Tipperary Ladies Football
Tipperary is a county synonymous with the GAA and the premier county has always been to fore when it has come to establishing cultural and sporting initiatives. Hayes Hotel, Liberty Square in Thurles is famously celebrated as the birth place of the GAA after a meeting in 1884.
Not surprisingly ninety years later in July 1974 Hayes Hotel in Thurles again bore witness to the birth of another national sporting organisation; this time it was the LGFA (Ladies Gaelic Football Association).
Four counties were represented at that initial meeting, on July 18th 1974 and included; Tipperary, Offaly, Galway, and Kerry. As a consequence of that meeting the LGFA was formed. Tipperary’s Jim Kennedy was elected as the organisations first President.
At that meeting it was decided to hold a senior inter-county championship with each county paying a £10 fee to cover medals. Eight counties Roscommon, Laois, Offaly, Galway, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Tipperary indicated of their interest to take part. The four Munster counties were drawn in opposition and agreed to play a Munster championship on a league basis. It was decided to draft a set of rules as there was different interpretations with some counties using the complete set of G.A.A. rules. Roscommon were drawn against Laois, Offaly were drawn against Galway along with the Munster championship.
Offaly scored an impressive 5-5 to 1-3 in their victory over Galway. Down south in the Munster championship Tipperary defeated Waterford 3- 8 to 2-6 in Fethard and followed it up by beating Cork to secure their place in the Munster final. Kerry also defeated Waterford and Cork. The Munster final was fixed for Kilsheelan on the 15th September. Tipperary led by six points at halftime but had to survive in a nail-biting finish to secure their single point 2-6 to 2-5 win. Two weeks later Offaly faced Laois in Portlaoise. Offaly were firm favourites but the O Moore county hadn’t read the script and Offaly were fortunate to record a 3-6 to 2-6 victory. Thus Tipperary and Offaly were to contest the first All Ireland Senior Final which was fixed for Durrow Co. Laois on Sunday the 13th October 1974. Tipperary won that first All Ireland by just the bare minimum on a scoreline of 2-3 to Offaly’s 2-2.
In an interview some weeks after the All Ireland Final, the newly elected LGFA President Jim Kennedy stated, ‘Ladies football is a very serious business and should be taken seriously. It’s not just a gimmick or a flash in the pan. Ladies football is catching on and the girls are taking it very seriously’.