PAT STAKELUM, who died yesterday, was not only one of the greats of Tipperary hurling but rated among the most accomplished defenders of all time and had won every single honour the game had to offer.
He was an uncle of Richard Stakelum, who captained the county in their 1987 Munster final replay victory over Cork in Killarney, and Bobby Ryan, who lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 1989.
Distinguishing himself as a centre-back par excellence with the Premier county, he was on their last three-in-a-row winning team of 1949-’50-’51. And he had the honour of captaining the team which defeated Laois in the final of 1949, just two years after making his senior debut.
These successes were gained during a period of intense competition with Cork in Munster, opening with two drawn games in the first round of the 1949 Munster championship, the second of which went to extra time. The following year they clashed in the final in Fitzgerald Stadium, an occasion noteworthy for a late pitch invasion which resulted in an assault on the referee.
Tipperary County Board chairman John Costigan paid tribute to him as one of a great ambassador for Tipperary and acknowledged his reputation as “one of the greatest players ever to wear the number six jersey”.
He praised Stakelum’s work with young players in Thurles after he had helped to establish the Durlas Óg juvenile club.
A native of Holycross, he won three county championship medals in 1948, 1952 and 1954. He won six National League medals and was on six winning Railway Cup teams with Munster, plus a host of other honours, including Thomond Feis.
Honoured as a ‘Hall of Fame’ winner by both the Mid-Tipperary Board and the Munster Council, last winter he was a recipient of a Laochra Sean Gael award in the county. He served as County Board secretary from 1961 to 1963, during which time the county won two All-Irelands, against Dublin and Wexford. He also served as a senior hurling selector in the early 80s.
Costigan paid special tribute to Stakelum for his work with the youth of Thurles, saying that for a few years prior to the formation of the club, “hurling in the town appeared to be in crisis of sorts”.
He added: “while a dyed-in-the-wool Holycross man, he threw his lot in with Durlas Óg and his only concern was the welfare of hurling and football in the town where the GAA was founded.’’
“He was a proud man in 1989 and 1991 when Bobby and Aidan Ryan won All-Ireland medals and when Richard was captain in 1987, when the ‘famine’ ended. And Conor Stakelum’s contribution to the 1991 victory over Kilkenny gave him a lot of satisfaction too.’’
GAA President Nickey Brennan also praised him for his work with Durlas Óg, noting that he was club president up to the time of his death. His “foresight” in helping to establish it the late 70s had been “instrumental in helping Tipperary regain its place at the top of the hurling tree,” he said.
TYRONE (NFL v Derry): J Curran, M Swift, J McMahon, R McMenamin, D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan, C Holmes, S Cavanagh, R Mellon, R Mulgrew, E McGinley, N Gormley, C McCullagh, T McGuigan.
LAOIS (NFL v Donegal): C Gorman; P O’Leary, M Timmons, C Healy; D Murphy, D Rooney, P McMahon; B Quigley, J O’Loughlin; B McCormack, P Lawlor, B Sheehan; M Tierney, C Kelly, R Munnelly
LAOIS (MFC v Longford): B McCauley; S Mulpeter, B Seale, S Manley; J Nerney, K Lillis, J Bolton; , C Scully, C Farrell; R O’Connor, S George, J Finn; AN Other, C Delaney, J Doyle
OFFALY (MFC v Wicklow): S Nally; A Murphy, J Moloney, D Kelly; A Cushin, B Geraghty, P Rigney; M Young, R Allen; K Lawlor, B Connor, NA Graham; B Allen, A Kelly.
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