Why Nenagh – Sporting Heroes


Three Nenagh Olympians (See Below)

Nenagh is blessed with sporting heroes and heroines, so for this weeks Why Nenagh post I am going to look at a few of them. We have three Olympic gold medallists, Irish Rugby Internationals, snooker champions, hurling all-stars, numerous all-Ireland and world champions in handball, plus much more.


Bob Tisdall

Bob Tisdall was born in 1907 in Sri Lanka, but he was raised in Nenagh town. He went on to become one of Ireland’s first Olympic Gold medalists when he won Gold in the 400 metro hurdles in the 1932 in Los Angeles. After his victory, Tisdall was invited to a dinner in Los Angeles where he was seated next to Amelia Earhart on one side and Douglas Fairbanks.jr  on the other.


Matt McGrath

Matt McGrath was born in Nenagh town in 1875, before he moved to America as a young man. During the 1912 Olympics he competed in the Hammer for the US team and won Gold. He had won silver at the previous Olympics in 1908 and repeated the trick in 1924.

Johnny Hayes

Johnny Hayes

Johnny Hayes was the son of an immigrant couple to the United States from Nenagh town. In 1908 he competed and won the Olympic marathon. He was the first athlete  to win the Olympic marathon at the modern marathon distance of 26 miles, 385 yards.

donnacha ryan

Donnacha Ryan

Donnacha Ryan was born and reared in Nenagh town. He originally played rugby for Nenagh Ormond RFC, and eventually represented Munster and Irish Youths before moving to St. Munchins College in Limerick, where he was a key member of the side that won the Munster Schools Rugby Senior Cup in 2002. He has gone on to play for Munster and he is ever present on the Irish Rugby team.

Trevor Hogan

Trevor Hogan

Trevor was also also born and reared in Nenagh town. He has played rugby for Nenagh Ormond RFC, Dublin University, Blackrock College and Shannon RFC. He has played for both Munster and Leinster and he was also an Irish International.

Tipperary team

Tipperary Hurling team 1910

There are numerous other sporting stars who have their roots in Nenagh town. These include three national snooker champions: Jack Ayers, Tom Gleeson & Brendan O’Donohue; hurling legends: Michael Cleary & Mick Burns; horse trainer Tom Hogan, and also a unique record of Nenagh producing 14 All-Ireland Champions who between them have won a vast number of titles. Nenagh has produced its fair share of sporting heroes and I am sure there are so many more, so if anyone out there knows of any others who I have failed to mention, please let us know at nenaghsilentfilmfestival@gmail.com.