Monday 30 May 2016

Important Wins for Tipperary

Munster SFC Quarter Final:

Waterford 1-07; Tipperary 1-15

Munster JFC Quarter Final:

Waterford 0-15; Tipperary 0-16 (AET)

In yesterday's games, played at Dan Fraher field in Dungarvan, Tipperary trailed by 3 points with 10 minutes to go in the junior game but managed to draw level at full-time. They went on to squeeze a win by the minimum after extra time.

Waterford started strongly in the senior game and had three points on the board before Tipperary got off the mark. The influence of George Hannigan, making a welcome return after injury, was very important. He contributed some fine points from distance. The skillful Michael Quinlivan, at full-forward, put in his usual effective shift.

These victories are important. In recent years, we have made great progress at under-age level in restoring Gaelic Football to it's rightful place. This is down to the work of true-blue Tipperary people in the face of an anti-Gaelic Football mentality that is still prominent within the county. I am referring particularly to the types who will trawl their rubbish in local newspapers but will quickly absent themselves when the hurlers are going through a bad spell. I have had ample experience of this, having supported Tipperary teams, playing both the big and small ball, for more than 60 years.

The Tipperary football management faced great difficulties this year with up to 11 players unavailable because of a pernicious edict that does not allow players to play both Gaelic Codes for their county. This was compounded by absences due to injury and emigration. Waterford have always had fine Gaelic footballers, with club competition of a high standard. They also face many difficulties similar to Tipperary. I wish them well.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Tipperary's Easy Win

Munster SHC Quarter Final:

Tipperary 0-22; Cork 0-13

This hurling game, played today at Semple Stadium in Thurles, was somewhat scrappy and lacked intensity. This was mainly due to the heavy rain showers that were fairly constant throughout the game and also by the modern style of play.

Tipperary led the game from start to finish — Cork never got closer than seven points. In the first half, with the breeze behind them, the Tipp backs dominated the game. They were ably led by the Maher brothers, Cathal Barrett and Michel Cahill, with newcomer Seamus Kennedy and James Barry not far behind. In the forward line, Seamus Callanan was nearly back to his best at full-forward with John O'Dwyer and the McGrath brothers also showing fine touches. Championship newcomers, Sean Curran and Dan McCormack, can also be happy with their contributions.

Tipperary will be pleased with the win, but much sterner tests lie ahead. Cork never came-to-grips with the game and will need to up their performance considerably if they are to make an impression in the qualifiers.

Saturday 14 May 2016

The Birthday

Last Thursday, on May 12th, I had an unexpected call from a lovely lady, Ethel Walsh, who lives about a mile from me. Ethel asked if I would like to attend a little celebration the following evening to honour the 80th birthday of her father, Paddy Power.

I have known Paddy for more than 60 years and always held him in high esteem. We would not meet very often, as is the way with the world, but would concur on many matters of public interest.

On yesterday's pleasant May evening, after a hot sunny day, I attended a grand ceremony in Grangemockler Church, administered by Fr. Gear, with beautiful singing by Mala Ragget accompanied by organist Tony Egan. I stood outside the Church afterwards and greeted Paddy for a short while as he had many wanting to shake his hand. I also greatly enjoyed meeting a lady, whom I have always held in high regard, Nonie Freaney, who maintains the old pub tradition in nearby Nine-mile-house.

Maybe the following poem would somehow be appropriate for the occasion:
The Light of Other Days 
Oft in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me:
The smiles, the tears
Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimmed and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad memories bring the light
Of other days around me.
When I remember all
The friends so link'd together
I've seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,    
Whose garlands dead
And all but he departed!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me. 
— Thomas Moore

Monday 9 May 2016

Dramatic Clare Win

National Hurling League Division 1 Final:

Clare 1-23, Waterford 2-19

Yesterday's replayed National Hurling league final played at Semple Stadium, Thurles, had a cruel twist in the end for Waterford. The Decies led throughout the game until the 71st minute. The Clare equalizer came from a colossal free more than 80 yards from the Waterford goal struck by the brilliant Tony Kelly. The puck-out was grabbed by a Clare player, following the usual scramble; he struck the ball to the right wing where the same Tony Kelly got possession and, though under pressure, he struck over the winning point at a sharp angle from his weaker right side.

The standard of play was at a higher level than in the drawn game. Both teams contain many skilful hurlers. Clare undo a lot of good possession by excessive use of long passing — always a dangerous gambit. They conceded the second goal through a very poorly directed long cross-field pass when there was ample opportunity to dispatch the ball to their opponents 21 yard mark. This was at a time when Clare had been getting on top after a bad start when they conceded a number of early scores. Waterford seemed to tire near the end giving Clare a bit more space to pick off points which they are well capable of doing. Their outstanding players on the day were the Nire's Austin Gleeson and Dungarvan's Patrick Curran. Conor McGrath was an excellent forward for Clare as well as the great Tony Kelly.