It is 100 years since Kilkenny beat the famous Toomevara Greyhounds in the All-Ireland senior hurling final of 1913, thereby creating history as it was their first three-in-a-row (1911, 1912, 1913).
GAA historian, Jamesie Murphy has a report on the game, plus photo of the team. Read and enjoy.
The fall of Toomevara - Kilkenny’s hares outpace the greyhounds: Kilkenny (Moondharrig) 2-4, Tipperary (Toomevara) 1-2.
For three years in succession the Kilkenny hurlers have demonstrated their superiority over all comers and for the seventh time they have annexed the All-Ireland championship, the highest honour possible. The game of hurling has been and is recognised as one of the great athletic events in this land of sport.
What game is there that can bring together thousands, aye, tens of thousands of ardent devotees who can assemble in a friendly manner together and give their backing to their county team? Every sporting organisation has a crowning honour to bestow on the victors under its banner and in the case of the GAA their Blue Riband is the championship of Ireland.
Kilkenny’s path to the final of 1913 was a strange one in many ways in as much as they played the All-Ireland quarter and semi-finals before they finished the Leinster championship. At Glasgow of all places on June 21 they won the quarter-final, beating the home team by 10-6 to 5-2. In the semi final in Liverpool on August 4 the Cats triumphed over Lancashire, 4-4 to 1-4.
In the Leinster semi-final in Maryborough on July 13 they beat Laois by 8-3 to 2-6 and qualified to meet Dublin in the final. Amazingly at Wexford Park on August 24 they scored only one goal whilst their opponents registered three points, a draw game. In the replay at the same venue on September 28 they ran Dublin ragged winning by 7-5 to 2-1.
So it was later in 1913 on the second day of November at Jones’s Road in Dublin they met the legendary ‘Toomevara Greyhounds’, the greatest hurling team in Tipperary for the All-Ireland crown. The Tipp men were renowned for the speed at which they played.
In order to nullify this attribute the Kilkenny County Board arranged special training sessions in the City and Mooncoin where the emphasis was on sprinting in order to match the ‘Greyhounds’. A huge crowd was expected to attend and 19 special trains reached Dublin and the streets of the capital were awash with the rival fans.
The red and gold of Toomevara were in the ascendancy with “Up Tipp” printed on the rosettes. Their followers were confident of victory. At Jones’s Road the stands were packed to capacity and all around this vast arena a large crowd gathered with every available vantage point taken.
The backs were back on both sides and there was a hush of expectancy as at 2.35pm the ball was put in motion and over 20,000 voices erupt in one “Niagara Roar”. Kilkenny were on the attack and Gargan sent down but the raid was repulsed and now Toomevara launch a counter attack which ended when Harty sent wide.
Power’s puck out covers three quarters of the field, and Walton, on the alert, ran out and grabbed the sliotar. He was on his citeog side but in a twinkling he shot and the white flag was raised for a wonder point with only a minute gone. Could this be a good omen?
But there was a long way to go and the ‘Hounds’ would not be beaten easily. They attack with venom but good old Rochford was there as always to clear his lines. Mikey Doyle got the clearance and sent on to Gargan but McGrath intercepted and now the ‘Greyhounds’ come in a fierce rush. ‘Drug’ Walsh averted the danger but only momentarily as his weak clearance reached Jim Murphy, who with a rasping shot beat Power for a great goal as Kilkenny hearts sank.
Tipp have drawn first blood and their followers were wild with excitement. The enthusiasm continued unabated as Power pucked out but the ‘hounds’ were baying for more. Gleeson sent up and there was a mighty clash between Jack Lennon and Hughie Shelly which the Erin’s Own man won hands down and sends the ball out to ‘Drug’ Walsh whose mighty stroke put his team attacking.
The ‘Toom’ backs defended grimly as Kilkenny attacked with fury, and in a desperate rush Kelly and Walton forced O’Meara to make a wonder save. But hold it, as he swept the ball out to the side, Matt Gargan was on him like a flash. On the right wing he had the ball and was open to play.
The great Toomevara defence was racing back but ‘too late, too late are they’. Hackett drove at Gargan who neatly sidestepped and before anyone else can get near him Gargan pulled with impelling force and the ball flew through a forest of hurleys and it nestled in the Tipperary net.
The net shivers, so to speak, with the verocity of the ball crashing into it, and now the ‘hares’ are leading the ‘greyhounds’ as Kilkenny followers jumped for joy. A purple patch was enjoyed by the Noresiders and they brought the game to their opponents.
They forced a 70 and Dan Kennedy, the Tullaroan stalwart, made no mistake as Kilkenny led by two points. The Tipp posts were in jeopardy but ‘Skinny’ O’Meara was proving a great custodian. When the attack swung to the other side, Grace, Doherty and Kennedy were ultra sound with 10 minutes left to half time.
Dr Pierce Grace set up Jack Gargan, who sent over a great point to increase Kilkenny’s lead. Gleeson, Shelly and Gilmartin made mighty efforts for Toomevara, but the opposing defence well marshalled by Lennon, Walsh, Rochford and Power was well nigh unbeatable.
A great run by Mikey Doyle down the wing was rewarded when he split the uprights for a splendid point. A last gasp effort by Tipperary ended with Willie Kelly getting a minor to leave the half time score: Kilkenny 1-4, Tipperary 1-1
Toomevara attacked from the throw-in but Jack Keoghan averted the danger and cleared out over the sideline. The cut in brought renewed pressure on the Kilkenny fortress but the garrison prove a gallant little band. Rochford, Keoghan and Lennon held up every rush in a fashion that rouses their followers to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. The rain has not ceased and the pitch had become dead and slippery.
Kilkenny were now suiting their game to the weather conditions - they were playing a short passing game. Scores were hard to come by and when Kilkenny attack men like Raleigh, Gilmartin, McGrath and net minder ‘Skinny’ O’Meara were hard to get by. Would the ‘hares’ outpace the “greyhounds” in these testing conditions?
In a lightning move reminiscent of a mountain hare in full flight, Kilkenny moved swiftly into attack. Sim Walton had the ball on his stick. He dodged past the first defender, then the second and then a bullet like shot ripped into the Tipperary net. The green flag waved on high. The pride of old Tullaroan all but sealed the All-Ireland final victory.
“The clouds are lowering, the light is fading the hounds are sinking behind the hares
Kilkenny’s pussies are fast escaping they’ll never catch them with nets or snares
Another rally from Toomevara saw Power defend his net once more
The glorious victory is at our mercy, ah, what can beat them beside the Nore”
Seven minutes to go and Toomevara were fighting a losing battle. They fight to the bitter end, led by legendary captain, Patrick ‘Wedger’ Maher. They attacked in droves. O’Keeffe was through on goal but John T. Power made a wonder save.
Out went the sliotar and Hughie Shelly grabbed it. He was in a more advantageous position than O’Keeffe. He let fly with all his might. Again Power defied the effort as the cry “Well played John Power” re-echoes time and time again around Jones’s Road. Bob Mockler got a consolation point for Toomevara with time almost up.
On the puck out, referee Mr M. F. Crowe of Dublin called for the ball and declared Kilkenny All-Ireland senior hurling champions of 1913. The Cats had the coveted three-in-a-row sequence of victories -1911, 1912, 1913.
Kilkenny (Moondharrig) - ‘Drug’ Walsh (capt), John T. Pow er (goal), Mikey Doyle, Dick Doyle, Jimmy Kelly, Dick Doherty (all Moondharrig), Sim Walton, Dan Kennedy, Dr Pierce Grace, Dick Grace, Jack Keoghan (all Tullaroan), Jack Rochford (Threecastles), John James Brennan, Matt Gargan and Jack Lennon (Erin’s Own).
Tipperary (Toomevara) - Patrick ‘Wedger’ Maher (capt), J. ‘Skinny’ O’Meara (goal), F. McGrath, S. Hackett, J. Harty, E. Gilmartin, E. Cawley, W. Kelly (all Toomevara), Bob Mockler, Jim Murphy (Horse and Jockey), Tim Gleeson, Hughie Shelly, P Brolan (Thurles), J Raleigh (Emly), B. O’Keeffe (Templetouhy).
Referee - M. F. Crowe (Dublin).