Wednesday, 30 January 2013

1935: Tragedy for Tipperary

Tipperary began the 1935 football campaign with a visit to Ennis to play Clare. The game was a hectic one with Tipp emerging winners by 1-8 to 0-8. Fermoy was the venue for the Munster final against Cork. In the early stages, Cork made all the running with only the brilliance of Jim Williams in goal keeping the Leeside forwards in check. Tipp settled down and points from Kieran Holland, Dick Lonergan and Dick Allen, followed by a goal from Jim Noonan, had them ahead at the break. By the three quarter stage Tipp were well clear. At the finish, nine points separated the teams as Tipp bridged a thirteen year gap to win 2-8 to 1-2.

Rare Pathé Newsreel Footage
On then to Croke Park on August 18th where Cavan, All-Ireland champions in 1933 and beaten semi-finalists the following year, provided the opposition. At the time Cavan fielded some of the all time greats including Tom O'Reilly, Jim Smith, Louis Blessing, Packie Boylan and M.J. McGee. Tipp were not overawed by the opposition, however, and began well with Dick Allen shooting the opening point. The Premier county were having the better of matters but faulty finishing cost many scores. At the interval, Cavan—despite fewer chances—led by 0-5 to 0-2. Tipp found their scoring range in the second half and points from Kieran Holland, Dick Lonergan and Waltie Scott raised Tipp hopes. Twenty minutes of the second half had elapsed and scores were level at 0-6 each. With eight minutes remaining, Dick Allen placed Dick Power for the lead and Kieran Holland added a point. Cavan came back for a point at the other end but, going into lost time, Tipp still clung on to a one point lead.

The Tipp defence conceded a "50" and as Cavan captain, Jim Smith, stepped up to take it, referee Paddy McDonnell of Dublin was seen to speak to the player. Tipp players and supporters waited with bated breath for what seemed certain to be the last kick of the game. As the ball dropped short Tipp were certain that the game was over but no whistle sounded. Blessing broke the ball to Tom O'Reilly who deflected it past Jim Williams for a sensational goal. Despite Tipp protests, the green flag was raised, the match was over and what seemed like certain victory for Tipp ended in tragedy. Over the hour Tipp had a total of seventeen wides to Cavan's five.

TIPPERARY
Jim Williams
Clonmel Shamrocks
Mick Morrissey
Kilsheelan

Bill Purcell
Kilsheelan
Bob McGann
Clonmel Shamrocks

Ned Scott
Mullinahone
Paddy Denny
Mullinahone

Jimmy Lonergan
Kilsheelan 
Tommy O'Keeffe
Kilsheelan / Shamrocks
Tommy McDonald
Clonmel Shamrocks
Dick Lonergan
Moyle Rovers

Dick Allen
Fethard
Kieran Holland
Templemore

Jim Noonan
Fethard
Dick Power
Clonmel Shamrocks

Waltie Scott
Mullinahone

The Tipperary full back, Bob McGann, was a member of the Garda stationed in Clonmel at the time. He was a native of Galway and played at centre half-back with his county's hurlers when they lost to Cork in the All-Ireland senior hurling final of 1928. He married one of the Moloughney ladies whose family were Clonmel publicans. They moved to Cork city and one of their sons, Barry, played rugby for Ireland in the late sixties and seventies.

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