Thursday 21 January 2016

Great Win for Clonmel High School

Corn Ui Mhuiri Munster Colleges Senior A Football Quarter-Final:

Clonmel High School 1-11; Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig 1-08

The Corn Ui Mhuiri quarter final, played at the Waterford Institute of Technology All-Weather ground in Carriganore, resulted in a great win for Clonmel High School. No other Tipperary school has advanced so far in this competition for many decades and every true Tipperary Gael will wish them further success. Clonmel High School are in fact the only Tipperary winners of this competition which was achieved in 1928 — the second occasion on which it took place. A number of players from that team were members of successful Tipperary football teams in the early 1930's, including the 1935 senior football team who were beaten in the All-Ireland Semi-final as a result of a controversial last-second goal by eventual All-Ireland winners Cavan.

Monday 18 January 2016

Billy Quinn R.I.P.

I was very sad to learn of the death of former Tipperary hurler, Billy Quinn. Billy was born at Rossestown, Thurles in 1935. He was an outstanding under-age hurler winning minor All-Ireland titles with Tipperary in 1951 and '52. His brother Dick and cousin Liam also played in 1952. He played his club hurling with Rahealty, which is in Thurles parish, and competed at under-age level in Tipperary competitions at that time.

He made his competitive senior debut with Tipperary hurlers in the National League Semi-Final against Galway at Thurles sportsfield — as it was then known — on the last Sunday of April 1954. Tipperary won on the day and it was the first time I had seen Tipperary senior hurlers in action. Billy's direct opponent that day was veteran Galway right-full back Colm Corless. The National League final against Kilkenny was played at Croke Park on the following Sunday. I have a clear recollection of the day; it was wet, windy and sleety; Billy was surprisingly placed at full-forward where he proceeded to score three goals against veteran Kilkenny full-back, Paddy (Diamond) Hayden, allowing Tipperary to go on to gain an easy victory. He was unfortunate in his senior hurling career in that it came after the great Tipperary victories between 1949 and 1952 and before their great years in the 1960's.

Billy was forced to seek employment outside Tipperary — first in Dublin, and later in England. He returned to play with the Faughs club in Dublin and also with Dublin senior hurlers.

Billy has lived for more than 30 years in Killenaule parish from where his wife, Mary hails. Mary's late brother, Ned, played on the Munster winning Tipperary senior hurlers of 1941, beating the already crowned All-Ireland champions Cork in the Munster final. The match was played in Thurles in October of that year — the delay was due to restrictions placed on travel from Tipperary owing to foot and mouth disease.

Billy's son, Niall, played at right-full-forward on the losing Dublin side against Galway in the All-Ireland minor hurling final of 1983. He went on to become one of Ireland's greatest International soccer players.

May Billy's gentle soul rest in peace.

Friday 15 January 2016

Battle of Ashbourne

Having read last week an Irish Independent account of the so-called Battle of Ashbourne, I felt I should re-produce a contemporaneous account from the Evening Herald during that eventful period. The incident occurred on April 28, 1916 when Fingal Volunteers under the command of Thomas Ashe attacked the RIC barracks at Ashbourne, Co. Meath.
Seven policemen killed 
A body of about 400 Sinn Feiners or Sinn Fein sympathisers were reported on Tuesday, May 2nd, to have made their way from the Dublin direction into Co.Meath, where they attacked and captured some small police stations at Ashbourne and Kilmoon, bordering on Co. Dublin. These outrages were perpetrated on the previous Friday. 
The affair at Kilmoon was very grave. Constable Inspector Gray was shot through both hands and part of the body; District-Inspector Smyth, of Navan, was twice wounded, and he and Sergeant Young, of Killyon, were afterwards shot dead. A chauffeur named Kepp was shot in the leg by an explosive bullet, and the leg was subsequently amputated in the Meath County Infirmary, but the patient died next morning. Eighteen constables and two other chauffeurs were wounded. Two sergeants and two constables were shot dead. 
The rebels took possession of the police rifles and seized some of their equipment. The police fought until their last cartridge had been expended. They then surrendered and the wounded were driven to Navan. District-Inspector Smyth was buried in Ardbraccan churchyard on Monday May 1st. His funeral, and the funerals of the other victims, were of imposing dimensions. It is reported that some of the rebels raided local post offices, and carried away money, giving receipts therefore in the name "The Irish Republic". 
Evening Herald (April 26 — 4 May, 1916)

Wednesday 13 January 2016

The Harper and His Dog

On the green banks of Shannon when Sheelagh was nigh,
No blithe Irish lad was so happy as I;
No harp like my own could so cheerily play,
And where ever I went was my poor dog Tray.

When at last I was forced from my Sheelagh to part,
She said, while the sorrow was big at her heart,
'Oh, remember your Sheelagh, when far, far away,
And be kind my dear Pat, to your poor dog Tray'.

Poor dog, he was faithful and kind to be sure,
And he constantly loved me, although I was poor,
When sour-looking folks sent me heartless away,
I had always a friend in my poor dog Tray.

Though my wallet was scant, I remembered his case,
Nor refused my last crust to his pitiful face;
But he died at my feet on a cold winter's day
And I played a lament for my poor dog Tray.
Where shall I go? Poor forsaken and blind,
Can I find one to guide me so faithful and kind?
To my sweet native village, so far, far away,
I can never return with my poor dog Tray.

— Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)