Harty and All Ireland Champions 2017
Friday June 23rd 2017 was the evening that Our Ladys brought the curtain down on a memorable year when an excellently organised function took place in the Templemore Arms to present Harty Cup and All Ireland medals.
The function was presided over by school Principal Patricia Higgins with Deputy Principal Willie Butler doing a wonderful job as MC.
On hand in onóir na hocáide was President elect of the GAA John Horan, Our County Chairman Michael Bourke, vice Chairman John Devane, Chairman of Munster Council Jerry O'Sullivan, Chairman of Munster Schools Liam O'Mahony, Schools Serving Officer Tom Maher and many more club, divisional and County Board members whose presence enhanced the occasion.
After an excellent meal and medal presentation by John Horan, parents, pupils and teachers danced the night away in an atmosphere of inclusiveness, comraderie and friendship that makes the school what it is today - a wonderful place to haves ones children educated in.
The educational establishment as it is preesntly constituted is an amalgamation of two previous schools, Templemore CBS and the Convent of Mercy, that served the educational needs of Templemore and its catchment area very well for decades prior to the unification date in 1985. The Sisters of Mercy have been in Templemore for in excess of a century and a half while the Brothers arrived in 1932 and both religious orders provided for decades a passport for a better life for many young boys and girls in a depressed economic climate and we owe them a sincere thanks for their contribution.
Both educational units adopted the news “sana in corpore sano” philosphy in their educational make up and while tennis, basketball, badminton and athletics were the persuit of the girls, Gaelic Games was very much persuded by the boys.
For decades, success in the form of trophies won were few and Templemore CBS were totally over shadowed by our neighbours in the Cathedral Town Thurles CBS.
Eventually Templemore CBS made its mark by winning its first Munster title the Kinnane Cup in 1958 with a team captained by Michael Smith who subsequently went on to have a very succesful ministerial career and incidently whose grandson Andrew Ormond was a vital cog in this years Harty Cup and All Ireland success.
As the numbers increased, further trophies in the form of Rice Cups, Croke Cups were won and in 1968 another milestone was reached when the Munster Senior (B) championship arrived on a team captained by Timmy Delaney and including future All Star Tommy Butler from The Ragg. Timmy Delaneys grandson Jerry Kelly was a pivital figure in this years Harty and All Ireland success. The seventies saw Templemore CBS make further progress and in a Harty Cup game Colaiste Christ Rí in 1974 I can recall current school photographer Seamus Bourke score 4-3 in a victory that signalled Templemore CBS as serious players amongst the big teams of that era - Flannans, The Mon, Limerick CBS, Farren Ferris, etc.
1978 was a wonderful year for the school and its catchment area when the Harty Cupb and All Ireland second level schools trophies were captured for the first time by a team captained by Martin Bourke and including such players as future All Ireland winning captain Bobby Ryan, Pat McGrath, dad to Brian of 2017 fame, and prolific scoring forward Noel Fogarty, who in company with the great Tom Byrnes, managed and coached the 2017 winning combination.
At that stage Templemore CBS had become a serious hurling nursery and were competitive in all grades of hurling and football. The early eighties did not see many trophies won and in 1984 and 85 the Kinnane Cup came back to the school on teams that included current Tipp Senior hurling manager Upperchurch Drombanes Michael Ryan and current Tipp selector Conor Stakelum.
Following the amalgamation in 1985 and on the arrival of a young lady Teresa Brenan to the teaching staff camogie, ladies football became hugely important games for the girls and success gradually arrived culminating in the capture of an All Ireland senior camogie title in 2014 and the great work ongoing in this area is reflected by the huge numbers from the school that are on Tipperary camogie and ladys football teams presently.
The late eighties did not see many trophies arrive at the school but the arrival of Tommy Dunne arguably the most skillful hurler ever to wear the school singlet gave a huge lift to hurling when the Tomás Keane led Rice Cup team captured the famous trophy in 1989 on a team that included the Dunne brothers Tom and Terry, Enda Everard, Declan Laffan and Brian Phelan, it signalled the beginning of a new ear in the history of Our Ladys as a hurling nursery. In 1990 Tom Dunne led this group to Munster senior honours (Kinnane Cup) indicating further progress.
The (93-94) school year was a milestone in Our Ladys evolving history as the school captured Munster Senior (B) and All Ireland (B) honours on a team captained by Loughmores David Kennedy and including future All Ireland senior medal winners Paul Ormond and Eamon Corcoran. Incidently two other members of the team Denis Kelly and Damien McBride had sons Jerry Kelly and Eanna McBride on the all conquering Our Ladys team of 2017.
At this period in Our Ladys history, football was being played at the highest level in the school and in 1995 the McGabhann Cup (Tipp U18 1/2 A) championship was won when a PJ Sweeney led outfit defeated a Declan Browne led High School team in a great final in Cashel on the score 1-17 to 1-11.
Rice Cup victories continued in 1996, 98 and 2000 which indicated that great promotional work was ongoing in Our Ladys. A further milestone was reached in 1999 when Our Ladys captured its first U15A Whyte Cup provincial title on a team captained by Upperchurch Drombanes Pat Shortt. That feat was emulated in the 2005-06 season when Sean McCormack led his team to victory on a team that included future All Ireland senior medal winners his brother Dan McCormack and Clonakennys Willie Ryan. During the noughties Our Ladys were competing in all grades of hurling and football very successfully and despite Harty Cup final defeats in 2000 and 2002 St Flannans Ennis and St Colmans Fermoy, the hard promotional graft was kept going by a dedicated and energetic teaching staff.
The 2006-07 saw another very important mileston reached when the Noel McGrath captained Dean Ryan team won the prestigious trophy for the first time.
Between 2006 and 2008 Our Lady's had outstanding Harty Cup teams but they lost narrowly three years in a row to neighbaours and great rivals Thurles CBS in two of those years after replays. Despite those setbacks the persuit of the Holy Grail continued and despite being defeated in finals in 2013 by Dungarvan Colleges and in 2016 by Ard Scoil Rís Limerick the management team of Tom Byrnes and Noel Fogarty never gave up and on the 18th of February with the resounding victory over St Colmans Fermoy on the score of 2-22 to 1-6 all the thirty nine years of frustration since the Hartys last visit to the town in '78 were buried in the famous Gaelic Grounds.
The subsequent All Ireland semi-final victory over Kilkenny CBS and the final victory over famed St Kierans on the score of 3-13 to 3-11 were occasions that will go down in history and will be talked about for many's the day in Templemore and its school catchment area.
Yes indeed it was a wonderful trip of defiance and steely determination that is amply portrayed in the school philosophy and it will serve pupils, teachers and parents in their persuit of excellence in all educational fields going forward.
“Molain sibh agus go n-éirí go geal libh sna blianta ata romhaibh”