Monday 18 August 2014

Surprising Big Win for Tipperary

All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final:

Tipperary 2-18; Cork 1-11

Tipperary showed a lot of spirit and determination—and no little skill—in carving out a ten points win over old rivals Cork in Croke Park yesterday. The Tipperary backs, centre field and some of the forwards upset Cork's rhythm causing them to make mistakes and shoot some bad wides. Despite having the ball in the Cork half for more than 60 per cent of the first period, Tipperary only led by two points at half time. This was due to the mistaken policy of playing a one-man full forward line and raining long balls down into the Cork goal mouth. When things were changed in the second-half the forwards moved much more smoothly.

One incident in this game stood out for me; it was the sight of Tipperary forward John O'Dwyer racing ten yards to block an attempted Cork clearance, then picking up the loose ball and, from out near the side line, putting the ball over the bar from his left side. If that would not rouse the Tipperary spirit and break the hearts of the opposition, nothing would! O'Dwyer, Seamus Callanan and Patrick (Bonner) Maher were the outstanding forwards.

John O'Dwyer is not the first Killenaule man to show great skill on the Tipperary senior hurling team at a vital moment. I remember the 1962 All-Ireland final final when a great goal from Killenaule's Tom Ryan in the dying moments of the game snatched victory from a gallant Wexford team who had conceded two goals in the first five minutes. To quote lines from a poem written by the late Br. Joe Perkins following that game:
Like Mackey of yore, McKenna tore, then parted with the ball.
I'll never forget how he shook the net, the man from Killenaule.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

The First Under-21 Hurling Final

The first All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final was played at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on 4 October 1964 and brought Tipperary and Wexford into opposition. Tipperary, prompted by a superb mid-field of Mick Roche and Joe Fogarty, ran out winners by 8-9 to 3-1, but the game was much more entertaining than the scoreline would suggest. Michael Keating was another of Tipperary's stars. Playing at centre-forward, he set the Premier County firmly on the road to the title when he grabbed two goals inside a minute midway through the first half. He finished top scorer on the day with 2-3. The first goal of the final was not long delayed. Noel Lane, the Tipperary right half forward, sent a long shot from out on the wing all the way to the net in just three minutes. He also scored another goal in the game.

Tipperary and Kilkenny did not meet in an Under-21 final until 1980 when they drew a big crowd to Walsh Park, Waterford. A goal eleven minutes from time by left-half-forward Austin Buckley clinched victory for Tipperary. They won 2-9 to 0-14. Pat Fox, at left-full-back, was one of the winners' aces.

A year later, Tipperary made it three titles on the trot with a resounding win over Kilkenny by nine points at Walsh Park. Full forward Donie O'Connell scored 2-1 for Tipperary. Nicholas English and Bobby Ryan were also on the score-sheet for the winners. The stars for Kilkenny were left-full-forward Billy Walton, with 1-7, and centre-half-back Billy O'Hara along with goalkeeper Michael Walsh.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Wonderful Irish Ladies

Ladies Rugby World Cup: Ireland 17 New Zealand 14

This victory by the Irish Ladies Rugby team in yesterday's World Cup game in Paris can take it's place along side the great Irish sporting achievements in history. The New Zealand All-Blacks are the kingpins of both men's and women's rugby. Their ladies have won the last four world cups without losing a game in the competition since 1991 until yesterday. When one considers that the Irish team are all amateurs, drawing from a small pool of players, and conceding a big weight advantage to New Zealand who are a professional team, the enormity of their achievement becomes clear. We can now hope that their male counterparts will achieve that long-hoped-for win over the All-Blacks.

Saturday 2 August 2014

The First World War

The First World War (1914-18) was waged between the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria) and the Allied and Associated Powers led by France, UK and the British Empire, Russia and—later—the USA. The Allied side also included Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Japan, Portugal, Italy, Romania and eventually Liberia, China, Brazil, and Guatemala.

It began with a declaration of war by Austria upon Serbia on 28 July 1914; it ended at 11am on 11 November 1918 when the terms of the Armistice granted to the defeated German army came into effect. The greater part of the actual fighting was by land armies. Combatant armies at the outset totalled over 16 million. At the end of the war, the total mobilised strength in service was nearly 26 million. From first to last, Germany mobilised 11 million men; the UK and British Empire nearly 9 million. Nearly 8 million combatants of all nations were killed including over 2 million Germans, 1.7 million Russians, 1.3 million French, 1,2 million Austro-Hungarians and over 1 million from the British Empire. As an immediate or direct result of the war, nearly £40,000 million of debt or expenditure was incurred.

Russia withdrew from the war on 15 December 1917, following the Bolshevik revolution. War was formally ended by the treaties of Versailles which Germany signed on 28 June 1919 and which established the League of Nations.