Trailblazing Tipperary Camogie team win first-ever senior All-Ireland title

Brian  McDonnell


Brian McDonnell

Trailblazing Tipperary Camogie team win first-ever senior All-Ireland title

Toomevara's Deirdre Hughes had battled long and hard in the blue and gold before finally making an emotional breakthrough in 1999.

The campaign featured a humiliating league final defeat (2-7 to 9-19), but Tipperary, featuring an exciting new wave of players, re-grouped under manager Michael Cleary (Nenagh Éire Óg) and battled their way into the final against Kilkenny.

The Cats were red-hot favourites to win the first-ever fifteen-a-side final, but Tipp battled gamely and played with a raw heart, which endeared the side to blue and gold supporters, while Deirdre Hughes inspired the Premier County to overturn a 0-7 to 1-5 interval deficit before ultimately winning 0-12 to 1-8.

Tipperary fell two behind early in the second half, but Michael Cleary's team relentlessly pursued Kilkenny and drew level late in the contest.

Then the key moment arrived - two minutes into injury time Drom & Inch's Caitriona Hennessy fired over the game winning point which sparked an extraordinary out-pouring of emotion from the team and the Tipperary Camogie community at Croke Park. Tipp, finally, were crowned All-Ireland champions.

That Tipperary team, of course, progressed to win further All-Ireland titles in 2000 2001, 2003 and 2004.

The Tipperary team was: Jovita Delaney (Cashel), Suzanne Kelly (Toomevara), Una O'Dwyer (Cashel), Claire Madden (Portroe), Méadhbh Stokes (Cashel, captain), Ciara Gaynor (Kilruane MacDonagh's), Sinéad Nealon (Burgess), Emily Hayden (Cashel), Angie McDermott (Cappawhite), Noelle Kennedy (Toomevara, 0-6), Therese Brophy (Burgess), Helen Kiely (Drom & Inch), Eimear McDonnell (Burgess, 0-1), Deirdre Hughes (Toomevara, 0-3), Niamh Harkin (Drom & Inch). Subs: Caitriona Hennessy (Drom & Inch), Philly Fogarty (Cashel).

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