Civic reception for St Michael’s AFC

Tipperary Town Council will perform its final official function on Wednesday when it accords a Civic Reception to victorious St Michael’s AFC.

Tipperary Town Council will perform its final official function on Wednesday when it accords a Civic Reception to victorious St Michael’s AFC.

Mayor Anna Tuohy Halligan told the Tipperary Star there is a great buzz and excitement around town after St Michael’s beat Limerick’s Ballynanty Rovers 4-0 to win the FAI Junior Cup Final in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday. The team last won the Junior Cup in 1974.

Jubilant crowds lined the streets of Tipperary on Monday night to welcome home their heroes.

The Council will afford the team a full mayoral reception this Wednesday. The whole town has rallied around the soccer club, which started from humble roots in 1947. The players, and especially Cashel native Captain James Walsh - Ireland’s most decorated amateur player - are “absolutely great ambassadors for the town,” said Cllr Halligan. “The players walked the streets at 9.30pm. There was great celebrations in the town, and people came out in their thousands to meet them. They walked up and down the Main Street with the Cup. It’s a huge thing for the town. Forty years is a long long time. I remember really close friends of mine playing on the team,” said Cllr Halligan. “The town is always proud of St Michael’s because they were all just youngsters who started, kicking a ball around, going back to Peter O’Reilly’s time, back in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. They started when they had no grounds at all, at the back of the Chapel on some waste ground.” From a grassroots effort, the club has grown from strength to strength ever since. The club now enjoys state-of-the-art facilities, and is Ireland’s top Junior Club.

Main sponsor Tony Lowry, who runs a pub on the Main Street, also welcomed the team back to Tipperary during the homecoming ceremonies. “They’re really fantastic boys, and the management are terrific,” added Cllr Halligan.