RTE Gaelic Games commentator Marty Morrissey has lauded the achievements of St Joseph’s Secondary School in capturing their first Harty Cup, writes Dan Danaher.
Speaking on a platform outside the school, the Quilty broadcaster paid tribute to all the work that contributed to becoming the best senior hurling colleges team in Munster.
Marty said it was a wonderful honour and privilege to be present in Tulla to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the St Joseph’s team.
“As a Clareman I want to thank this team and school because what you have done is more than just win a cup or a Munster title. This is what a school dreams of aspiring to.
“What you have is a sense of belonging to a community. You are from Clare, East Clare and St Joseph’s school in Tulla. The school has achieved a wonderful thing by bringing a whole county together.”
“We are all gone mad on this St Joseph’s team because of what you have achieved. When you start on this journey, you realise you haven’t just a bunch of good hurlers, but a community of the team, management, staff, families and students coming together to win a game.
“Then we win again and again, and now the country is talking about you. That is some achievement for any school.”
Marty said the team, management and all the students should be so proud of what they have achieved because no other team would be the first St Joseph’s 15 to win a Harty Cup final.
Describing the team as “history-makers”, he said in the future when any of the players travel all over the world the one thing that will bind them together is they brought the Harty Cup back to Clare and became only the third school to achieve this feat.
“The story of the year will be St Joseph’s Tulla for what they achieved against the odds. You would expect St Flannan’s and Ardscoil Rís to do well.”
Paraphrasing the famous speech given by Clare captain, Anthony Daly after the Banner’s never-to-be forgotten Munster final win, Marty said Clare people love their county, their hurling and their traditional music.
While the journey continues for St Joseph’s who play in the All-Ireland senior colleges’ semi-final, he stressed no one can ever take away the Harty Cup from St Joseph’s.
Commenting on the emotional scenes after St Joseph’s well deserved three-point win over Ardscoil Rís in the final, he attributed this success to their great heart, resilience, determination and self-belief.
“Something magical has happened here over the last few months between the management and players, who put club rivalry aside to come together as a community to represent East Clare. I think these players would die for each other. Thank you for bringing such glory to Clare.”
“In St Flannan’s, we always had the odd Limerick or Tipperary lad who said we would never have won without them. But this Harty Cup win is just Clare.”
The attendance included two former St Joseph’s principals – Joe Cooney and Michael McMahon and former teachers.
Board of management chairperson, Brian Torpey joked his claim to fame was he swept out of the dressing rooms for St Joseph’s.
Thanking all the parents for washing jerseys, transporting players to training and games, he said they played a key role in preparing St Joseph’s teams.
He also praised all the students for behaving in a very sporting manner during St Joseph’s matches as they avoided the temptation to engage in negative jeering.
“I read somewhere great people play well on great occasions. St Joseph’s Harty team played great on great occasions.”
School chaplain, Fr Brendan Quinlivan said it was incredible that the spirits of everyone in all of the East Clare parishes have been lifted by this win.
Fr Quinlivan praised the tremendous dedication of the teachers, management and players that culminated in the Harty Cup success.
“Wonderful joy has spread throughout the entire community after this win. It has been the topic of conversation everywhere you go and it has lifted hearts and minds in difficult times. We are so grateful to these young players for their dedication and strength of character, not just on big days but on every day they encountered them. They are wonderful young people and we are all so proud of them.”
Senator Timmy Dooley said St Joseph’s success has exceeded the expectations of most people in the county, apart from their management team who instilled a great self-belief in a very dignified way with nothing over the top.
The Tulla resident said the management’s belief in the players helped them to overcome the might and strength of experienced opposing teams who had the expectation of winning all their games.
“St Joseph’s had the hurling skills and then it was a case of getting it to the next level, which the management did in spades. They have great joy to anyone involved or who has an interest in hurling in East Clare.
“It has been a huge effort from the community. Hats off to what they have achieved. I have been talking to colleagues of mine throughout the country who have an interest in hurling and would have expected St Flannan’s or Ardscoil Rís to triumph.
“It was very much a David and Goliath battle all the way through their Harty Cup campaign and they have left us with great memories.”
“They are a tremendous group of hurlers and management who operated as a collective. The Leaving Certs are probably the first group to enjoy tremendous new indoor and outdoor facilities in St Joseph’s.”
“There is a big dividend when the state invests in a facility like St Joseph’s, the school community has responded and we have seen the manifestation with a result like the Harty Cup win.”
He said it was a great achievement for St Joseph’s to even enter the Harty Cup against schools with much larger playing numbers.