Exactly one hundred years ago, on 21st January 1917, this parish represented Co. Tipperary in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final. The 1916 final had been delayed by political and military events. Boherlahan were the County Champions and had earned the right to select the Tipperary team. By this stage, the practice of selecting players from other clubs to augment the county team had become the norm.
The Tipperary team was [all Boherlahan unless denoted otherwise]––T. Dwan (Thurles, goal), J. Leahy (capt), J. Doherty, W. Dwyer, A O’Donnell, W Dwyer, T. Shanahan (Horse and Jockey), J. Power, J Fitzpatrick (Two-Mile-Borris), J. Collison (Clonakenny), P. Leahy, H. Shelly (Thurles), J. Murphy (Horse and Jockey), R Walsh, Denis Walsh.
Boherlahan were wearing the old blue and gold colours of the team from the townland of Tubberadora who, under the leadership of "Big Mikey" Maher, having won the All-Irelands of 1895, 1896 and 1898, had retired undefeated because, "like Alexander the Great, they had nothing left to conquer". Boherlahan felt the weight of that history and were determined to win another All-Ireland. Tipperary, led by Boherlahan, defeated Kerry, Limerick, Cork and Galway en route to the final, by which time they were a team celebrated for their intensity and aggression.
Their opponents were Kilkenny, a team on a roll having recently won no less then seven All-Irelands between 1904 and 1913. The team was mostly from Tullaroan which, in 1886, had been the first Kilkenny team to wear the black and amber.
Tullaroan man "Sim" Walton led Kilkenny, and Johnny Leahy of Boherlahan led the Tipperary team. It was described as "The best hurling final for many years". A "large crowd" of about 5,000 attended.
The Irish Independent reported on the match:
"The game for fifty minutes was fought out in the most stubborn fashion. Play was desperately keen in the first quarter, and 16 minutes had elapsed when the first score fell to Tipperary, who from this to the interval had slightly the better of the argument, leading by 1-2 to 0-1.
The game was again fast on resuming. Kilkenny beat off some attacks by their opponents, and playing in splendid style, took a lead of a goal and two points at three-quarter time. It seemed that they would repeat their victory of three years ago.
However, Tipperary called on for a special effort, responded in grand fashion, putting in some splendid execution and sweeping down on the Kilkenny posts. They ran in several scores, winning rather easily, and thus putting another All-Ireland honour to the credit of the Premier County. ..... The pace was very fast and the hurling magnificent."
Tipperary won by 5-4 to 4-2. Elsewhere it was stated that “The representatives of the old scientific school of hurling were hustled and bustled and dazzled out of its form by the rush and flash of what can only be described as the personification of Kickham’s ‘Magnificent Tipperary’.” At the end of the game occurred the famous exchange between the captains: "We were better hurlers than ye, Leahy," said Walton. "But we were the better men, Sim," replied Johnny.
(Incidentally, RTÉ Radio 1's "Sunday Miscellany" of 15/1/17 featured a piece on the event, which can be accessed on the RTÉ Radio Player app – usually for 4 weeks after the broadcast.)