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Countdown to Gaelic Sunday commemorations - North Tipperary

Michael Collins, Luke O'Toole, and Harry Boland pictured at Croke Park. O'Toole was General Secretary of the GAA from 1901 to 1929 and central to the success of 'Gaelic Sunday'. 

Michael Collins, Luke O'Toole, and Harry Boland pictured at Croke Park. O'Toole was General Secretary of the GAA from 1901 to 1929 and central to the success of 'Gaelic Sunday'. 

August 4, 1918 will be remembered as one of the most remarkable and significant days in the history of the GAA. Known as Gaelic Sunday – it was a day when the clubs of the GAA stood against the British Empire and triumphed in a peaceful protest.

In 1918 the British authorities in Ireland were trying to impose conscription to supplement the war effort but there was massive opposition to this. British authorities blamed the GAA in part for this opposition and hit back by preventing matches from taking place, stopping the provision of special trains to carry supporters to matches and insisting that a written permit was required granting permission for any GAA match to take place.

In response the GAA declared a national day of defiance and called on GAA clubs all over Ireland to refuse to seek a permit and instead organise club activity for 3pm on Sunday, August 4. The result was that an estimated 54,000 took part with more than 100,000 watching and such was the success of the initiative that the attempt to impose a requirement for a license to play Gaelic games was scrapped.

This year marks the centenary of that courageous act and we want GAA Clubs all over Ireland to show a similar level of pride in their club, their games and the area they represent.

Across the weekend of August 4&5 we want clubs to hold their own club events as part of these commemorations. It could be an internal club tournament, family day or club history exhibit. What matters is that 100 years on we still have games and GAA clubs we are proud of.

As we count down to the Gaelic Sunday commemorations, we’ll relive the momentous day with reminiscences and excerpts from newspapers of the time describing the activities of the day.

The below account from the Freeman's Journal details how Gaelic Sunday unfolded in North Tipperary on August 4, 1918.

Gaelic Sunday in North Tipperary, August 4 1918

In North Tipperary the arrangements made by the division were loyally carried out and practically every village was a centre of Gaelic activity on Sunday.

Fourteen matches were fixed, and at 8 o’clock (old time) the North Tipperary Gaels, in common with their brother Gaels in all parts of the country, went into action in support of the National Pastimes Offensive.

The attitude of the authorities was in sharp contrast in their action a week previously when one dare not participate in or attend a hurling contest.

At Kilruane, a few miles from Nenagh, there was a large attendance for the contest between Nenagh and Ballymackey.

Sometime prior to the match the local police sergeant applied for admission which was refused without payment of the customary fee.

The sergeant having taken the name of the gentleman on the gate withdrew with a constable to the roadside, from where they viewed the match.

While the play could have been better the contest was, nevertheless, a good one, and great interest was taken in it. The teams were well matched, and the score of Nenagh, 3 goals 2 points, and Ballymackey, 2 goals 5 points, gives a fair indication of the play.

At Park, Toomevara and Moneygall went into action. There was a very large attendance, and three police and a military officer viewed the game from the roadside. The match resulted in a draw of 12 points each.

The following North Tipperary teams took the field on Sunday: Ballina v Ballywilliam, Newport v Birdhill at Clare Glens, Portroe v Garrykennedy, Shallee v Foilnamuck, Kiladangan v Ardcroney at Ardcroney, Finnoe v Kilbarron at Finnoe, Abbeyville v Eglish and Lorrha v Glenahilty at Abbeyville, Roscrea v Coolderry at Roscrea, Toomevara v Moneygall at Park, Toomevara v Gurtagarry at Gurtagarry, Ballymackey v Nenagh at Kilruane, Templederry v Curreeny, Newport Shamrocks v Ballinahinch.