Con Birrane from Toher Road
- A Champion Hurler


Con Birrane from Toher Road in the village of Doon first carne to prominence
as a hurler when playing on the Limerick minor hurling team that won the
All-Ireland Minor championship in Croke Park in 1940 beating Antrim in the
final. He scored two goals and three points in the game and was also joined
on the team by Willie Deere from Convent View, Doon. Con remembers all
the team travelling by train to Dublin from Limerick station on the Saturday.
Limerick did no collective training for the game. Willie Deere was already in
Dublin staying with his sister. In 1946 Willie Deere emigrated to England and
Con has never met him since. He remembers him as a small individual but
Con recalls that he was a great bit of stuff. Willie Deere is now a resident of a
nursing horne in Northampton England while Con is now a resident of
Caherass Nursing Horne Croom. In the senior match that day Limerick also
won with team captained by Mick Mackey from Ahane. Con also remembers
that Torn Cregan of Croom played wing back in the Minor game and his
brother Peter Cregan played in the senior game in the same position and he
held Kilkenny's star player Jimmy Langton scoreless.

Con was born on Toher Road on the 7th February 1922. His father Paddy
Birrane from Carrigbeg worked for many years at Toher Creamery and his
mother Elizabeth Ryan was from Galbally. His uncle Johnny Birrane was
from Carrigbeg the original horne place of the Birrane family. His sister Mena
was for years the local librarian in Doon and his brother Joe was employed
in Limerick as a bus conductor. Mena and Joe lived in the horne place at
Toher Road. Con had one other brother Paddy and three more sisters - Mary
married to Bob Nash in Oola, Theresa married to Tommy O'Donovan in Ayle
(and later Tipperary) and Sarah married to Bill Pope, Southport, England.
Con was married to Nancy Quinn from Kilmallock, who also worked as a
nurse in St. Joseph's Hospital, Limerick. They lived in Ballybricken in a house
across the road from the horne of Dolores O'Riordan of Cranberries fame.
Nancy died about five years ago. They had no family. Con learned his hurling
at Doon C.B.S. and played in the Harty Cup in 1937. The team were taken on
the back of a lorry to play the first round against Limerick C.B.S. in
Charleville. Con scored the winning point that day but they were beaten in
the next round by Mount Sion.

After finishing school Con started working in St. Joseph's Psychiatric Hospital
a a nurse and remained there until his retirement. In 1941 he was on the
Doon team that won the county junior hurling championship beating Treaty

Sarsfields in a replay in Caherconlish. This team was powered by Red Bill
Lonergan from Kilmoylan, Mickie Butler his neighbour from Toher Road and
Mick Hueston from Oola at full back. Tommy Fitzgibbon from Oola was in
goal. The officials in charge of this team were Denny Crowe, Cooga, George
Lonergan Kilmoylan, Sean Cunningham Main Street, Doon and Fr. P.J. Lee
C.C. After 1941 Con played nearly all his hurling with St. Joseph's Hospital in
the city division at junior level, winning four city championships. His brother
Joe also played for St. Joseph's for a period of time. Their other best players
were Christy Daly and Ahane native Paddy

Con won three senior county championships with Ahane in 1946, 1947 and
1948. At this time players were allowed play senior level with the nearest
senior team. Normally Con played wing forward with Mick Mackey centre
forward, John Mackey full forward and Jackie Power and Timmy Ryan
midfield. In those years he was also joined on the Ahane senior team by John
Mulcahy, Jimmy Coffey and Paddy Creamer from Cappamore and Eddie
Stokes from Pallasgrean. Con rarely trained with Ahane preferring to train
on his own. He always cycled to matches at that time but he remembers being
picked up by car to play matches with Ahane in places like Adare and Croom.
Con never drank or smoked and was always very fit.


Con's hurling record is asfollows:
1939 County Minor Hurling sub

1940 Munster and All-Ireland Minor Hurling
1941 County Junior Hurling with Doon

1941 Munster Junior Hurling Championship with Limerick
1946 County Senior Hurling with Ahane v Rathkeale

1947 County Senior Hurling with Ahane v St. Patricks

1948 County Senior Hurling with Ahane v Croom

1948 Played in Munster Senior Hurling Championship with Limerick v
Tipperary and Cork

1949 City Junior Hurling with St. Joseph's Hospital
1953 City Junior Hurling with St. Joseph's Hospital
1954 City Junior Hurling with St. Joseph's Hospital
1960 City Junior Hurling with St. Joseph's Hospital

Donal Anderson



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