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Memories (written by Eamonn de Paor in 1994)

The following is an excerpt from a club programme in 1994 in which Eamonn de Poor (R.I.P.) reflects on days gone bye.

Memories, too numerous to recount, come tumbling down along the years. I remember the great schools leagues and championship games in Curley's field, the freshness and enthusiasm of the boys who never missed an evening - and we were there every evening, except week-ends. I recall a particularly close match one evening when only a point separated the teams at half time. Johnny Curley (who served Tallow faithfully in all grades of hurling and football in later years) was player/manager of the losing team and began their rehabilitation with a stirring address at the interval. What he said would inspire the most apathetic, but one member of his team figited during this Gettysburg effort, betraying the wrong attitude towards a fixture of this magnitude and to a man of Johnny's stature, who was senior to them all. "Now listen here you" admonished Johnny severely to the poor waif who was preoccupied with killing a few daisies at the time. "If you don't buck up fast, we will bring on a sub". What we all knew was that there wasn't a sub in sight.

The under 14 games of the early sixties prepared the lads for sterner tests ahead as they grew up quickly and matured rapidly. Even the training at that time was magic and it was a heart-raising sight to go down to the field, our newly acquired gaelic field (officially opened in 1963), for training which was held every night. Big numbers dotted the field with dozens of spectators silently monitoring the preparations. And match days! Tallow's deserted streets, as the cavalcade of cars and a bus or two headed for Cappoquin or Lismore or Dungarvan or Waterford. Flags fluttering from every window as a Tallow under 16, minor or under 21 team set out to bring back another title. Willie O Brien cramming at least a dozen animated little under aged cheer leaders into his Volkswagen. "If ye're good and we win," he rashly promised, "we'll all have ice cream." Shur he always bought the ice cream anyway. And Francie Fitzgerald - Francie and Hannah were self appointed travel service on match days, their cars bursting with youthful supporters. John Collins from Knocknamuck was the most loyal of supporters, as constant as the northern star, who would gladly have walked every step of the road to where the blue and gold were playing. Sonny O Brien was another. Quite, undemonstrative Sonny was our Treasurer, completely loyal, committed and dependable.

The Intermediate championship win of 1974, giving Tallow back senior status is still vivid in the memory. So is the glory of 1980 at Dungarvan when Tallow became Waterford Senior Hurling Champions again after 40 years in the back waters. Centenary year, 1984, was fittingly celebrated by Tallow who won the senior crown again, to be followed by a repeat the following year. Tallow's best display of that era was the Munster club semi final against Kilruane. That wonderful exhilarating display was a bitter-sweet memory because a last minute winning point by the Tipp champions denied us another chance. Kilruane afterwards became All Ireland Club Champions.

Tallow is now at a cross roads. Batteries need to be recharged. Spirit needs to be rekindled and an infusion of youth is also needed. The spirit of Willie O Brien and Francie Fitzgerald and the memories of the 60's, 70's and 80's should offer inspiration. We can't survive on memories and nostalgia, though memories can inspire and uplift. Long may those happy memories endure and illumine the way forward.


Eamonn de Paor
1994
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