|Irish name||Maitiú Ó hAiseadha|
|Born||Toomevara, County Tipperary|
Matt Hassett (born 1932) is a retired Irish sportsperson born in Toomevara, Tipperary. He played hurling with his local club Toomevara and was a member of the Tipperary senior inter-county team from 1960 until 1962. Hassett captained Tipperary to the All-Ireland title in 1961.
Matt Hassett was born in Toomevara, Co. Tipperary in 1932. The son of Pat and Nora Hassett (née O'Meara), he was born into an area and into a family that had a very strong hurling tradition. He was a neighbour of Stephen Hackett, winner of All-Ireland honours with Tipperary in 1925. Hassett’s father was a first cousin of the famed Patrick ‘Wedger’ Meagher, who captained the Tipperary hurling team in the All-Ireland final of 1913. His mother’s uncle, Jim O'Dywer, won an All-Ireland medal with Tipp in the inaugural hurling championship in 1887. Hassett was educated at the local national school and later attended the Patrician College in Ballyfin, County Laois. Here he became a star on the college hurling team where he was noted as an excellent goal poacher when playing at full-forward.
Hassett later studied law at university and was a long-time partner in the Nenagh firm of solicitors of James O'Brien & Co. His son Mark, now works in the same practice.
Hassett played his club hurling with the famous Toomevara club. His first competitive games were as an under-15 player; however, he enjoyed little success. Hassett became secretary of the club in 1954; however, hurling was at a low ebb in the club. He began to organise the juvenile and minor teams and in 1956 Toomevara entered a team in the senior county championship. Four years later in 1960 this reorganization bore fruit as Hassett collected his sole senior county championship title.
Hassett also won three county football championship titles in 1958, 1959 and 1961.
Unlike many of his contemporaries Hassett did not come to prominence on the county minor team. Instead his inter-county career began by chance. In 1958 Hassett traveled as a spectator to Buttevant to see Cork take on Tipperary in a challenge game and ended up playing at corner-back. He played some other tournament games with Tipp, and in 1960 he was picked at right corner-back on Tipperary’s championship fifteen.
In Hassett’s first season on the team Tipp reached the provincial final and he was given the unenviable task of marking Cork’s Christy Ring. In one of the toughest games of hurling ever-played Hassett succeeded in holding Ring to just three points; while Tipp went on to win the game by 4-13 to 4-11. It was his first Munster title. The subsequent All-Ireland final pitted Tipperary against Wexford. Tipperary displayed a certain amount of over-confidence going into the match and Wexford pounced at the beginning of each half with two goals by Mick Hassett and Oliver McGrath. The crowd invaded the pitch with a minute to go, mistaking the final whistle, and when the disorder was cleared Tipperary continued playing with twelve men. It mattered little as Wexford were the All-Ireland champions by 2-15 to 0-11.
In 1961 Hassett was appointed captain of the team as Tipp set out to make amends for the All-Ireland final defeat. The year began well with Hassett leading his team to a National Hurling League title. He later lined out in a second Munster final. Once again it was Cork who provided the opposition, however, Tipp steamrolled their greatest rivals by 3-6 to 0-7. It was Hassett’s second Munster title. Tipperary later lined out in the All-Ireland final for the second year in-a-row. Dublin were the opponents on that occasion, however, a certain amount of overconfidence had crept into the side once again. The game was nip and tuck for much of the hour and ‘the Dubs’ led by two points with thirteen minutes left. Jimmy Doyle was Tipp’s hero as he scored nine points to give Tipp a 0-16 to 1-12 victory. The victory gave Hassett a coveted All-Ireland winners’ medal.
In 1962 Hassett’s inter-county career came to an abrupt halt when he broke and severely damaged his finger in a game against Limerick. The injury confined him to the subs bench, and effectively ended his career.
- Fullam, Brendan (2002). Captains of the Ash. Wolfhound Press. pp. 81–82.
- Captains of the Ash p. 80
- Captains of the Ash p. 82
- Donegan, Des (2005). The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games. DBA Publications. p. 25.
- Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. p. 354.
- The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 73
- The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 25
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 355
|Tipperary Senior Hurling Captain
|All-Ireland Senior Hurling