Presentation to Hughie Tooher

30 Nov 2009 by Gilbert Williams

 Presentation to Hughie Tooher

Fifty years ago Kilruane MacDonaghs defeated Toomevara on a 0-11 to1-4 scoreline to bridge a fifteen year gap and win the North Final for the tenth time. They defeated Knockavilla Kickhams in the county semi-final before succumbing to the might of Thurles Sarsfields in the last ten minutes of the county final which was played in Roscrea. Full forward on the side was the wiry and wily Hughie Tooher. He first tasted success in the green and gold of MacDonaghs when they won the North Junior final in 1954 by defeating Kilcommon. Hughie continued playing senior hurling until 1963. He was and is acknowledged as a shrewd observer of the game and he acted as a senior selector on a number of occasions. In 1965 he was a mentor when the senior team, captained by Len Gaynor, overcame Lorrha to win the Frank McGrath Cup. In Canon Whyte’s history ‘ Kilruane MacDonaghs & Lahorna De Wets’ there is a great photo of the selectors and officials at the dinner Dance in O Mearas Hotel featuring a beaming Hughie dressed in his Sunday best . Hughie was on the line in 1975 when MacDonaghs were beaten by Moneygall in the county final and he was also a selector in 1984 when Kilruane were beaten by Lorrha in the North semi-final which was played in Borrisokane.

Earlier this year the genial Hughie celebrated his eightieth birthday. To celebrate this milestone, the golden jubilee of the ’59 victory, and to acknowledge his invaluable contribution to the Kilruane MacDonaghs club it was decided to make a presentation to Hughie. On Friday evening November 27th chairman Connie Grace, secretary Kay Cahalan, P.R.O. Gilbert Williams, Tom McLoughney a member of the ’59 team, former playing colleague Len Gaynor, nephew Martin Tooher, grandnieces Joyce, Shauna & Lianne, grandnephew Michael, niece Geraldine O Sullivan and photographer Andy Whelan descended on Bushy Park Nursing Home where Hughie is a popular resident.

The visitors were warmly greeted by Hughie who was delighted to see the familiar faces. Needless to say the feat of the ’59 team was recalled as were some eventful matches from the past in both senior and junior hurling. Hughie related a very amusing story in relation to the Lord Abbot Cup. This was a junior hurling tournament in which teams from Tipp and Offaly participated and it wasn’t a competition for the fainthearted. The strict laws of libel prevent me from recounting this particular story as told by Hughie. The occasion was very relaxed and everybody enjoyed the occasion.

Tom McLoughney presented a framed photograph of the 1959 team to Hughie. The photograph had been copied, framed and captioned in a very professional manner by Fionnuala Gaynor. The modest Hughie was very appreciative of the gesture by the club and it was evident to all present that that he is still a proud MacDonaghs man to the core. He is as sharp as ever and retains his sense of humour. Hughie reminded us all that although he is now resident in Borrisokane he never lost to them in a hurling match. He still enjoys his fags and downed a glass of whiskey to celebrate the occasion. Photos will be posted on the website.

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