For the first time since 1934 Tipperary are the All Ireland Minor Football champions following their dramatic victory over Dublin in a thrilling final at Croke Park last Sunday (September 18). Among the many spectators at the game was Imelda O’Riordan (nee Casey) of Killashee who proudly watched as two of her five sons played their role in bringing the Tom Markham Cup home to Tipperary.
“Colin and Alan are absolutely thrilled,” Imelda told the Leader on Monday. “It means absolutely everything to them. They live and breathe football.” Colin (15) and Alan (17) both made the panel for yesterday’s game and Colin also played half back.
“It has been such an exciting week for Colin,” said Imelda. “He just got his Junior Cert results last week and then the win in Croke Park. It’s been fantastic.”
Colin was also Man of the Match in the Munster Final against Cork earlier this summer.
“The whole summer has just been a rollercoaster – it’s been one great game after another for Colin and Alan,” said Imelda.
Imelda, who left Killashee 27 years ago, is a sister of Brendan Casey of Begnagh, Killashee, Fr. Sean Casey, Killoe, Fr. Seamus Casey, Athlone and Harry Casey, Navan. Imelda’s sisters Maeve and Eileen also live nearby in Glasson and Rooskey respectively. She also has sisters living in Dublin (Deirdre) and Kilcloon, Co. Meath (Irene).
For the last 15 years Imelda, her husband Michael and their sons Colin, Alan, Kevin, Stephen and Sean, have lived in Templemore, Co. Tipperary. On the day of the All Ireland Minor Final Imelda and Michael celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary.
“Michael is a former footballer in Tipperary,” said Imelda. “Football is huge in our family. Everything about the boys is sports-related. They simply love it.”
As passionate as Imelda is about GAA, she is also equally passionate about her greyhound dogs, which she breeds and rears at her home.
“It’s certainly enjoyable each morning!” she said. “I have 20 or so dogs at the moment and it’s going reasonably well for us.”
Looking forward to the future of football in County Tipperary, Imelda believes there are many more good times ahead.
“(Yesterday’s win) augers well for Tipperary football. It’s a very young team and they are very passionate about that they do,” she said. “There’s a great sense of achievement in the county – it really is uplifting and everyone is excited about it. There’s a great atmosphere and sense of pride. It’s just unbelievable.”
At a personal level though Imelda is particularly proud of her two boys.
“We are very proud of the boys. They’ve put in a tremendous effort over the years and it’s been a fantastic victory for them and for the whole team.”