Saturday, 26 January 2013

We Killed Them With Kindness

History tells us that, on 8th July 1928, Kerry played Tipperary in Tipperary town in the Munster Senior Football Championship. Kerry were hot favourites to win the game but Tipperary won by 1-7 to 2-3. Kerry had been unbeaten in the Munster Senior Championship since 1923; during that time they won All-Irelands in 1924 and 1926. In the years that followed they won four-in-a row All-Irelands from 1929 to 1931. During this period their teams contained such household names as Dan O'Keeffe, Joe Barrett, Paul Russell, Con Brosnan, Bob Stack, John Joe Sheehy, Jackie Ryan and the Landers brothers, among others.

I reproduce here an article by an unnamed writer penned in the match programme for the Erin Foods sponsored challenge games played at Semple Stadium, Thurles on 26th January 1990. The event was promoted by Friends of Tipperary Football. Tipp played Cork in the hurling and Down in the football:
We Killed Them With Kindness: Tipperary v. Kerry - 8th July 1928 
As the 5.45pm train steamed into the station at Tipperary Town on the Saturday evening, the Kerry players, officials and supporters could scarcely have anticipated the tremendous welcome that awaited them. 
Local enthusiasts had gathered in great force—both local bands were present—and the members of the Tipperary Urban Council provided an official welcoming party. As the team stepped from the train, the C.J. Kickham band struck up the National Anthem—an inspiring moment. In the course of the official address of welcome, it was stated that Tipperary can appreciate "the stimulating influence which a visit from such redoubtable upholders of the code is sure to exercise over the local fostering of the game". 
The famous John Joe Sheehy—the Kerry captain—in the course of his reply said: "We did not indeed expect such an extraordinary greeting and we appreciate very much the great compliment that has been paid to us. And I can assure you that we reciprocate fully the great tribute of respect that you have paid to our County". 
With the formalities over, the team checked in and had a meal at the Royal Hotel. A local paper concludes it's account of that Saturday evening by merely stating: "The team left at 7 o'clock for a tour of the Glen"—but thereby hangs a tale. The official version of that evening would say that the Kerry team was taken on a scenic tour of the Glen of Aherlow, and that light refreshments were served. The unofficial version would say that whatever happened that evening in the Glen had a disastrous affect on the Kerry performance the next day. 
Now many a good man went to the Glen and left intoxicated—with the beauty of the place. But that would not affect any Kerryman—they have more than their share of scenic spots. And any good Kerry man could drink pint for pint with any Tipp man. No, the problem did not lie there either. The unofficial version would say that it was the water coming from the Galtee streams, they were told, served late in the night that did the damage. Perhaps, perhaps! 
Tipp's performance the next day showed that they had a good night's rest for one thing. In the first half they led the Kerry defence a merry dance and went in at half-time leading 1-5 to Kerry's 0-2. The men from the Kingdom found their feet much better in the second half, but the Tipp defence held firm. The final result was Tipperary 1-7, Kerry 2-3. The moral of the story must be that there is more than one way to win a championship match!!
Tipperary team: Jack Weston, Dan Mullins (Fethard); Dick Heffernan, Tom Carthy (Clonmel); Paddy Arrigan, Paddy Kenny (Carrick); John O'Leary, Ned Lonergan (Ardfinnan); Tom Lee, Mick Barry (Bansha); Dick Mockler, Bill Barrett (Mullinahone); Tom O'Keeffe (Kilsheelan); Con Keane (Thurles); Jim Davey (Templemore); Sub: John Merrick.

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