The Year Ending in ‘1’ has been good for Tipperary
When the GAA inter-county season gets underway at some stage this year, there are many reasons to be optimistic of Tipperary success as the year ending in ‘1’ has been very good to the Premier County.
By Shane Brophy
Overall, in the history of the GAA, Tipperary have won thirteen All-Ireland and eighteen Munster titles in hurling, gaelic football and camogie, in the second year of each decade.
Tipperary’s first success came in 1911 when they won the Munster junior hurling title.
With the Irish Civil War raging in 1921, it is likely Tipperary were denied the opportunity to enjoy success in that year, particularly the senior footballers who were amongst the best teams in the country at the time.
Moving on to 1931, Tipperary won the Munster minor hurling title, captained by William O’Neill. Ten years later, Tipperary won the provincial senior hurling title, defeating Cork in the final, after a replay. However, the final wasn’t played until after the All Ireland final, due to a major Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in the country. Munster Council nominated Cork to play in the All-Ireland series and they duly won the All-Ireland Final, easily defeating Dublin. A few weeks later, Tipperary defeated Cork in the delayed Munster Final, 5-4 to 2-5, another All-Ireland title that slipped from Tipperary.
In 1951, one of the great Tipperary senior hurling teams completed a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland senior hurling titles when nineteen-year-old Jimmy Finn captained Tipperary to a 7-7 to 3-9 win over Wexford, led by the great Nicky Rackard in the final. That Tipperary team also included hurling legends such as Tony Reddin, Mickey “Rattler” Byrne, John Doyle, Pat Stakelum, Phil Shanahan, and Paddy Kenny. Also in 1951, Tipperary won the Munster junior hurling title.
In 1961, Tipperary began their golden era in senior hurling as they won the first of four Munster & All-Ireland senior titles in five years. Toomevara’s Matt Hassett captained Tipperary to a narrow 0-16 to 1-12 win over Dublin, a game in which Liam Devaney produced one of his greatest ever performances.
Tipperary completed a Munster treble in that year, landing the intermediate and minor hurling titles, the latter team including Peter O’Sullivan, Noel Lane, Mick Roche, and Michael “Babs” Keating who would win All-Ireland senior medals ten years later in 1971.That year saw Tipperary edge out Limerick 4-16 to 3-18 in the Munster final before beating Kilkenny 5-18 to 5-14 in the first eighty-minute All-Ireland final. Roscrea’s Tadhg O’Connor was Tipperary captain where Jimmy Doyle won his sixth and final All-Ireland medal.
1981 was a year in which Tipperary won a Munster and All-Ireland title in under 21 hurling, defeating Kilkenny in the final at Walsh Park, 2-16 to 0-10 captained by Nenagh Eire Og’s Philip Kennedy. The Tipperary team included Pat Fox, Nicky English, Bobby Ryan, and Donie O’Connell, players who would inspire Tipperary’s senior hurling revival later in the decade.
Indeed, all four were part of the Tipperary team in 1991 when they won the All-Ireland title, defeating Kilkenny 1-16 to 0-15 in the final, inspired by Michael Cleary’s fortunate second half goal.
Tipperary were denied a Croke Park double that day as their Munster champion minor hurlers, captained by Borrisokane’s Adrian Hogan, were defeated by Kilkenny in the final, 0-15 to 1-10. However, Tipperary did achieve a senior and junior hurling double as the junior team, defeated London 4-17 to 1-5 in the All-Ireland final. The team was captained by Portroe’s Gerry O’Brien.
Tipperary’s most recent senior hurling All-Ireland won in the second year of the decade came in 2001, when Nicky English’s charges defeated Galway 2-18 to 2-15 with Mark O’Leary the two-goal hero with captain Tommy Dunne producing a man of the match performance.
2001 was a year in which Tipperary were the kings and queens of the small ball as a week later the senior camogie team completed a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles as they thrashed Kilkenny 4-13 to 1-6 with the full forward line of Eimear McDonnell, Deirdre Hughes and Claire Grogan scoring 4-6 between them.
Not only did Tipperary win the senior title, but they also completed a Croke Park double by winning the All-Ireland junior title when they defeated Offaly 4-16 to 1-7.
Also, in 2001, Tipperary won the Munster minor hurling title, captained by Roscrea’s Diarmuid Fitzgerald.
It is hard to believe it is now ten years ago since the Tipperary minor footballers won the All-Ireland title in 2011. With a star-studded team that included Evan Comerford, John Meagher, Seamus Kennedy, Ian Fahey, Steven O’Brien, Liam McGrath, John McGrath, Philip Quirke and Michael Quinlivan, they defeated Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Meath, and Roscommon, on route to the final against Dublin where Colman Kennedy’s late goal snatched a 3-9 to 1-14 victory for the county’s first All-Ireland title since 1934.
There was also minor glory for Tipperary camogie in 2011 as they won the All-Ireland title for the first time when they defeated Kilkenny 4-4 to 2-9 at Semple Stadium. Captained by Silvermines’ Brid Quinn, the team contained current senior players Julie Ann Bourke, Clodagh Quirke, Caoimhe Maher, Andrea Loughnane, Ereena Fryday, Nicole Walsh, and Sarah Fryday.
2011 was also a year in which Tipperary the Munster senior hurling title where Lar Corbett scored 4-4 in a 7-19 to 0-19 final demolition of Waterford in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
So, what will 2021 have in store for Tipperary, hopefully plenty of success, whenever the blue and gold jerseys can get back out on the playing fields.