The history of St. Mary’s Hurling and Camogie Club (1925-2015) will be launched at the GAA Centre, Western Road, Clonmel, on Saturday, 12th November at 8 pm.
Michael Ryan, manager of the Tipperary senior hurling team who won this year’s All-Ireland title, will perform the official launch.
The history is an update of the book originally published 25 years ago, and is once again written by Sean O’Donnell. That original book proved so popular that it was soon sold out and today is a collector’s item. Back in 1989 the print run was 500 copies and again with the 2016 edition only 500 copies will be printed.
The relaunched book will include the former edition in its entirety together with an account of the GAA in Clonmel from the Association’s foundation in Thurles in 1884 to the starting of St. Mary’s Hurling Club in 1929. It will also include an outline of events up to November 2015 when the club’s minor team won the county title for the very first time.
Above: to whet the appetite the appetite so to speak, this picture was handed in by Dessie Mullins, Rivers Street and Old Bridge. It is of a St. Mary's Hurling Club team who competed at under 21 grade back in 1979.
Back row: Anthony Hill, Michael Fitzgerald, Paudie O'Neill, Michael Kelly, Edmond Gaffey, Frank Nyhan, Tony Cronin, Dessie Mullins, Jimmy Ryan, Vincent Mullins, Pat Hickey. Front: Seamus O'Neill, Eamonn Bates, Tommy Linnane, Tommy Walsh, Franny Kelly, Ben Keane, Willie Peters, Eddie Collins. Kneeling: Terry O'Neill, Toss Hill, PJ Guidera, Gerry Guide
The new book will have a section on camogie and will include many photographs of players of all ages, some as young as six.
Most players over the generations who have donned the St. Mary’s jersey, even at juvenile level, are mentioned in this new publication.
The beauty about the first edition - and this one will be the same - is that is appreciates more as the years go by. Clonmel people, and St. Mary’s people in particular at home and throughout the world, get an instant connect with the club and with the town even with a 10-minute leisurely browse.
The great days of the club are recalled and the inside front and back covers carry pictures of the great successes - the County Junior win in 1975; the South Senior title in 1981; and last year’s County Minor success.
The County Junior title in 1975 when St. Mary's defeated Clonmore by 1-9 to 1-6 at famed Semple Stadium is one of the highlights. The team on that historic occasion was captained by the late Sean Walsh, and the all-important goal scored by one of the club’s greatest ever hurlers Tony Smith.
St. Mary’s only South senior success in 1981 has been forever frozen in history by Sean O’Donnell’s beautiful recall of the great win. The semi-final victory over the Davins in Clonmel by 3-11 to 0-6, arguably one of the club'’s greatest-ever performances. And then the final in Kilsheelan against the Swans which was a titanic battle and which the home team edged by 1-14 to 1-12. Tommy ‘Chipper’ Walsh got the goal that day with the lead point from Willie Peters and the insurance point from 50 yards out on the sideline by captain Mossy Carroll, of Tipperary and Limerick fame.
And then to The Ragg last year for the county minor final in which ‘The Mary’s’ captured the Sean Treacy Cup for the first time ever when defeating Kildangan by 2-11 to 0-13 . After a few minor final defeats over the years, at last St Mary’s and captain Matt Barlow got their hands on the up-to-then elusive silverware. And as we now know the club’s minors put back-to-back titles together a few short weeks ago when they defeated JK Brackens Og in this year’s county final.
The many outstanding club players who have represented the county at every level feature prominently and the club now has two Celtic Crosses in its possession, Seamus Kennedy’s part in this year’s Liam McCarthy success over Kilkenny adding to Donnacha Fahey’s medal won in the 2001 success over Galway.
Clearly the club’s profile has soared since the last edition was published in 1989.
But the real beauty of this book is that it is not just about championship winning teams or star players, it is about the club and all the people who have represented the club at every level at every age and now not just in hurling but in underage camogie also as the club continues to develop.
The book is a ‘ Who’s Who’ from A to Z of club players from the first mentioned John Ahearne (Baron Park, now living in London, a member of a 1965 minor team to the last in alphabetical order, the late Mickey Wynne (James’s Street) who represented the club also at minor in 1937 before he too emigrated to London.
But that’s the kind of book this is. It is a proud people’s book. It is a treasure trove of hurling and history all beautifully interweaved once again by Sean O’Donnell. At €25 it will sell out quickly. It will make a very popular Christmas present to anyone directly or indirectly attached to St. Mary’s Hurling Club.