Monaleen’s Tipperary management, from left: Kevin Cummins (Goalkeeping Coach), Dermot Gleeson (Selector), Paul Treacy (S&C Coach), Eoin Brislane (Manager). Missing from photo: Trevor Galvin (Coach).

Strong Tipp influence in Monaleen

By Shane Brophy

When Roscrea manager Liam England looks along the side-line in Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday, he will see some familiar faces in front of the Monaleen dugout. That is because the Limerick champions have a huge Tipperary influence in their set-up, spearheaded by manager Eoin Brislane from Toomevara who took over the Annacotty/Castletroy side at the start of this year. Brislane and England were both on the Tipperary senior hurling panel in 2006.

The Toomevara connection is strengthened by the inclusion of Trevor Galvin (trainer), Paul Treacy (strength & conditioning) and Kevin Cummins (goalkeeping coach) to the backroom team.

Another Tipperary man involved is Ballinahinch’s Dermot Gleeson who played senior inter-county football with England and Tipperary in 2002 before moving on to play his club hurling with Newtownshandrum in Cork where he won a Munster senior club medal in 2005.

Another thing Monaleen have in common with Roscrea, as well as winning their respective county championships and wearing red, is that they both bounced back from relegations in 2021.

“I look at Roscrea and see something similar to ourselves,” Dermot Gleeson said.

“They have progressed through the year. If you look at their team the first day versus the last day, it has been evolving with different levels finding their feet and other lads coming to the fore.”

Monaleen were relegated from Senior B last year and there wasn’t much expectation this year with a young panel with an average age of 23, with nine players having sat their Leaving Cert last summer. However, they belied that by coming through a very competitive Limerick premier intermediate championship of eight teams which is played on a round-robin format, with Monaleen finishing joint-top with Bruff and Newcastlewest. They defeated Effin in the semi-final before accounting for Bruff, 2-16 to 0-16 in the final. “It’s bonus territory,” Gleeson added of reaching a Munster final.

“We wouldn’t have been favourites to win the county championship,” Gleeson added.

“Bruff would have been favourites and second favourites behind them were Newcastlewest so it’s all bonus territory after winning the county final,” where they accounted for Clare’s St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield in the semi-final.

Monaleen’s GAA pedigree has been primarily in football where they have won six county senior titles. It’s a club that has produced the likes of former Limerick dual star Brian Geary, and current senior hurling coach Paul Kinnerk. While they would be a dual club, their hurling squad only contains a handful of players that would have played senior club football, so their panel is fresh.

With four Limerick clubs having reached the six Munster club hurling and football finals this year, GAA is flying high on Shannon side and Monaleen are benefitting from that.

“Limerick are on the crest of a wave at the moment, envious at them as Tipp men looking on from the outside,” Gleeson added.

“You would notice more people getting involved around the city, particularly with hurling. “It’s like anything, these are all cyclical. In Tipp we had our cycle and that will come again.”