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Tesco to build on field where first hurling final was played

by Liam Horan was published in the Irish Times on Monday the 18th of October 2004

A piece of Ireland's sporting heritage is set to be lost forever with plans by Tesco to open a supermarket on the field where the first All-Ireland hurling final was played in Birr in Co Offaly 116 years ago.

Tesco has purchased the famous field at Railway Road in Birr and is seeking planning permission for a new outlet.

Birr Town Council chairman, Mr Tony McLoughlin, said he hopes the site's fascinating history is recounted in the new Tesco.

Mr McLoughlin said he will ask town planners to ensure that Tesco be asked to do something to remember the 1888 final in its new development.

The first All-Ireland final was played on the field on Sunday, April 1st, 1888.

It was actually the final of the 1887 championship, but the decider was delayed until 1888.

Tipperary, represented by Thurles Sarsfields, won by 1-1 to Meelick of Galway's 0-0.

Tipperary's captain was Jim Stapleton.

In another local link with the 1888 clash, Stapleton's medal was purchased at an auction some years ago by Birr jeweller, Mr Paul Barber.

The local GAA club and Croke Park have all added their voices to the call for Tesco to erect a meaningful tribute to the 1888 final.

Tesco was unavailable for comment.

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