Irish Phrase Of The Day

"Cad atá ar súil agat ?" - What are you doing?


April 2014
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Wanted: Info. On Tom Semple & The Thurles Blues.

Attempt At Preserving Tipperary’s Rich Sporting History

Tom Semple is most certainly one of the most iconic GAA personalities in The Premier County, having played with and presided over one of the finest teams in the land. But surprisingly little enough is known about the great man. Well, all that is about to change and local GAA man, historian and retired school Principal, Liam O’Donnchu of Thurles Sarsfields fame is embarking upon a book entitled ‘Tom Semple and the Thurles Blues.’

SempleLiam, the long recognised voice of Semple Stadium, has taken on this project following encouragement from Tom Semple’s son Martin, who now resides in Denver, Colorado and is delighted to have the support of the Semple family in bringing together as much information as possible about Tom Semple and his famed team, which won two All-Ireland titles for Tipperary in 1906 and 1908.

Our picture (left) shows Tipperary (Thurles Selection) All-Ireland Hurling Champions 1906.
Back Row:  Tom Allen, Jack Cahill, Jack Gleeson, Tom Kerwick, Paddy Maher (Best), J.M. Kennedy Sec.
Middle Row:  Denis O’Keeffe (Chairman), Paddy Burke, Jimmy Burke, Paddy Riordan, Ger Hayes, Martin O’Brien, Phil Molony (Treasurer).
Front Row:  Jack Mockler, Joe O’Keeffe, James O’Brien (Hawk), Tom Semple Captain, Tom Kenna, Michael Gleeson, Paddy Brolan.

The book will cover the period 1904 -1912, a time when Thurles were at the very pinnacle and Liam is anxious to bring together any nuggets of information about Semple or any of the players on those teams, as he attempts to weave together the story of their success, their lives off the field and their attitudes to the social, political and cultural events of the day. Of course much of the focus will be on Tom Semple who worked as a ‘Porter’ first and then as a ‘Guard’ with the Great Southern and Western Railway Company. He lived in Fianna Road in Thurles, but he came from the village of Drombane in Tipperary originally.

Tom Semple


Tom Semple’s grave – Grounds of St Mary’s Churchyard, Thurles, Tipperary.

Tom Semple was a leader off the field as well. He was heavily involved in the purchase of Thurles Sportsfield in 1910, but died in 1943 and did not live to see Semple Stadium at its brilliant best, as it is today. He would surely be proud to see 50,000 people crammed into the grounds on Munster Final day with the stands and terraces heaving with excitement and the thrill of the ancient game – or would he?  Would Tom Semple have approved of the way the game has gone, the Association has gone, or even the way Thurles Sportsfields has gone? The answers to those questions, we will never know, but perhaps you might have answers to other questions, or might be able to provide Liam with information which could open up other aspects of Semple and the Blues lives. (Click on Image immediately left for larger Resolution.)

Author Liam O’Donnchu

Liam O’Donnchu himself has been heavily involved with the match programmes in Semple Stadium; spent 25 years as Secretary of the Tipperary GAA Yearbook Committee; penned a history of Pouldine National School of which he was Principal; was involved in the Pictorial Record of the Horse and Jockey; and co wrote and edited the Tipperary GAA Ballads book, which is a real collector’s item and a ‘must have’ in all GAA homes in the county.

Liam is hoping that descendants of those great men might have information, photos, newspaper cuttings, or stories from those times which can be relayed and used in the book which it is hoped will be a social, historical, sporting and cultural history of the era involved.  The teams which went on to win the All-Irelands contained  players from Horse and Jockey and Two-Mile-Borris, Drombane and in 1910 they represented Tipperary at the Celtic Congress in Belgium playing in such places as Fontenoy. They hurled in the Croke Fennelly Cup – Semple himself was involved in the erection of the Croke Memorial in Liberty Square, Thurles, back in 1922.

Information, photographs etc. of any kind, are urgently needed on the following  players and officials:-

Winners of the All-Ireland Hurling Final 1906
 Tipperary (Thurles Selection): Tom Semple Capt., Jer Hayes (Vice Capt.), Jim ‘Hawk’ O’Brien (Goal), Paddy Bourke, Martin O’Brien, Paddy Brolan, Tom Kerwick, Jack Mockler, Tom Kenna, Hugh Shelly (Thurles), Paddy Riordan, (Drombane), Tom Allen, Paddy Maher (Best), Jimmy Bourke, (Two-Mile-Borris),Jack Gleeson, Joe O’Keeffe, (Horse and Jockey),  Tim Gleeson (Drombane). Subs: Jack Mooney, Joe Moloughney, Mickey Gleeson, Jack Cahill, Rody Berkery (Thurles), Tim Condon (Horse and Jockey).
Club Chairman-Denis O’Keeffe, Secretary – J.M. Kennedy, Treasurer – Phil Moloney.

Winners All-Ireland Hurling Final 1908
Tipperary (Thurles Selection ): Tom Semple-Captain, Jack Mooney, Tom Kerwick, Martin O’Brien, Jack Mockler,  Tom Kenna, Hugh Shelly, Paddy Bourke, James ‘Hawk’ O’Brien, Paddy Brolan, Anthony Carew, Joseph McLoughney, (Thurles), Joe O’Keeffe, Jack Gleeson, Bill Harris, Bob Mockler, (Horse and Jockey), Tim Gleeson, (Drombane). (Drawn Match)
For the replay, the twelve from Thurles were unchanged while the remaining included Jimmy Bourke (Two-Mile-Borris), Tim Gleeson, Michael O’Dwyer, (Holycross), John and Pat Fitzgerald (New Birmingham).

Note: All photos and other associated material presented, will be quickly scanned and returned immediately to their owners in original condition.

Contact: Liam Ó Donnchú, Ballymoreen, Littleton, Thurles. Tel: 0504-44106    Mobile: 086-6036547 or email

Information, photographs etc. can also be left at Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre or at Lár na Páirce.

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Tipperary Dole Queues Continue To Lengthen

DoleDole queues continue to rise in Co Tipperary, according to new figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Unemployment figures supplied for January appear to be small when compared to the increases recorded in the month of December of last year.

However these new figures fail to take into consideration job seekers who have changed their place of signing on; e.g. Moving home due to the non affordability of rented accommodation, or those who have decided to try their luck by emigrating abroad during the same month in question.

The latest CSO figures for January show over 8o extra people have joined the dole queues of Co Tipperary last month, with the towns of Nenagh (Latter which includes the surrounding areas of Toomevara, Cloughjordan, Borrisokane, Ballina, Silvermines, Rearcross and Templederry) and Thurles (Latter which includes surrounding areas of Holycross, Ballynonty, Ballingarry, Urlingford, Templemore and Borrisoleigh) the worst affected in North Tipperary. Some slight increases in unemployment are also recorded for the South of the county.

Overall there are now some 15,650 people claiming some form of unemployment related benefits in the county as a whole, many failing to seek opportunities in larger urban areas, where 90% of jobs are being created, due to the high priced costs linked to commuting for interviews.

Nationally Dole figures for unemployed males dropped by 2,300 in January, but the number of women signing on actually rose by 1,122, reducing the total number of those signing on to 400,700, down to 12.3%, from 12.4% in December.

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Tipperary Man Accused In Assault Of Murder Victims Partner

FawnagownA Tipperary dairy farmer, who stands accused of assault, may face even more serious charges, according to a Gardaí Sergeant attending Tipperary District Court.

Mr Pat Quirke with an address at Breanshamore has been charged with assault causing harm to Mrs Mary Lowry, a widowed mother of three and the former partner of Mr Bobby Ryan, whose remains were located in a disused slurry tank last year.

The 44 year old is also accused of burglary and the handling of stolen goods at Fawnagown, on December 3rd, 2012.

As stated, the alleged victim of this accused assault was the former partner of Mr Bobby Ryan, latter a father of two, who had been missing since June 3rd, 2011, having left his home shortly after 6:00am to go to work at Killough Quarry, close to Thurles.

Mr Bobbie Ryan was subsequently located by the now accused, who alerted Gardaí, following his discovery of human remains at Fawnagowen in April of last year. The accused had been leasing farmland from Mrs Lowry, whose husband Martin had died previously in 2007.

The hearing has now been adjourned until next May, while Gardaí await the directions of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.

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Death Of Former Thurles Hotelier John McCarthy

With Sincere Sympathy

With Sincere Sympathy

We report, with great sadness, that the death occurred yesterday of retired former leading Irish hotelier and business man, Mr John McCarty, aged 88, and late of No 9, The Heath, Circular Road, Galway and Pembroke Road, in Dublin.

Mr McCarthy was predeceased by his wife Eileen, (Latter nee Norton & daughter of the late William Norton, T.D.,  former Tanaiste and planner of the first Inter-Party Government in 1948, under Mr. John A. Costello.) 

Formerly proprietor of the Glenview Hotel, Delgany, Co Wicklow and later proprietor of Hayes Hotel, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co Tipperary, until his retirement in the late 1980′s.

Our sympathies go to his son John, his daughter-in-law Kay (nee Bowe), two grand daughters Michelle and Sinead, relatives and his many close friends and acquaintances.

Mr McCarthy’s body reposed at  No 9, The Heath yesterday Tuesday, February 4th 2014, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

In accordance with his wishes, his body has been donated for medical research.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

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Five People Arrested In Tipperary & Limerick Raids

GardaFive people have been arrested by Gardaí, from the Tipperary, Limerick and Clare Garda divisions, following  investigations into organised crime and burglaries in the Limerick region.

Of those arrested, four are  men aged between 19 and 27 years old and one  female  understood to be just 17 years old.  All suspects were detained this morning following a series of searches in the counties of Tipperary and Limerick.

These arrests came about as part of Operation Fiacla, a Garda plan put in place some two years ago, which has proven extremely successful at gathering intelligence on travelling gangs that traverse the motorways around Ireland, carrying out often large scale burglaries.

The five are now understood to be detained separately at Nenagh,  Roxboro Road, Newcastle West,  Henry Street and Shannon Garda Stations.

Operation Fiacla was instigated initially following a continued period in which burglaries continued to rise significantly, despite a decline in almost all other forms of crime, since the onset of the Irish recession.

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