At Golden GAA grounds yesterday St. Mary's Hurling Club, Clonmel, had a surprisingly easy 2-19 to 0-11 win over Mid-Tipperary champions, Gortnahoe-Glengoole — and, by coming out on top in this Tipperary Intermediate County championship final, they now assume senior status. While a win such as this might not represent a 'big deal' to many people in Tipperary, it is something to celebrate for those of us who want to see hurling and Gaelic football flourishing in every club in the county.
Clonmel is a big town, but it has never had a senior hurling team capable of challenging at county level. St. Mary's has flown the hurling flag in Clonmel ever since its foundation in 1928 — although I am not ignoring the progress of Clonmel Óg which was formed over 30 years ago to promote both hurling and football.
St. Mary's sister club is Clonmel Commercials which has had no shortage of success in Gaelic football. Having won county minor hurling titles in 2015 and 2016, St. Mary's has both the material and the management to be successful in the senior ranks — and I very much hope that they will claim a County Senior Championship title in the not too distant future. Successful clubs, more especially those who perform well in both codes, are greatly hampered by the manner in which competitions are arranged and played in the county. A cluster of games are scheduled at this time of the year to bring the various competitions to a close — and the fact that such an important competition as Under-21 hurling only starts in the month of October is a disgrace. As things stand, St. Mary's will be involved in Munster club championship when many of their players are still eligible for the Under-21 grade. They will also be involved in a County senior football final with Commercials, and possibly in the Munster club competition.
No further comment is necessary.