Lahorna De Wets-Tipperary senior hurling champions 1902

Back(l-r) Jim Darcy (Bantiss), John O’Meara (Carrigenagh), Mick Kennedy (Killyloughnane), Michael Conway (Beechwood), Dan Ryan (Soolmoy), Rody Nolan (Cunnahurt), Paddy Behan (Ballinweir),
Middle (l-r) Mick McLoughney (Lahorna), Tom Ryan (Beechwood), Tim O’Connor (Carrigenagh), Paddy Williams (Cloughjordan), Tim Carr (Ballymackey), Con Brewer (Ballymackey), Martin Darcy (Kyle).
Front (l-r) Michael Gaynor (Secretary-Kilruane), James O’Meara (Moanfin), Tom Ryan (The Lough), Jack Dwan (Captain-Kilruane), George O’Leary (Chairman-Beechwood). Missing from the photo is Denis Whelan (Bantiss) who played in the 1902 county final.

Lahorna De Wets hurling club were the predecessors of Kilruane MacDonaghs club in the parish of Cloughjordan. They were founded in 1900 and named after Christiaan De Wet, a Boer War General who was very popular in Ireland for his military feats against the British in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902). De Wets won the first ever North Tipperary final in 1901 and won it again in 1902,’03,’04,’06,’07,’08. In 1902 they also won the county final beating Carrick-on-Suir by 7-10 to 1-2.

Tournaments were very popular in the early 1900’s and they were great sporting, social, cultural and political occasions. De Wets won several tournaments including the Cloughjordan Church tournaments in 1904,’05 and ’08. In the 1905 final they beat Castleconnell (Ahane) from Limerick before a crowd of 5,000 in Cloughjordan. They also beat Castleconnell in the finals of the Nenagh tournaments in 1904 and ’06. In 1905 they beat Duniry (Galway) in a tournament in Portumna to raise funds for political prisoners in east Galway. The Ardcroney Fife and Drum band, who always travelled with the De Wets, played both teams into the field. In 1908 De Wets beat Coolderry in the final of the Roscomroe Defence Fund tournament held in Roscrea in aid of political prisoners in the Roscomroe area. They also played and lost to St Finbarrs (Cork) in the Thurles tournament in 1908. In 1909 the Glasgow Rapparees, who were champions of Britain, were touring in Ireland and De Wets played them in a tournament game in Nenagh to raise funds for the North Tipperary board.De wets travelled to their games by brake (horse drawn bus) or by hired trains. One of the players, Jack Nolan (Cunnahurt) who played with them from 1906, was a champion step dancer and he entertained his teammates with his Irish dancing skills on their journeys to and from their games.

There is more information and exhibits on Lahorna De Wets in the MacDonagh Museum in Cloughjordan. Volume IX of Cloughjordan Heritage contains an article on the history of Lahorna De Wets.

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