Treasures in Lár na Páirce Museum – (In Irish: Seoda luachmhara i Lár na Páirce.)
The Hurley Collection
Lár na Páirce is home to an enviable collection of hurleys from every decade since the foundation of the G.A.A. in Thurles in 1884.
Of special interest is a hurley from the first ever All-Ireland hurling final of 1887. The collection also includes the hurleys used by Tony Reddin, John Doyle and Jimmy Doyle, who were Tipperary players chosen for the Hurling Team of the Millennium. Hurleys used by Christy Ring and Mick Mackey are also among its treasures.
Pride of place in the museum is reserved for two hurleys. The first, having belonged to Johnny Ryan of Moycarkey Borris, who played on the winning Tipperary team in the 1937 All-Ireland final. This was the first hurley collected by Sam Melbourne. The other, attributed to J. Coyne of Ennis, c. 1870, is the oldest hurley in the collection.
Present day superstars are not forgotten; the hurleys of Henry Shefflin, Lar Corbett, Jamesie O’Connor, Eoin Larkin etc. are also on show.
The All-Stars Collection
Since 1971, the G.A.A. All-Stars Award is awarded annually to the best player in each of the fifteen playing positions in Gaelic Football and Hurling. In total over 1,000 players have been honoured with All-Stars awards. Damien Martin of Offaly was the first ever recipient of the award, while in 2004 Paul Galvin of Kerry became the 1,000th winner of the award.
Lár na Páirce displays the complete collection of All-Star posters.
• Carroll’s GAA All Stars (1971-1978)
• Bank of Ireland GAA All Stars (1979-1994)
• Powerscreen GAA All Stars (1995-1996)
• Eircell GAA All Stars (1997-2000)
• Vodafone GAA All Stars (2001-2010)
• GAA /GPA All Stars (2011-2013)
The Croke/Fennelly Cup
Centre-piece in the impressive trophy cabinet at Lár na Páirce museum is the Croke/Fennelly Cup. The cup was presented to Archbishop Thomas Croke, first Patron of the G.A.A., by three Irish-Americans in 1886.
It bears this inscription:-
The Unchanged and Unchangeable
Archbishop and Patriot
The Joy and Pride of
The sea-divided Gael
This slight tribute
From Three of them 1886
The ‘cup’ is most interesting, described as a solid silver jug, lined with the finest porcelain, swinging on two silver uprights that terminate in an artistic handle, with two silver goblets on its sides, and a silver ewer beneath. It is an unusual shape for a sporting trophy, but perhaps a little less unusual, when it is considered that it was not originally intended for that purpose.
In 1909, Archbishop Thomas Fennelly, who succeeded Archbishop Croke, donated the magnificent trophy to Archdeacon Innocent Ryan, pastor of Fethard, Co. Tipperary. He organised a hurling tournament for the trophy, now named the Croke/Fennelly Cup, with the aim of paying off a parochial debt. The tournament featured teams from eight counties and the cup could be won outright by any club who won it three years in a row. This Thurles Sarsfields achieved in the years 1909, 1910, and 1911.
The Silvermines Silver Cup 1886
This silver cup is reputed to be the oldest trophy in the G.A.A. and sometimes acknowledged as the first All-Ireland trophy. The cup was played for on February 9th 1886 by hurling teams representing North Tipperary and South Galway. The match was played in the Phoenix Park, Dublin and refereed by Michael Cusack, one of the founding members of the G.A.A.. North Tipperary were winners by 1-0 to nil.
The Tim Crowe Medal Belt
Tim Crowe, Bishopswood, Dundrum, Co. Tipperary was an athlete of exceptional quality. In an athletic career that spanned the years 1907 until 1920, Tim won over two-hundred races and amassed an impressive collection of medals. On special occasions, Tim Crowe would wear his medals, stitched on a belt around his waist. The belt contains many medals from Tim’s Tipperary, Munster and All-Ireland successes and is on display at Lár na Páirce Museum, Thurles.