The View: Where would Tipperary be without the Supporters Club?

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

Brendan Maher

Brendan Maher lifts the Munster silverware - would this have happened without the assistance of the Tipperary Supporters Club?

It's not just the financial support which Tipperary Supporters Club offers the Premier County's senior hurlers - it's about much more than that.

When Michael Babs Keating took over the Tipperary senior hurling team in 1986, things were at a very low ebb in The Premier County. Not only had we no won a Munster title since 1971, it was unfashionable to wear the blue and gold jersey. Something needed to change, and it did.

Babs, Theo English and Donie Nealon were hailed as the Three Wise Men when the Munster Final was secured in Killarney after a lapse of sixteen years. The county was on the crest of a hurling wave as Cork were swept aside in the replayed decider, and Galway were on the horizon for the All-Ireland semi-final. Unfortunately, the fairytale ended in Croke Park and it would be two more years before the Liam MacCarthy Cup made a return to Tipperary.

Perhaps the most significant change in that time was the establishment of the Tipperary Supporters Club - a group of people who took it upon themselves to raise funds specifically for the senior hurling team. They worked like beavers behind the scenes in one of the most difficult roles imaginable - raising money. Since those formative days they have gone about their task with the same level of diligence as those who wear the jersey and their contribution of more than €3million to the senior hurling team is quite staggering. How and where would the County Board have managed to raise that level of funding and provide the back-up services required for the senior hurlers?

Tipperary Supporters Club basically look after the costs of providing physical training and performance management, physiotherapy, nutrition and medical back-up, and other supports to the senior team. Their efforts have resulted in the worry and strain of providing the best for the players, being eliminated and in 2017 alone, a total of €136,750 was contributed directly to the cause. Tipperary players are treated right and have the best of back-up available - this is essential in order to be able to compete with the top teams and thankfully the Premier lads are wanting for nothing in this regard.

Golf Classics, fun runs and walks, membership etc makes up the vast bulk of their fundraising. And, those involved, led by Chairman John Tierney, are to be congratulated, thanked and praised for the magnificent work they do. Membership costs just €40 and there are a host of benefits associated with this. Not only are you supporting the team, you will receive a specially designed supporters club cap, text alerts throughout the years, be included in match ticket draws, able to avail of hotel discounts in Dublin and Kilkenny, to mention just a few initiatives. 

So, to all those across the county who involve themselves in selling the Tipperary Supporters Club tickets - congratulations. You have done your county a major service, and done so in a quiet, efficient manner. But, the work mustn't stop. It has to be ongoing, steady and continuous in order to meet the ever rising costs associated with team preparation.

Tipperary supporters Club does not just provide finance though - it offers support, networks, advice and guidance where necessary and where requested. There are very accomplished people involved who are only too willing and able to give of their expertise.

If you would like to join the club, log onto their website and do so online or pick up a form through your club. To paraphrase the great JFK - ask not what your county can do for you, but what you can do for your county.