Hero’s welcome home to Kilsheelan for Captain Fantastic Bill

The village of Kilsheelan was thronged on Monday night when Bill Maher, captain of the Tipperary Minor hurling team, returned home with the Irish Press Cup after Tipp beat Dublin in Sunday’s All-Ireland Minor Championship Final replay at Croke Park.

The village of Kilsheelan was thronged on Monday night when Bill Maher, captain of the Tipperary Minor hurling team, returned home with the Irish Press Cup after Tipp beat Dublin in Sunday’s All-Ireland Minor Championship Final replay at Croke Park.

Bill and the rest of the team received a rapturous welcome from the large crowd who celebrated the team’s 10-points victory in a largely one-sided final. The 2-18 to 1-11 win secured Tipp’s 19th All-Ireland Minor title and their first since the back-to-back successes of 2006 and ‘07.

Bill’s proud parents Miriam and Ollie, as well as his grandmother Peggy Lyons and family and friends, were among those who welcomed the team in Kilsheelan.

Bill is the first Kilsheelan man to captain a Tipperary hurling team and he and four other players on the panel – Dylan Fitzell, John McGrath, Steven O’Brien and Tom Kirwan – have now completed a rare All-Ireland Minor double after they were part of last year’s football success.

The team was joined by manager William Maher and his selectors and County Board officials including chairman Sean Nugent, who is also from Kilsheelan. Minutes after Tipp had left the field on Sunday Sean described it as probably the proudest day of his lifelong association with the GAA.

The celebrations had started in earnest earlier on Monday evening when the team arrived at the steps of the cathedral in Thurles.

Meanwhile, the appointment of new Tipperary senior hurling manager Eamon O’Shea was ratified at last week’s County Board meeting.

He has yet to finalise his selectors but they are thought to include Michael Ryan, with whom he served under manager Liam Sheedy when Tipp won the All-Ireland in 2010.

Peter Creedon has been appointed as the Tipperary senior football manager on a full-time basis. The Cork man served as interim boss following John Evans’ decision to step down from the post last March following the defeat to Sligo, as the team lurched towards relegation to Division Four. Gerry McGill and Michael O’Loughlin remain as Creedon’s selectors for the 2013 campaign.

David Power, who stepped down as Tipp Minor Football manager, is expected to be confirmed as the new county U-21 football manager later this month.

Meanwhile, Donegal man Charlie McGeever is the new Tipperary Minor football manager. The former Finn Harps soccer boss has been involved with local soccer club Clonmel Town, as well as with Clonmel Commercials Gaelic football club, in recent years.