St. Mary’s hurling club was founded in August 1950. St. Mary’s was the patriot Saint of the Touraneena parish. This club mainly consisted of rural areas such as Beary’s cross, Knockboy and Bleantas. Key members were: Bob Meara, Sean Whelan, Piery Butler, Johnny Kiely, Larry Kiely, John Walsh and Tom Power. No championship match was played this year.
Played Fourmilewater and lost in the first round in the junior hurling championship.
St. Mary’s got to Junior hurling Western final in 1952. Beating Colligan first round, Fourmilewater in second and were defeated by Ballyduff upper in Western final. Mary’s lost the game by three points. There were no spare hurleys that year as money was a hard item to come by. The hurleys cost seven shillings each (equivalent to 35p today – 44 cent in Euro)
Mickie Gleeson, Pierce Butler and Jimmy Lonergan stopped picking spuds to cycle to Affane a week before the Western final game to ask a man by the name of Tommy Stapleton for a loan of a bag of hurleys for the final of ’52. Their mission was successful and no spare hurley was needed that day and so all were left in the bag and return back to Affane.
St. Mary’s were invited to play in an Affane hurling tournament. Touraneena got into the final against the Geraldines and the Mary’s played three illegal players which was the done thing back in the 50’s.
Paddy Hoban (who was a Wexford minor), Micheal Kennedy from Clonmel Shamrock’s (Today, known as Clonmel Commercials) and Paddy Hennessy from Kilsheelan all lined out for the Touraneena side. St. Mary’s lost the game but the Touraneena side appealed because of “one” illegal player on the Geraldine’s side. The club issued a letter to the Affane chairman Tommy Stapleton but there appeal was rejected.
The junior county final winners were Macollip from Ballyduff upper. Sliabh gCua did well that year in the league but failed in the championship. They qualified for the league final (Western) but this match did not take place until 1954. Players such as Fr. Jim Kiely. Pierce Butler, Tom Quann, Paddy Farrell and John Walsh lined out that year.
The league final was played on St. Paddy’s day as they defeated the county champions Macollip in one of toughest match ever played by a Sliabh gCua team.
They were no phones, faxes, e-mail or internet in those day’s so word of mouth was the only way of communication. The main source of information was received at Sunday mass.
Sliabh gCua won the game 0-2 to no score.
A couple of weeks before St. Patrick’s day the match was scheduled to be played and Sliabh gCua could not field a team. A few Sliabh gCua supporters arrived to the Cappoquin venue, but luck was on there side as the Cappoquin club members were there at the pitch stopping the crowd to the game because the pitch was unplayable .
A letter came out from the Western board secretary stating that the match was to be played in two weeks on Sunday. Sliabh gCua this time got there players assembled with Fr. Jim Kiely from the friary and young Jimmy Lonergan from the creamery along with Bob Meara, Sean Whelan, Tom Meehan, Mick Kiely, Jimmy McGrath and Paddy Farrell.
A new hall was open in Ballymac also on Paddy’s day.
St Mary’s hurling club fell apart once again because of limited numbers.
There were only fifteen players in the club and with Bob Meara heading for the guards and Frank O’Brien to Dublin the team decided to call it a year.
Sean Whelan, John Kiely and Larry Kiely won a junior hurling championship with Fourmilewater.
Ballinamult hurling club was formed wearing the colours yellow and maroon across their bellies, this was the first time these colours were introduced.
These are the colours that St. Mary’s hurling club still use today. Sliabh gCua were green and white always and the old St. Mary’s team always borrowed the green and white jerseys.