Tipperary – Game of my Life is a new book on Tipperary hurling in shops now that weaves a thread through the rich Tipperary hurling history from 1950 right up to the present day.
The opening chapter features Jimmy Finn who marked Jim Langton whilst playing in his first All-Ireland final in 1950. He remembers too forking fifty trams of hay one day until it was time to go training! Theo English recalls the 1958 All Ireland final while the captain of that winning team, Tony Wall, remembers clearly one that Tipperary lost; a 1959 drubbing to Waterford!
The glorious era of the 1960’s, where Tipp won four All Irelands in five years, is recalled by Matt Hassett and Len Gaynor. 1971 brought further glory against the Cats and in the book, that year is remembered fondly by Dinny Ryan, Tadhg O Connor, and of course, Babs Keating, who tells the definitive story of why he ended up playing the final ‘sans boots and socks’ against Kilkenny in 1971.
Tommy Butler gives a beautiful account of his life where hurling played a pivotal part. Although games stand out in their memories, the camaraderie and lifelong ties amongst the players has always been something special as Eamon O’Shea recalls:
“It’s the ties that binds us through the distance of the years”
Each era brings new heroes as the book glides from the glamour of the Babs Keating managed Tipp teams, featuring accounts from Pat Fox, Michael Ryan and Michael Cleary among others, to the playing days of Liam Cahill, Eamonn Corcoran and Tommy Dunne. The current era is recalled by legends like Eoin Kelly and Padraic Maher right up to Noel McGrath who picked the sensational semi-final win against Wexford in 2019.
‘Game of my Life’ brings more depth to the rich tapestry of Tipperary hurling, and as much as the games, the book explores the lives of the players and how hurling has been central to everything for so many. Full of stories, memories and a feel of the clash of the ash; this book breathes hurling.
The full list of players and games featuring in the book is:
Jimmy Finn (1950 v Kilkenny), Theo English (1958 v Galway), Tony Wall (1959 v Waterford), Matt Hassett(1961 v Cork), Len Gaynor (1964 v Kilkenny), DinnyRyan (1971 v Limerick), Tadhg O Connor (1971 v Limerick), Babs Keating (1971 v Kilkenny), Tommy Butler (1976 v Cork), Eamon O Shea (1979 under 21 v Cork), John Sheedy (1983 v Clare), Ken Hogan (1987 drawn game v Cork), Colm Bonner (1987 replay v Cork), Cormac Bonner (1988 v Cork), Declan Carr(1988 tournament game v Clare), Conal Bonner (1989 v Limerick), Declan Ryan (1991 v Limerick), Michael Cleary (1991 replay v Cork), Mick Ryan (1991 replay v Cork), Pat Fox (1991 replay v Cork), Joe Hayes (1991 replay v Cork), Liam Cahill (1996 drawn game v Limerick), Eamonn Corcoran (1999 drawn game v Clare), Tommy Dunne (2001 v Galway), Shane McGrath (2008 v Cork), James Woodlock (2009 v Kilkenny), Brendan Maher (2010 v Kilkenny), Lar Corbett (2010 v Kilkenny), Brendan Cummins (2010 v Kilkenny), Michael Cahill (2010 v Kilkenny), Eoin Kelly (2010 v Kilkenny), James Barry (2014 drawn game v Kilkenny), Paidi Maher (2016 v Kilkenny), Seamus Callanan (2016 v Kilkenny) and Noel McGrath (2019 v Wexford).
Tipperary ‘Game Of My Life’ by Tipp FM Sports Editor Stephen Gleeson is published by Hero Books