Tipperary Club Focus - Moneygall GAA Club - Tipperary GAA
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Tipperary Club Focus – Moneygall GAA Club

January 19th, 2022 | By Jonathan Cullen

In the next of our monthly club focus articles, we are in North Tipperary as we take a visit to Moneygall GAA Club:

  • Club Name: Moneygall GAA Club
  • Founded: 1885
  • Club colours: Black and Red
  • Grounds: St Flannan’s Park
  • Main Club Sponsor: Barack Obama Plaza
  • Eircode: E53 TX95

Club officers:


Club Social Media details:


Brief History of Club  

Moneygall Senior Hurling team 1914, the earliest team photo on record

Representing Dunkerrin Parish, the origins of Moneygall GAA Club can be traced back to 1885, when a hurling team was formed in the parish and named after one of the townslands, Honeymount. Thomas Corcoran was one of the main driving forces behind the founding of ‘The Honeymounts’. Corcoran was very active in Tipperary GAA affairs, and would also go on to become the first chairman of North Tipperary County Council.

In the early years of the 20th century the club became known as Moneygall. The team qualified for three north senior hurling finals in 1915, 1916 and 1917, unfortunately losing the first two while the third was not played following a dispute. The first title won by the club was the 1919 north junior hurling championship, and was won again ten years later.

Jer ‘Darby’ Collison won an All Ireland senior medal with Tipp in 1916, becoming the first player from the North Tipperary division to do so. His brother Paddy ‘Major’ Collison along with Jack Kennedy would also win All Ireland medals in 1925. A number of Moneygall players also won county senior medals with Toomevara during this period, before the introduction of the parish rule in the 1930s.


1930s to 1960s

The club acquired its current grounds in 1935, and on the field there was success in winning the north intermediate title in 1943 and 1949. The county title was added in 1949 and so the club was promoted to the senior ranks for the 1950s. After another brief interlude at intermediate, promotion was secured again when winning the 1962 north intermediate title, and from there the drive for success at senior level began in earnest, with the team reaching the north senior final in 1967 and 1970.

Séamus Ó Riain (left) is elected as GAA President in 1967. He is congratulated by outgoing President Alf Murray

There were notable football successes also, with three north junior titles from 1949 to 1951, again in 1963 and 1964, with the county title added in 1964. There was also a county U21 football championship win in 1965, and the north senior football wins of 1965 and 1966. The team reached the 1965 county senior final, losing to Clonmel Commercials.

At this time, Séamus Ó Riain served as GAA President between 1967 and 1970. He was also the driving force behind the founding of Féile na nGael which began in 1971. This festival of juvenile hurling has grown into a major national event in the GAA calendar, and celebrated it’s 50th anniversary a few months ago.


1970s and 1980s

North and County Senior Hurling Champions 1975

John Gleeson and Jack Ryan won All Ireland senior medals with Tipp in 1971, with John lining out at corner back throughout the campaign. Back on the club front, the breakthrough was made in 1975 when the club won the north senior title, beating holders Silvermines in the final. This was followed up with the county crown, when Kilruane were beaten in a replayed final. To show it was no flash in the pan, the Dan Breen Cup was retained in 1976 with victory over Roscrea in the county final.

Another north final was reached in 1979, but following a gradual decline in fortunes in the late 1980s, the club regraded to intermediate at the end of the 1989 season. There was some success in football, with the north intermediate final win in 1980 and north junior wins in 1983 and 1984.

1990s to 2022

This proved to be a short stint in the intermediate hurling ranks, as Moneygall won the north and county titles in 1991. The county U21 A hurling title was added in 1992, and was followed by a narrow defeat to Nenagh in the north senior final of 1993. There followed two more north senior final defeats to Toomevara, in 2000 and 2002.

On the football front, success was achieved in 2006 when the north and county junior B titles were won. In junior hurling, there was county final success in 2008 along with the north titles of 2008 and 2011.

A significant milestone in Gaelic Games in the parish was the founding of the camogie club in 1993. In the early years of existence the club fielded underage teams only, but when these players were old enough to compete at adult level the club quickly rose through the ranks. The county intermediate final win in Semple Stadium in 2005 saw the club attain senior status for the first time. Moneygall competed strongly at senior for over a decade, contesting numerous county semi finals in that period.

North and County U21 A Hurling Champions 1992

Moneygall players have made a considerable impact at inter-county level. Julie Kirwan and Eimear Ryan won All Ireland senior medals with Tipp in 2004. Two All Star awards have also come back to the club, won by Julie in 2005 and by Mary Ryan in 2020. After a few years of rebuilding recently, the adult club team is now on an upward curve once again and reached the county junior final in 2021. The panel has been boosted by the addition of plenty of young players in the last couple of years, with more promising players currently performing well for the underage teams.

Paddy Fanning became the sixth Moneygall man to win an All Ireland senior hurling medal when he was part of the victorious Tipp panel in 2010. At club level, the senior team survived in the relegation playoffs in 2013 and 2014, before falling through the relegation trapdoor in 2016. In the seasons since, the team won the north intermediate title in 2019 and retained it in 2021.

A significant development in the past decade has been the amalgamation with neighbours Clonakenny at juvenile level since 2015, from U14 to U21 levels. In general this partnership has been successful in it’s main aim of retaining players to adult level in both clubs. There has been plenty of silverware too, the most significant being the north minor A hurling and football triumphs in 2016.

The addition of many young players to the adult ranks in recent years, plus the presence of plenty of promising and determined young hurlers currently in the juvenile grades, means that Moneygall can face 2022 and the subsequent seasons with plenty of optimism.


Club Development

The club acquired its current premises 87 years ago, following the division of Brown’s Estate close to Moneygall village by The Land Commission in the early 1930s. Thanks to the foresight of the club members of that time, a successful application for land was made. The application was led by club secretary Stephen O’Meara, local curate Fr. Cosgrave, and Jack and Paddy Kennedy of Lower Moneygall. The land came into the ownership of the club on 9th March 1935.

There then followed much hard work from the local community who developed the grounds for playing use. There were considerable mounds on the site and the clearing work was done using spades, shovels, wheelbarrows and horse and cart. The green shed was also built by hand by the Kennedy brothers at that time, and is still in use to this day.

Throughout the years since, further projects have been carried out to continually improve the club’s facilities. In 1951 a boundary wall was built along the roadside to replace the old bank and hedge, and in the late 1950s a new concrete wall was built to surround the playing pitch. Major development work took place during the mid 1970s with the construction of the main clubhouse building, which was officially opened in 1977.

In the early 1990s perimeter fencing was erected on both sides of the pitch to replace the walls, and the dugouts were built. In the summer of 2009 extension work to the clubhouse began, when a dressing room, meeting room and a new kitchen were added.

The U.S. President and First Lady land in St Flannan’s Park in 2011

St Flannan’s Park was transformed into a temporary airfield for a period of days in May 2011. It was here that the helicopters transporting President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and their entourage touched down to begin their historic and memorable visit to Moneygall.

In 2013 the club purchased four acres of additional land adjacent to our grounds. Following seven years of planning, hard work and fundraising, their second playing pitch and walking track were opened for use in the Summer of 2020. The clubs latest ambition is to erect a hurling wall, for which planning permission was recently granted. It is hoped that this project can commence in 2022.

The high standard of the playing surfaces of both pitches comes in for regular praise from visitors to the grounds. The quality of the pitches is due to the excellent advice and expertise supplied by Padhraic Greene and the constant care and attention given by Michael O’Sullivan. The club is hugely fortunate to have both men giving of their time and skill all year round, and they are very grateful to them. Moneygall GAA club also wish Padhraic well in his role as head groundsman in Semple Stadium, a position he took up in June 2021.

The foresight, fundraising and hard work of the club members of each era down through the decades has repeatedly given the following generation a firm footing on which to build and progress further. We aim to continue this trend long into the future.


Club Fundraising

As the club strive to continually improve their facilities, each project is only made possible by the substantial financial support of their supporters in the locality and beyond, who have contributed generously to the weekly lotto, the Tipperary Clubs draw and other various fundraisers down through the years.

Second playing pitch and walkway, opened in 2020

Moneygall’s latest club fundraising venture took place just before Christmas, when the adult players took part in a 24-hour Spinathon. This event brought about a terrific response, and the generosity of people both near and far was incredible. The club  are very thankful to everybody who contributed – especially the players’ sponsors, local businesses, and everyone at home and abroad who donated either in person or online.

The club is ever reliant on the weekly lotto draw and the Tipperary Clubs draw as regular sources of income. They are very grateful to everybody who contributes to these draws for all their continuous support. They also really appreciate the ongoing work of their lotto committee and draw promoters.

In the last decade the St Stephen’s Day charity fundraiser match has been restored to the club calendar. This event has been an annual fixture since the early 1970s, apart from an absence for a brief period in the 2000s. Happily in the 2010s the event was re-established, and gives the players and supporters an opportunity to raise funds for a chosen local or national charity at the end of each season.


Community

The club is very fortunate to have tremendous backing from within their local community. Their underage teams can call on a great team of dedicated coaches, who give their time and energy week after week throughout the season. The club acknowledge too the essential support of the juvenile players’ parents. They also have very hard working officers, committee members and volunteers at both juvenile and adult level, who keep the show on the road all year round.

They enjoy significant support from many local businesses, who not only contribute to their fundraising ventures, but also generously offer sponsorship for playing gear and catering for various club teams time after time. Moneygall GAA are always extremely grateful for these gestures.

The club are very appreciative of the work of Moneygall Development Association, who provided a live streaming and commentary service for their intermediate championship matches in 2021. This service proved invaluable to the club’s supporters at home, around the country, and all over the world. The club is also very thankful to local photographer Sandra Quinlan, who for a number of years now has given them the use of her brilliant action shots for their social media pages.

Moneygall GAA enjoy strong relationships with Moneygall camogie club and with the local primary schools in Dunkerrin and Moneygall. They also acknowledge and appreciate the co-operation of all the sporting clubs and community groups in the parish when it comes to co-ordinating the scheduling of matches, training, fundraisers and other events. It is also great to see so many people from the locality and beyond making use of our community walking track since it opened in 2020.

Moneygall GAA club’s gates are always open to new players, members, volunteers and visitors. The club look’s forward to continuing to make strides on and off the field in 2022 and beyond.


Acknowledgements

A special word of thanks to the officers and committee of Moneygall GAA club who put all the information contained in this article together, in particular thanks to Moneygall club PRO Conor Ryan who was the driving force behind the article.

 

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