the lives of the people and Ballydoyle is a name that is synonymous with that activity. A previous owner to Vincent O'Brien, a Mr. Saddler, kept point-to-point horses and was part owner of Ballykisteen stud. He was also an auctioneer and had seven daughters. But, that's another story.

With respect to Mr. Saddler and his interest in horses, it was county Cork man, Vincent O'Brien, who put Ballydoyle, Cashel and Ireland on the horse-racing, training and breeding map, almost as soon as he arrived in 1951. Before he touched down he had already made an impact on English National Hunt racing having trained Cottage Rake to take the Cheltenham Gold Cup on three consecutive years, 1948, '49 and '50 and having another triple winner with Hatton's Grace in the Champion Hurdle in 1949, '50 and' 51. He was to confirm this form with three successive English Grand National winners with three different horses, Early Mist, Royal Tan, which was bred by J. Topping near Tullamaine, and Quare Times in 1953, '54 and '55 respectively. He was to take another Gold Cup with Knock Hard in 1953. Having won all the major honours in National Hunt he turned his attention to flat racing. From Chamier in the Irish Derby in '53 to the success of College Chapel in the Cork and Orrery stakes in 1993, bringing his score at Royal Ascot to 25 winners, he won every honour in racing. His training tally included 16 English and 27 Irish classics. As well as the six English Derby winners - Larkspur, Sir Ivor, Nijinsky, Roberto, The Minstrel and Golden Fleece - six Irish Derby winners - Chamier, Ballymoss, Nijinsky, The Ministrel, El Gran Senor and Law Society - have also come out of the famous stables. His successes have not been confined to Ireland and England. Sir Ivor won the Washington International in 1968 and the Grand Criterium in France in 1967. Ballydoyle horses won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on three occasions, the French Derby in 1983, and as late as 1990 Royal Academy won the Breeders' Cup Mile in New York under an inspired ride from Lester Piggott, who had come out of retirement just a few months earlier.

Vincent O'Brien has always been concerned with the stud side of the business and in 1973 he bought into Coolmore Stud, which was owned by Tim Vigors. This was expanded in 1975 into the Coolmore/Castlehyde operation with John Magnier and Robert Sangster as partners. It now comprises six farms and over 2,500 cres and rivals any stud set-up in the world. In the early 1980s Lyonstown Stud, midway between Cashel and Rosegreen, was acquired by Vincent O'Brien from the philanthropic American millionaire, John A. Mulcahy, to accommodate mares and homebred foals and yearlings. Best winners raised there to date include Sadler's Wells, King's Lake, Tate Gallery, Thatching, El Gran Senor, Dr. Devious and Lomond, all of whom went to stand at Coolmore, except El Gran Senor and Dr. Devious.

After firty-one years as a trainer, forty-four of which were spent at Ballydoyle, Vincent O'Brien announced his retirement in October 1994.

Vincent O'Brien's eldest son, David, set up as a trainer in the Rahinaghmore Stables, which adjoins Ballydoyle, in 1980 at the age of twenty-four. In a short nine year period, he established himself as one of the outstanding young flat trainers of all time, being one of the few to win the English, French and Irish Derbys.

In 1982 he was the first British or Irish trainer to win the French Derby (Prix du Jockey Club) with Assert. This horse also won the Irish Derby and the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup in the same year. In 1983 he was the first trainer to win the Irish 2000 Guineas with a filly. This he did with the brilliant Triptych.

Probably one of the most sensational Epsom Derbys of all time was the 1984 race which was won by a short head by Secreto - trained by David and ridden by Christy Roche from Bansha from El Gran Senor, who was trained by Vincent and ridden by another Irish jockey, Pat Eddery.

In a very different sphere of endeavour, Jacqueline O'Brien has established an international reputation in photography and, in association with Desmond Guinness, has produced two highly acclaimed photographic volumes: Great Irish Houses and Castles and Dublin - A Grand Tour.

Tipperary Tim and other Greats

Still on horses but going back to an earlier time, Tipperary Tim (called after the famous Dundrum runner, Tim Crowe, who won the London Marathon in 1924) won the Aintree Grand National. He was bred by John Ryan at Dogstown, which borders the parish. In 1928 Ryan emigrated to America and, in fact, was on the boat as it was about to leave Cobh when he learnt that the horse he bred had won the 'Blue Riband' of National Hunt racing. The New York Times reported John Ryan's account of how he heard the news: 'I was sitting in the smoking room,' he said, 'when a man pokes his head in the door and says: "Does anybody want to know who won the National?" and I said: "I do," and he says, "It's Tipperary Tim, and who are you?" "I'm his breeder," says I, and then we had a bit of celebration all round.'

The late Paddy Quinn of Kilbragh bought Golden Miller as a yearling for 100 guineas at Dublin Sales from Mr. Lawrence Geraghty of Co. Meath and sold him as a three-year-old for £300. The horse then went to England and eventually became the property of Dorothy Paget. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on five successive occasions between 1932 and 1936 and also won the Aintree Grand National in the record time of 9 minutes 20.4 seconds, carrying 12 stone 2 pounds.

One cannot talk of horse racing without mentioning the name of Arkle. It may interest readers to known that apart from Arkle only one other horse ever beat the great Mill House at level weights and that horse was none other than Hunter's Fort which was bred by the recently deceased Pat O'Donnell of Kilconnell.

The late Henry Quinn of Mayfield owned Heirloom, who won the Irish Grand National in 1945. He also owned Dickie May, who won the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup when trained by Tom Dreaper.

James Ryan O'Connor was a bookmaker in London at the turn of the century but had a house near Rosegreen, whereto he returned frequently on holiday. His uncle, Jim O'Connor, donated two of the statues in the Parish Church, Cashel and also the marble altar in Rockwell College.

Ryan O'Connor was a colourful character and named his house in London, 'Rosegreen'. He set up his own trainer - a Mr. O'Dwyer - at Lochfedora near Cashel and he trained the Irish Derby winner in 1911 named Shanballymore.

When home on holidays, Ryan O'Connor used to go racing at Limerick Junction and on the train journey back used to throw his small change out the window where the children would wait to pick it up. He also used to give one of the locals a sovereign to go into Cashel in the pony and trap to collect the newspaper. He eventually was made bankrupt as a result of his betting. His daughters continued to live in Rosegreen; the last, Kitty, died as recently as 1992.

Expensive Horseflesh

In the winter of 1940 Tim Hyde moved his racing stable from Cork, where the new Christy Ring field is today, to Cashel. The moving was done by train and the horses walked out to Camas Park. Hyde was a most successful jockey. He rode the winner of the Irish National on two occasions, with Clare County in 1938 and Prince Regent in 1945. He won the Aintree Grand National in 1939 on Workman and he trained Dominick's Bar to win the Irish National in 1950. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Prince Regent in 1946 and became the champion National Hunt jockey. He was also a top show-jumper, winning many victories, including the Horse of the Year Championship on Hack On in Harringay in 1949. His successful career came to an abrupt end when he was injured at the Clonakilty Show in 1950 and he spent the remainder of his life in a wheelchair.

His son, Timmy, has made his mark in the stud farm business. In 1984 he sold the most expensive yearling ever purchased in Europe for £3,100,000 at Goff's Sales. The colt was by Shergar and went on to win two Group I races, including the St. Leger. Some of the successful classic winners bred in Camas include AI Bahatri, who won the Irish 1000 Guineas, Indian Skinner, who won the French Oaks and Soviet Star, who won the French 2000 Guineas.

The Oval Shaped Ball

There has been a rugby club in existence in Cashel since 1912 and the club moved to its present location on the Old Road in 1951. The most famous players ever to come from the parish were undoubtedly the Ryan brothers from the Racecourse. They were legends in their own lifetimes and the legends have not faded in the meantime. Mike was capped 17 times for Ireland between 1897 and 1904 and Jack 14 times over the same period. Mike was chosen in 1905 but refused to play because Jack wasn't picked. Both were on the first Irish team to win the Triple Crown in 1899. Both played a major part in that memorable victory. Against Scotland a well-publicised incident happened: Mike slung the biggest Scottish player, McEwan, into the spectators. 'He was playing a great game. Now, from our twenty-five he meant to get through. I saw him coming, teeth bared, jaw set, determination written all over him. Five yards from me he hurled himself for me. I got one arm well round him, swung around with him and let go; he sailed out into the crowd. There was a great hush for a moment in which you would have heard a pin drop. It was looked on as a prodigious feat of strength, but it was his own size and speed that helped me. He resumed the game nothing the worse.'

Only five players played in all three matches: 'Louis Magee, James Sealy, Billy Byron and the two Ryans. 'Jack and I returned home. At the Racecourse Cross we were held up by all Rockwell. To a man they had turned out to welcome us. They took the horse from between the shafts and insisted on pulling us all the way to the college we loved, though our hands ached from all the fierce handclasps we received.'

James McCarthy, an outstanding sportswriter of the time, once described a famous try by Mike Ryan with the memorable phrase: 'crossing the line, his frame festooned by Saxons.' The Cashel club was the home club of Johnny Moroney in the mid-sixties after he left Rockwell, because there was no club in Clogheen. Moroney won a number of international caps. The Wolfhounds played in Cashel on two occasions in the fifties. Cashel fielded an all-Ryan selection in 1956, captained by Denis Ryan, and played against a County Tipperary fifteen. The first major trophy won by the club was the Garryowen Cup in 1953-54. It was won a second time two years later.

Handball

The greatest national distinction achieved by people from the parish in the past twenty years has been in the game of handball. Since the opening of the Michael 'Monto' Carrie Memorial Alley in 1975 hand ballers from Cashel have won an impressive list of victories.

Pride of place in the roll of honour must go to John O'Donoghue, who has won All-Irelands at minor, under-21, junior and senior levels. At the minor level the outstanding hardball player has to be Noel Marshall, for a hat-trick of victories in 1991, '92 and '93. Others successful at the minor level were David Moloney, Noel Murphy and Michael Carrie. At the under-21 level John Fitzell, Jocie O'Dwyer, David Moloney and Noel Murphy won the highest honours. David Moloney and Jocie O'Dwyer were again successful at junior level and the Cashel club had the honour of winning the junior inter-club All-Ireland in 1992 with a team that included Jocie O'Dwyer, Noel Murphy, David Moloney and Brendan Murphy. Paddy Hoare and Willie O'Dwyer won the novice All-Ireland in 1991.

Other All-Ireland victories in handball have been achieved in Cumann na mBunscoil, Community Games, Tailteann Games, Feile na nGael, Vocational Schools, Junior and Senior Colleges and Inter-University competitions.

At Cumann na mBunscoil level, All-Ireland honours were won by Noel Murphy, Noel Marshall, Timmy Moloney, Michael Carrie, Denis White, Connie Crotchett, Barry Moloney and Albert Carrie, junior.

In the Community Games the highest honours were achieved by Willie and John Fitzell, Tommy and P. J. McGeer, Paul and Steven Moloney, John O'Donoghue, Jamie Gillespie, Michael Carrie, Noel Marshall, Denis White, Connie Crotchett, Noel Murphy, Timmy Moloney, John O'Dwyer and Michael Carrie.

In different years John Fitzell, Jocie O'Dwyer, John McGeer, Seanie and Declan White, Michael Carrie, Michael Mclnerney, Brendan and Noel Murphy, Alan Gillespie, David Moloney, P. J. McGeer, have been successful in the Tailteann Games.

Jocie O'Dwyer, Gerard Myers, Seanie White and John McGeer won top honours in Division II of Feile na nGael in 1983. Jocie O'Dwyer had the added distinction of being skills champion.

Many of the above mentioned won the highest honours at Vocational School level, John O'Donoghue, John Fitzell, Jocie O'Dwyer, Noel Murphy, Noel Marshall, Denis White and P. J. McGeer.

Cashel boys have also made their impact at Junior and Senior Colleges level, John O'Neill, John O'Donoghue, Jimmy O'Neill, John J. Murphy, John Scannell, Richard Fahy, Michael Carrie and David Moloney. In Inter-University competitions, honours were won by John and Jimmy O'Neill, John Scannell, Michael Carrie and Eamon O'Brien.

Nor have the girls been found wanting. Perhaps they have been inspired by the famous hand balling nuns, Sr. Mary Brennan, who won two over-30s AII-Irelands in 1979, and Sr. Paula Buckley.

The successes of the girls include Regina Mulligan, Teresa Scully, Nollaig Ryan, Triona and Nuala Bonnar, Anne and Michelle Buckley, Kathleen Guilfoyle, Margaret Lonergan, Deirdre Heelan, Noreen O'Dwyer, Tina Keating, Caroline Kenny, Carol Moloney and Sandra Hourigan in the Tailteann Games.

Many have also won honours in the Community Games, including Teresa Scully, Michelle Fogarty, Regina Mulligan, Nuala, Eithne and Triona Bonnar, Kathleen Guilfoyle, Anne Buckley, Deirdre Healan, Margaret Lonergan, Christine O'Dwyer, Jean Hourigan, Eleanor O'Shaughnessy, Monica Broad, Joan McGrath, Carol Moloney, Caroline Kenny, Sandra Hourigan, Roseanna O'Dwyer, Allison White and Catriona O'Reilly.

All-Ireland champions include Jackie Keating, who achieved the highest honours in three consectuive years, 1991, '92 and '93. She also came third in the USHA final in Cincinatti in 1992. Other All-Ireland successes were achieved by Sandra Hourigan and Caroline Kenny in 1992 and by Carol Moloney in 1993.

By any standards this has to be recognised as an outstanding performance by the club members. At the beginning of the account John O'Donoghue was singled out for his All-Ireland medals in four different grades. The achievements of David Moloney and Noel Murphy have also been outstanding: they have won no less than fifteen and thirteen AII-Irelands respectively in different competitions since they first came on the scene in 1985.

A Golfing Interlude

It may come as a surprise to many to learn that there was a golf course in Cashel at one time: a golf links to give it its precise name. The information is rather sparse but as far as can be ascertained it was located in what was then Stapleton's land, opposite Dan Grogan's, on the Clonmel Road.

It appears that the original intention was to start a club in a different place. There was a meeting in the City Hall in October 1912 for the purpose of establishing a golf links. One of the main speakers was C. Barrington, J.P., who spoke of the advantages a golf links would have for Cashel. Old and young, fat and thin, men and women could play it. It would bring business to the town. He would recommend starting with a nine-hole course and if that was successful they could always extend it to eighteen holes. They had about fifty-five potential members, which was an adequate number. The biggest problem would be renting a suitable site because the land was so rich around Cashel. They would not require the links during summer as golf was entirely a winter game, played from October to April. (Presumably when the grass was eaten or scarce.) Other speakers placed emphasis on the last point. As golf was a winter game the owners of land would not suffer any loss or damage by the establishment of a golf links.

A small committee of six was appointed to find a suitable site. When they reported back they had selected Mr. Dwyer's (no relation of the present owners) land at Locfedora, which contained over sixty acres and the owner was willing to let it to them for the first year for £20. It was agreed to take up the offer. A professional golfer from Tipperary, Mr. Doyle, was engaged for one month to coach the members. The following charges were agreed to for members: Family £2-2-0; Gentlemen £ 1-1-0; Ladies 1 0/6d.

Whatever happened to these plans is not known because they never came to pass. The links was established on the Clonmel Road by 1918. It was an elaborate set-up with a clubhouse in timber with a felt roof and some 'lovely furniture inside.' The links contained nine holes and the greens were wired off squares. The fairways used to be cut and rolled by Paddy Stapleton and the game was played in the summer, despite the protestations of Mr. Barrington. Some people still living remember the players; the ladies in their long dresses and hats and the men in their plus-fours. Bernard Cantwell and Willie Delaney are remembered driving out in a big white horse and trap to play a game after first Mass on a Sunday morning. The Matthews, who worked in the National Bank, used to walk out for a game with their daughter, Miriam. Miss Corby was a member, as were the Trayers and the Ryan-O'Connors. Willie Hackett, who used to live in Bill Gough's, was the caretaker. Paddy Purcell was a keen player as also were Mrs. Costello of the jewellery shop, Mrs. Spiers, whose husband was an excise officer, the Coopers of Killenure, some Rockwell priests and Dean Talbot.

It's difficult to establish when it ceased to operate as a golf links. The clubhouse was burned down in or about 1922 and was rebuilt a couple of years later. By the late twenties it had ceased to be a viable proposition. One theory is that the upkeep had become too great for the declining membership. Whatever the reason it ceased to exist. A meeting was held in Ryan's Hotel in the early fifties to revive it but nothing materialised. W. P. Ryan and Jack Rodgers were among those who attended.

Some Lesser-known Heroes and Heroines

Cashel has produced its heroes and heroines in less wellknown sporting activities. Cork ex-patriate, Mick Bennett, was an All-Ireland tug-o'-war champion. Aidan Fogarty won a national badminton championship. 'Boy' O'Brien of Haig's Terrace was an All-Army boxing champion. In wrestling Stephen Ryan of Chapel Lane and Jimmy 'Tiger' Ryan of Cathal Brugha Street made it to the top. Joe Delahunty of Dominic Street was a national javelin champion. In running, John Fitzell, Brendan Murphy and Annie McCormack have won recognition, as also have Tommy Barron and Mary Price in crosscountry running. Marie Gayson and Tommy Leen are skittles champions. Michael Perdue won the long puck in the 1982 Community Games. In weight-lifting Garda Andrew Fogarty won a national championship and Johnny Ryan-Cagney was a one-mile walk champion. And what about the exploits of Paddy Anglim of Rosegreen? He was N.A.C.A. champion of Ireland for six successive years in the long jump between 1931-36 and for the same length of time in the pole vault between 1929-34. Did you ever hear of Tai Kwondo? It's the Korean martial art of hand and foot. John Foley of Dualla Road was on the Black Belt team that won the national championship in 1992. Two years earlier he won the Black Dragon Karate individual championship in his weight. Another O'Brien, a brother of Boy's, was an All-Army champion in 60 and 100 metres. An earlier hero was Michael O'Connor of Rathcowan. His field of fame was the shot putt. He won the All-Ireland championship in the 28 Ib in August 1900 and in the 56 Ib the following year. He was presented with a cup, still in the family, called the Rathcowan Cup, by J. Costello, Jeweller, Cashel, in honour of his achievement.

Any account of sporting highlights in the parish of Cashel and Rosegreen that omitted to mention the names of Tommy Wade and Dundrum would be incomplete. The combination brought honour and glory, not only to the little townsland of Longfield but to the broader area of Tipperary and to Ireland at large. Two other names from the parish who have made an impact in showjumping are Seamus Hayes and Shane Breen. One of the youngest heroines in the parish is Niamh O'Connor of Cahir Road, who won a junior international gold medal for Ireland in the international competition for disabled swimmers in Scotland in June 1993, the first Irish girl to win such an honour. On a completely different plane two people from the parish have won All-Irelands in ploughing: Larry Bergin of Rosegreen and Gary Prendergast of Dangan.

And, did you know that Bernie O'Dwyer of the Old Road is the daughter of the late Paddy Ryan of Pallasgreen, a world hammer throwing champion? Or that Hurricane Billy Warren, a world heavyweight boxing champion, gave an exhibition in Cashel? Sike and McTigue also boxed in Cashel. And have you heard of Cover Cleary? Not much is known of him but the story goes that one day a running champion was finding it difficult to shake off the attentions of an opponent and was alleged to have said in frustration: 'Is it the devil I have with me today or Cover Cleary from Cashel?'

Canine Glory

Cashel has had its share of successful 'doggie' men. One of the more recent was Jim 'Jumbo' Ryan who won the Waterloo Cup in consecutive years with Minnesota Miller in 1976 and Minnesota York in 1977. Back in the fifties Philip Hennessy of Templenoe won the Laurels in Cork with Templenoe Rebel and Philip Holmes won the Tipperary Cup in Thurles with Bellaree. James Farrell won the Derby in Clonmel with Fourth of July, in 1957, and the McCalmont Cup in Kilkenny the same year. Two years later Fainne won the McCalmon Mont Cup in Harold's Cross and in 1971 Fleur-de-Lis won the Corn Cuchulainn at the same venue. John Fahy had a runner-up with Potipher in the coursing Derby in Clonmel in 1967 and his Mr. Gallant won the Deise Cup in Dungarvan in 1969. Frank O'Regan took the Carroll's Irish Derby in 1981 with Bold Work.

One of the most successful trainers in the parish is Tom O'Dwyer. One of his earliest winners was Rattle the Key in the Produce Stakes in Clonmel in 1962. After more winners in the next two decades he hit a golden patch in the eighties. In 1984 Smokey Dixie won the Connaught Cup and in the following year Smokey Pete captured the Scottish and Welsh Derbys. In the same year Townbrook Bimbo won the coursing Derby in Clonmel and Smokey Hothead captured Corn na Feile. Pyramid Club won the coursing Derby in 1988 and Smokey David the Clonmel Open International in 1993. His wife, Mary, has also had a number of successes. She captured the coursing Oaks at Clonmel in 1978 with Smokey Flavour and the Belsize Cup in Co. Westmeath. She was also successful in the coursing Oaks with Smokey Alice in 1984.

No mention of 'doggie' men in the area would be complete without the inclusion of Dick Ryan of Gooldscross, probably the greatest of them all. His list of achievements is incredible and can be appreciated fully only by people 'in the sport. He won the Newbridge Open and Clarke Cup Open nine times. He won the Irish Cup in Clounanna on three occasions. The North Kilkenny Cup in Ballyragget was won on twelve occasions. When he won the Waterloo Cup with Old Kentucky Minstrel in 1957 he was the first Irishman to be successful in eighty years. Having made the breakthrough he won it twice more, with Himalayan Climber in 1959 and Dubedoon in 1963. He trained Move on Swanky in his second season and the dog equalled the record of thirty-four successive courses set and held by Local Master. He also won numerous Irish Grand Nationals on the track. His last venture to England was in 1976 when he won the Waterloo Plate with Tipping Around. Born in 1911 he was honoured during his lifetime with a Caltex Award and the Greyhound Hall of Fame Award, the latter in 1991, a year before his death.

The Most Popular Pursuits

Of all the sporting activities that have occupied the people of Cashel for generations, Gaelic games have been the most popular. Even before the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884 hurling was popular in the parish. In spite of this it took four attempts to found a G .A.A. club in the town and this happened in June 1888 with Dr. Tom Wood as the first chairman. In the course of time the club became known as the Cas he I King Cormacs and it has always been the major club in the parish. Other teams to appear at various times were the Rock Crackers, for a brief period in 1887, Racecourse in the same year, Ballyfowloo in 1915, Abbey Rangers in 1941, Knocknagow in 1950, Rosegreen in 1955 and 1980, Suir Rangers 1958, Crokes 1962 and St. Mary's 1963.

Mention of Racecourse recalls the county final of 1910 in which they beat Toomevara twice before losing both games on appeal. Two brothers, synonymous with the Racecourse are Jack and Mike Ryan, who were prominent for the club and county in hurling and football.

Even though hurling was always the premier game the first Cashel players to win national honours, Tom Connor, Michael Dargan and Michael Devitt, did so in All-Ireland junior football in 1912. In the following year Patrick Dargan won an All-Ireland junior hurling medal and Jim Hickey emulated this feat in 1924. Michael Burke won All-Ireland minor hurling honours in 1932 and 1933.

Not until 1937 did a Cashel man win All-Ireland honours in senior hurling. The honour went to Jack Gleeson of Shanballa, who has the added distinction of winning a junior All-Ireland the following year with London. The next parish man to win the highest honours was Jim Devitt who was probably one of the most brilliant stickmen to come out of Tipperary. He won AIlIreland honours in 1945 and' 49. A few minor hurling stars came next, Mickey Buckley in 1949 and Johnny Murphy, who was later to play for New York, in 1953 and' 55. Peter O'Sullivan won five All-Ireland hurling medals in three grades: intermediate in 1963, under-21 and senior in 1964 and senior in 1965 and 1971. Two Cashel players won All-Ireland honours in 1967, Conor Davitt and Patsy O'Connor. Tommy Grogan and Tony Slattery won minor hurling honours in 1976 and under-21 in 1979. In the latter year Cormac Bonnar won his first All-Ireland in the same grade and made it a double the following year. Other successes in the eighties included Sean Slattery and Colm Bonnar in minor hurling in 1982 and in 1985 Col m and Pat O'Donoghue won under-21 hurling honours.

The mention of the Bonnars introduces a household that has brought more distinction to the club and parish than any other family. As mentioned above, Col m won All-Ireland honours in minor and under-21 and was unfortunate to be on a beaten AIIIreland junior team in 1985. He was a member of the county senior hurling team that ended the 'famine' in 1987 and went on to win AII-Irelands in 1989 and 1991. He also won a National League medal in 1988. Also on that successful side was Pat Fitzell, who was getting his second medal, his first having been won in 1979. Another Bonnar, Cormac, having already won two All-Ireland under-21 medals, came back in the autumn of his career to win senior glory in 1989 and 1 991 , thus achieving the distinction of winning AII-Irelands in three decades. A younger member of the clan, Conal, was also on the successful winning teams of 1989 and '91. All three have also been recognised with All-Star awards, Colm in 1988 and Cormac and Conal in 1989 and '91.

A high point in the history of the Cashel club was undoubtedly the opening of Leahy Park in 1956. The club had used many venues down the decades and finally found a permanent home on the Clonmel Road. The naming of the Park after the famous Johnny Leahy from Boherlahan was a recognition of his stature in the county. It also recalled the fact that he played his first senior hurling with Cashel in 1908 and it recognised the respect Cashel always had for the men of Boherlahan.

Without doubt the outstanding achievement of the Cashel King Cormacs was the winning of the county senior hurling title in 1 991. This success was a long time coming but the joy, excitement and satisfaction in winning it were worth the wait. Almost forty years previously the club had won its first county junior hurling title, in 1953, and over the intervening decades won similar honours in minor and under-21 . But the senior continued to elude it until 1991. Having eventually made the breakthrough Cashel went on to win the Munster Club title with a glorious victory over Midleton and were deprived of ultimate honours after a three-game saga with Kiltormer from Co. Galway.

While still on the subject of hurling it is worth recalling that Cashel C.B.S. won two All-Ireland 'B' competitions in the early eighties. In 1980 they beat Roscommon C.B.S. to win the school's first ever All-Ireland and to become the first school in the county to win Corn UI Dhaoimh. Cashel repeated the victory in 1982 by beating Callan C.B.S. in the final.

The girls from the Presentation Convent anticipated the achievements of the boys by winning the All-Ireland Colleges junior camogie title in 1975. They were the first team to bring the cup to Munster. The school went one better in 1977 when winning the All-Ireland senior championship. In 1978 the school captured the double, beating Bawnmore in the junior and Shannon in the senior finals. Success continued in 1979 with a second senior All-Ireland in a victory over Athenry. The person largely responsible for these major successes was Willie Prendergast, who got involved in 1974 and retired as gamesmaster in 1980. He was succeeded by Martin Quirke who guided the school to victory in the junior and senior Munster Colleges championships in 1989 and to a further senior in 1990.

At the club level Cashel Camogie Club has done very well in recent years. After winning county junior and intermediate honours in the early sixties, the club hit the jackpot in the 1980s by winning six county senior titles in-a-row between 1986 and , 91. Three players have the distinction of having won all six medals: Irene Butler, Julia O'Dwyer and Noreen Ryan. The club was also successful at underage level, winning county under-16 titles in 1987, '88, '90 and '92 and under-18 in 1989, '90 and '91. Cashel players have won recognition at county level. No less than eight of the successful team that won All-Ireland junior honours in 1992 came from the Cashel club: captain Triona Bonnar, Kaiffe Moloney, Jovita Delaney, Anne Marie Fitzgerald, Helen O'Leary, Marita Tobin, Angela Ryan and Joan Tobin. Club players also contributed to Tipperary's All-Ireland victories at under-16 level: Jovita Delaney, Nessa O'Dwyer, Marita Tobin, Jackie Keating, Sylvia Ryan, Tracy Bargary and ROlsin Nash in 1990 and Michelle Bulfin, Edel Keane, Michelle Burke and Anne Barry in 1992. Two girls from the club have won Cidona Awards: Jovita Delaney in 1990 and Kaiffe Moloney in 1991.

The problem with an article of such length, covering such a long period of time and mentioning so many activities and names, is the danger of omissions. In anticipation that someone has been left out I should like him/her to know that it was not deliberate. There is also the possibility that some activities that might have been mentioned have been left out. Again, I apologise for the omissions. Concerning all those who made a name for themselves in some sporting activity during the first hundred years of the period covered by this book, all I can say is that I came across no records of their achievements and, therefore, was unable to mention them. Finally, I should like to thank a number of people who supplied information, particularly Peter McCarthy, Timmy Hyde, Tom O'Dwyer, Albert Carrie, Julia O'Dwyer, Mick Fogarty and many others too numerous to mention.




Times to Cherish: Cashel and Rosegreen Parish History 1795-1995, ed. by Bernie Moloney, pp 154-163