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Knigh - The First Club

Chapter 4

Knigh was the first team formed in the parish after the formation of the GAA in 1884. The team was certainly in existence by November 1885 and was one of twenty affiliated in North Tipperary during the year 1886. In February of that year a North Tipperary selection, drawn from eight clubs, travelled to the Phoenix Park in Dublin to play a south galway selection. Three members of the Knigh team, Matt Costelloe, Matt Hayes and Pat Gleeson ( Gow ), lined out for North Tipperary. All three lived near each other in the townland of Loughourna. years afterwards a corrospondent named " Old Boy " recalled in the local newspaper that he was present at the match in the Phoenix Park as a boy. It was a raw, bitter afternoon and the match was very one - sided. Pat Gleeson ( Gow ) was playing in the goals and " Old Boy " distinctly remembers pat shouting at his backmen: " for God's sake, will ye let the ball come this way, I'm dying from the cowld".
Twenty teams contested the first North Tipperary championship of 1886-7 for the prize of the Silver Cup won at the Phoneix Park earlier that year. Knigh played Milford james Stephens of Borrisokane in the first round at Borrisokane on 7 November 1886. " a Corrospondent" ( obviously a Milford supporter! ) sent a report on the game to the next edition of the Nenagh Guardian :

"The contest throughout was fast and furious and the Milford men exhibited such skill with the caman as to show they were fit to meet any other parish team in Munster. Their play was faultless. Not so with the Knigh team as their hurling was entirely without judgement."

A few minutes from the end Milford scored a " Goal ", but the Knigh umpire, James Costelloe of Loughourna, disputed it. Milford claimed the score and appealed to J.K. Bracken of Templmore, Vice-President of the GAA, who was in attendance. Bracken's opinion was that the goal was "good". But the referee, F.R. Moloney of Nenagh, disallowed the score; Milford refused to accept his decision and walked off the field. The score - excluding the disputed goal - stood at Knigh 0 - 5, Milford 1-2.
The North Tipperary Hurling Comittee reprimanded Milford for refusing to continue with the game and ordered a replay. The Milford assistant secretary, William Hogan, angrily denounced the decision and accused Knigh of " a trick of the loop attempt to deprive us of out proper place on that day". It is unclear if the match was actually replayed; neither team figured in the latter stages of the competition, which was won by the Silvermines.

We catch another glimpse of Knighclub from a police report of the year 1891. ( In those days the police were keenly interested in the activities of all nationalist organisations). The club had a total of thirty members, Pat Carroll was team captain , John Slattery was secretary, and John Hayes ( pictured above ) was treasurer. However, the report note that the club was not affiliated. The fortunes of the GAA were then at a low ebb due to the Parnell split and the police report suggests that there were only six clubs in county Tipperary. Knigh and neighbouring Ardcroney were the only clubs mentioned in the entire district.

The Knigh captain, Pat Carroll, was a farmer living at Ballyanny townland. John Slattery ( 1863-1928 ) of Loughourna was father of Hughie Slattery, the Nenagh draper. John Hayes, also of Loughourna, was elder brother to Matt ( mentioned earlier ) and father of Bill who played for KIlladangan during the 1930's. John Hayes had been a founder member of the Knigh club and was joint secretary of the first North Tipperary Hurling Committee established in 1866. He died in 1922 at the age of 65 years and his funeral is said to be the first to arrive at Puckaun chapel in a motor hearse. It is believed that Paddy Minehan of Knigh ( 1859-1934 ) was also involved with the Knigh club and acted as umpire at its matches. It was the practice in the early days of the GAA to have a neutral referee, aided by an umpire from each of the competeing teams


John Hayes
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