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Michael Hogan Festival of Football

Published 1 year ago 25th September 2021 by Big John

Where were you when John F Kennedy was assassinated? Where were you when the news broke that Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris? Where were you when those planes hit The World Trade Centre? Where were you when Mikey Sheehy chipped Paddy Cullen? Where were you when Stephen Roche won the Tour De France? Where were you when Richie Stakelum declared “The Famine is Over”.

These are all questions that are part of folklore and then at 3pm on 18th September 2011, every Tipperary person added another question to the list! “Where were you when the Tipperary Footballers won the All Ireland Minor Football title for the first time since 1934?”

There’s an old husband’s tale that you can’t count an All Ireland unless you have beaten Kerry. This of course is a load of rubbish but for the record, in 2011, Tipperary gave Kerry an 11 point lead and came back to beat them. For good measure they beat Cork in the Munster Final and then defeated a supposedly unbeatable Dublin team in the final. There was certainly nothing soft about their route to glory that year. It was also the day that Colman Kennedy turned the old saying of “take your points and the goals will follow” on its head.

Colman took his goal and for a lot of us the “pints” followed.

It’s hard to believe that it’s 10 years now since that wonderful day. I can remember it as if it was only yesterday. I was in the Hogan Stand in the company of 5 of the proudest Tipperary men you could ever wish to meet. When the final whistle went we hugged everyone within reach and a few who weren’t in reach at all and I can assure you that later that night the craic was well above the national average.

Can that win ever be repeated? You can’t deny that the underage results over the last few years have been disappointing and The Tipperary Football Committee are anxious to address that. Their aim is to maximise the amount of opportunities juvenile players across the county get to play the game, improve their skills and develop a love of the game.

With those objectives in mind, The Football Committee, in conjunction with the Friends of Tipperary Football launched the ‘Michael Hogan Festival of Football’ at a reception in The Horse and Jockey Hotel last Friday night.

The Festival of Football will be run as follows:

  • U11 competition on Saturday October 16th
  • U13 competition on Saturday October 30th
  • Format similar to Peil competition with each location hosting their own independent competition.
  • Each venue to host eight clubs with two groups of four
  • Teams will be graded.

Who knows, the next Declan Browne, Michael Quinlivan, Conor Sweeney or Brian Fox might emerge from one of these competitions but the main aim of this festival is to have over 2,000 kids in Tipperary playing and enjoying gaelic football over two weekends. It’s a fantastic initiative by the football board and as with most things in Tipperary football, it couldn’t take place without the financial support of the Friends of Tipperary Football.

The host clubs will be finalised over the next few weeks and when they are you should try get yourself along to the venue nearest you on either the 16th October, the 30th October or both, enjoy the atmosphere, meet some current Tipperary footballers but more importantly watch the stars of the future displaying their skills in what promises to be a wonderful celebration of football around the county. Finally, the editor of this newspaper asked me to attend a number of senior football games at the weekend. I have had a therapist on speed- dial ever since. They say nobody wants to see the same circus twice but I saw the same circus 4 times over the weekend.

Every game was the identical with teams employing blanket defences or as its now called “setting the line”. Goalkeepers giving kick-outs to a corner back, who hand passes it to the full back and then across to the other corner back. He will carry it forward a bit linking up with his half back line and from there they continue up the field going over and back like a drunk man coming home from the pub. By the time they get the ball past the half way line, the opposition have all got back and “set the line”. The ball is turned over and it’s rinse and repeat. I don’t blame the players. I saw some wonderful footballers over the weekend and they would be even better if their coaches allowed them the freedom to play. Coaches these days seem to be obsessed with preventing scores rather than getting scores. Incidentally, two of the teams I saw, Kilsheelan-Kilcash and Moyle Rovers went about their business in a proper manner and won comfortably. Maybe there is a lesson there for other clubs!!

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