A CENTURY of success was remembered by Kilkenny hurling supporters with a day of celebrations.
The road to 28 All-Ireland titles began 100 years ago in a field in Deerpark, Carrick-on-Suir.
There Kilkenny, represented by Tullaroan, captured the county's first national title at the sixth attempt, beating St Finbarr's of Cork by the slenderest of margins, 1-9 to 1-8.
Tullaroan had won the honour of representing Kilkenny following their 6-14 to 1-6 county final victory over Piltown. Delays in the competition, mainly due to match postponements, meant the '04 final was not played until June 24, 1906.
The 1904 team included seven players from Tullaroan – Jer Doheny, Pat 'Fox' Maher, Jack Hoyne, 'Little' Sim Walton, Pat Saunders and subs Pat Clohosey and Jim Dunne.
There were four players from Mooncoin (Eddie and Dick Doyle, Dick 'Drug' Walsh and Pat Fielding), four from Threecastles (Rev Dan Grace, Jack Rochford, Jim and Martin Lalor) and Piltown's Jack Anthony.
The side also featured a quartet from the city club Erin's Own. Representatives from the now extinct outfit were Dick Brennan, Paddy 'Icy' Lanigan, Dan Stapleton and Dr J.J. Brennan.
The celebrations to mark the county's first All-Ireland started in that same field in Deerpark on Saturday, which was owned by Maurice Davin, a founder member of the GAA. A plaque was unveiled by Ned Quinn, chairman of the County Board.
A large crowd of relatives of the 1904 team attended, as well as hurling fans from Kilkenny, Tipp and Cork. Also present were Pat Walsh, grandnephew of Maurice Davin and former GAA presidents Paddy Buggy and Seamus Riain.
After the ceremony it was on to Tullaroan, where players from all corners of the county played in a special centenary match.
Lining out in the white jerseys with green sash, they took on a St Finbarr's side. Once again victory went to the Cats, but this time by a slightly bigger margin (0-22 to 1-17).
After the match the players and supporters attended a buffet and hurling symposium at the Lory Meagher Heritage Centre. A presentation, compered by Paddy Buggy, catalogued Kilkenny's march to the 1904 All-Ireland final.
The slide show was accompanied by match facts, anecdotes and player profiles, as well as a GAA and social history from times past.
Excerpts of match reports were narrated by Ger Cody, manager of the Watergate Theatre, while Gerald McCarthy gave a history of St Finbarr's.
Mr Buggy and Mr Riain paid tribute to the organisers of the event, and praised the clubs and hurlers involved.
Tullaroan – Derek Deegan (Threecastles), Michael Maher (Tullaroan), Pat Hogan (Mooncoin), Richard McCarthy (Piltown), Dan O'Neill (Dicksboro), Michael Hoyne (Graigue-Ballycallan), Patrick Campion (Tullaroan), Michael Walsh (Tullaroan), Andrew McCarthy (Piltown), Nigel Skehan (O'Loughlin Gaels), Tom Fitzgerald (Tullaroan), Paul Doheny (Tullaroan, captain), Brian McEvoy (James Stephens), Chris Maher (Tullaroan), John Hogan (Mooncoin), Liam Keoghan (Tullaroan), Eoin Heneberry (Mooncoin). Subs: Damien Lennon, Noel Rafter, Denis Butler, Vincent O'Donnell (all Threecastles); Joe Norton, Tom Fitzgerald, Nicky Maher, Richard Cleere, Barry Teehan, Pat Campion, Richard Holland (all Tullaroan); Ciaran Dunphy, Ger Kirwan, John Kenny, Conor McCarthy (all Mooncoin).
St Finbarr's – Fergal O'Mahony, Paudie Murray, Eddie Burke, Rory McCarthy, Paschal McSweeney, Kieran Murphy, Aidan Fitzpatrick, Ivan O'Mahony, Brian O'Driscoll, Denis O'Regan, Anthony Kelly, Michael Ryan, Cathal McCarthy, Kevin Murray, Robert O'Mahony. Subs - Sean Barry, Colin Maher, Colm O'Sullivan, Aidan Cronin, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kelleher, Pat Cronin, Damien Murray, Pat Buckley, Eoin Pl O'Callaghan.
Referee – Paddy Neary (James Stephens).