The Abbey C.B.S. victory in the Harty Cup Colleges Senior Hurling Championship in 1959 was recalled in a wonderful day of celebration last Friday, April 3rd.The Principal , John Heffernan along with Paddy O' Kelly co-ordinator and entire school staff – present and past - meticulously organised a re-union of surviving members of the team on a day that will long be remembered by all who were present .The variety of activities, the careful planning and the attention to detail ensured that not a
The morning opened on two fronts. Some members of the '59 Harty team took part in a game of golf in Tipperary G.C. One member of that team - John O'Donoghue - managed once again to steal the limelight; he had a hole-in-one at the par three seventh hole. Well done, John.
Meanwhile a 'Seven-a-side' Colleges Senior Hurling tournament was being staged in the Abbey's all-weather pitch .Teams from Thurles C.B.S. (Current Harty Cup holders) , Hospital De La Salle( Munster Senior Hurling 'B' Champion ),Cashel Community school , Charleville C.B.S. and ,of course The Abbey C.B.S.( Two teams ) participated . The Abbey teams and Cashel were the respective winners. At the medal presentation that followed Damien O'Brien, a P. E. teacher in the Abbey and a key member of the presentlysuccessful Tipperary S.F. county team, acknowledged the legacy of the '59 team in blazing-the-trail for future Abbey hurlers. Damien highlighted the honour bestowed on the school by the attendance of so many of the successful Harty team and by their keen interest in the standard of hurling displayed in the tournament matches. He was grateful for the support of the Principal, his fellow sports teachers and the entire staff for their help and support in making the day so successful. Fonsie Condon, the '59 Captain, John O'Donoghue and Seanie O'Reilly presented the medals to the winning captains.
Thanks to John Stokes, a former Abbey student and current manager of the Harty Cup Champions-Thurles C.B.S. - we had the cup on display throughout the day. We wish John and his team every success in the All-Ireland Colleges Senior Hurling final on April 13th.
A delightful cup of tea and a variety of 'goodies' were provided from the kitchen by Nuala and Bernie was a capable 'assistant waiter' for the day .A tour of the school for our visitors followed .Each photograph was carefully scrutinised ,cheerful but incisive banter was exchanged while individual contributions and aberrations were recalled .The atmosphere exuded friendship and camaraderie.
Next followed the commemorative presentations to the '59 Harty Cup winners. In a striking address, Paddy O' Kelly welcomed and thanked our honoured guests for being present. He said that the rousing andgenuine reception afforded the team on entry to the gymnasium should leave them in no doubt as to their place in the affection and hearts of all associated with the Abbey. Paddy emphasised the magnitude of the '59 achievement, referring to the then size of the school, the strength of Gaelic Football in the area, the economic climate of the time and the personal sacrifices demanded of hurlers and their families. He imagined the hours of individual practice put in by the players and suggested that a return to that approach was necessary for today's young, aspiring hurlers. He paid a special tribute to the late Br. O'Donnell, coach of the team. He thanked present Principal, John Heffernan, his P.E. school colleagues and the entire staff for their support, patience and forbearance. He acknowledged the help of the secretarial, catering and care-taking personnel for their continued and continuous support with the preparations.
Paddy paid a particular tribute to the members of the Griffin family-relatives of the late Paudie Griffin who died so suddenly and unexpectedly less than two weeks ago. He thanked them for being with us and said that their presence enhanced the occasion in spite of their own personal and private grief.
The Principal, John Heffernan, welcomed all to the Abbey. He said that the spirit of co-operation and goodwill that was so evident in the school was something that he and others had inherited from earlier generations of students and teachers-religious and lay alike. The '59 team ,he said had a special place in the Abbey story; their names were cherished in Tipperary and in surrounding parishes and their achievements were spoken of with pride when and where ever hurling was discussed. He was delighted that Paddy McMahon - an Abbey teacher during that Harty Cup campaign - was with us. He also had a special welcome for Br. Burke, former Principal, whom he thanked as representative of the Christian Brothers' rich legacy to education and sport in Tipperary. Mr. Heffernan paid tribute to Michael Ryan, Padraig O' Donoghue, Tom O'Donoghue and all teachers, past and present, for their work for and in the Abbey.
When Mr. Heffernan had presented the specially inscribed medals to the '59 team members Fonsie Condon replied on behalf of the team .Fonsie expressed his appreciation and delight at being present and at being given the opportunity of meeting up again with former team colleagues. He said he was hugely impressed with the levels of skill displayed by present Abbey C.B.S. hurlers throughout the morning's tournament and suggested that it should not and would not be long until the Abbey again challenged for Harty Cup honours.
Following the presentation the entire party adjourned to the local Golf Club where a sumptuous meal was provided by Liam, Sarah and staff. Throughout the meal good-natured banter was the order of the day. 'Incidents' were cheerfully recalled and some members had to take quite a degree of 'stick' from former team-mates for misdemeanours or aberrations throughout the campaign. Dean Christy O'Dwyer was reminded of his customary 'welcome' for opposing forwards or for fellow team-mates during training sessions.
In conclusion John Heffernan, Fonsie Condon and Dean O'Dwyer all spoke. Each agreed that the day had been an outstanding success and that the celebration offered a worthy and fitting recognition of the team's achievements. All joined in expressing the wish that present school students would soon emulate their illustrious predecessors. Surely Paddy Kelly and company deserve the honour.
Abbey Harty Cup 50th Commemorative Blitz.
On Friday last in the Abbey field, the school held an invitational 7-a-side hurling competition to commemorate the golden jubilee of the 1959 Dr. Harty Cup success.
Teams from Thurles CBS, Charleville CBS, Cashel Community School, John The Baptist Community School Hospital along with two teams from The Abbey School competed for the inaugural Abbey 7-a-side Cup.
The competition was run on a league basis with each team playing five group games. The competition began at ten o’clock with the Abbey ‘A’ team taking on Thurles CBS, Abbey ‘B’ team pitted against Hospital and Charleville facing an enthusiastic Cashel team.
The opening score of the day went to Kenneth Horgan of Cashel, where from a Cashel puck out was spectacularly put in the roof of the net by an overhead pull.
From the outset it was clear that all six teams were intent on having a competitive, skilful and sporting hays hurling with players taking more risks whilst on the ball in order to create more goal scoring opportunities.
The Abbey field was converted into three 50m X 100m pitches where matches consisted of two 5minute a side halves. The speed of the play and the open spaces resulted in teams using frequent substitutions as panels consisted of 12 players.
The school is indebted to the three referees, Paddy Russell of Lattin, Richie O’Connor of Arravale Rovers and Fergal Horgan of Kickhams, who officiated with great enthusiasm and professionalism. They were ably assisted by the school’s LCA class, Transition Year students along with the Rice Cup and U15 hurling panellists.
After the 15 league matches, which were at times boardering on Championship fare the stage was set for the concluding stages of the competition.
The Division 3 final proved to be a titanic struggle between Hospital and Cashel, with Cashel winning with a score line of 2-6 to 2-5, with Shane Whelan proving himself as the outstanding player on view.
The surprise package of the day was the outstanding performance of the Abbey ‘B’ team who overturned a defeat in the league stages, with a thrilling 1-6 to 0-6 victory over the current Dr. Harty Cup champions Thurles CBS. There were heroic displays throughout by all members of the panel with special mention to Diarmuid Hayes, Gerard O’Dwyer and Donough Leahy who made some stunning saves throughout the day.
The Division 1 final was between a well drilled Charleville CBS and the Abbey ‘A’ team. In the league section Charleville took the points with a comprehensive victory. Charleville took the competition very seriously and had a clear understanding of how 7-a-side hurling should be played.
In the final the Abbey showed that they had learned from their earlier encounter and led deservedly at half time with goals from John Condon and captain Michael O’Dwyer on a score line of 2-4 to 0-4.
Charleville started the second half spritely and narrowed the gap to a single point, however, the Abbey boys showed great skill and grit to rally for a late surge and win by 3-10 to 1-7.
All three finals enjoyed a large attendance which included pupils past and present, parents, teachers and the Dr. Harty Cup winning panel of 1959 in who’s honour the competition was held.
There was great excitement in the Abbey field during the presentations as the Abbey boys were very proud of the achievements of both Abbey teams on the day. Michael O’Dwyer captained the ‘A’ team and was the first to get his hands on the Abbey 7-a-side Cup.
As the days events drew to a close, all present paid great tribute to the organisation of what was considered a festival of hurling despite the inclement weather and looked forward to a similar event in twelve months time.
Abbey ‘A’ Panel: Liam O’Dea, William O’Dwyer (Pallasgreen), Paddy Dalton, Gerard Mulhair, Michael O’Dwyer, Brian Lowry (Arravale Rovers), Thomas Hanley (Aherlow), John Condon (Lattin/Cullen), Aidan Ryan, Diarmuid Ryan (Solohead), Christopher Ryan (Golden-Kilfeacle) and James Power (Doon).
Abbey ‘B’ Panel: Sean Kilcoyne, Gerard O’Dwyer, Donough Leahy, Sean O’Meara (Arravale Rovers), Diarmuid Hayes, Tommy O’ Mahoney (Pallasgreen), Damian Ryan (Solohead), Shane Russell, Michael Hanley (Lattin), Eoin Quinn ( Blackrock , Limerick)