Theo English

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Theo English
Personal information
Irish name Tiobóid Inglis
Sport Hurling
Position Midfield
Born July 1930
Marlfield, County Tipperary, Ireland
Nickname T. O.
Years Club
Club titles
Tipperary titles 0
Years County Apps (scores)
1953–1967 Tipperary 36 (4–12)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 7
All-Irelands 5
*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 20:19, 21 April 2015.

Theobald "Theo" English (born July 1930) is an Irish retired hurler who played as a midfielder for the Tipperary senior team.

Born in Marlfield, County Tipperary, English first arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of nineteen when he first linked up with the Tipperary junior teams as a dual player. He made his senior hurling debut during the 1953–54 league after already being included on the senior football team. English went on to play a key role for over a decade and won five All-Ireland medals, seven Munster medals and eight National Hurling League medals. He was an All-Ireland runner-up on two occasions.

As a member of the Munster inter-provincial team at various times throughout his career, English won four Railway Cup medals. At club level he won several championship medals in various grades with Marlfield.

Throughout his career English made 36 championship appearances. He announced his retirement from inter-county hurling following the conclusion of the 1967 championship.

In retirement from playing English became involved in team management and coaching. He was a long-serving selector on several All-Ireland-winning teams.

English is widely regarded as one of Tipperary's greatest ever players. He has been repeatedly voted onto teams made up of the sport's greats, including at midfield on the Tipperary Hurling Team of the Century.

Playing career[edit]


English played his club hurling with his local club Marlfield GAA. He enjoyed some success by never won a senior county title.


English first played for Tipperary as a member of the junior hurling team in 1950. He was added to the junior football team the following year as Tipperary claimed the provincial title following a fourteen year absence. The 3–6 to 1–4 defeat of Kerry gave English a Munster medal.

Two years later English was a key member of the junior hurling team once again. A narrow 4–7 to 4–6 provincial final defeat of Cork, after an earlier draw, gave him a Munster medal in that code. On 11 October 1953 Tipperary hosted Warwickshire at Thurles Sportsfield in the All-Ireland decider. A 4–10 to 3–3 victory gave English an All-Ireland Junior Hurling Championship medal.[1]



English made his senior debut for Tipperary during the 1953–54 National League. It was a successful campaign for Tipperary, with English winning a first league medal following a 3–10 to 1–4 defeat of Kilkenny.

Tipperary retained their league title in 1955, with English collecting a second winners' medal following a 3–5 to 1–5 defeat of Wexford.

In spite of a lack of championship success, English won a third league medal in four seasons in 1957 following a 3–11 to 2–7 defeat of Kilkenny once again.

First All-Ireland[edit]

In 1958 English won a first Munster medal as Tipperary regained the provincial crown following a 4–12 to 1–5 trouncing of reigning champions Waterford.[2] Tipperary later defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final before lining out against Galway in the All-Ireland decider on 7 September 1958. Galway got a bye into the final without picking up a hurley. Liam Devaney, Donie Nealon and Larry Keane all scored goals for Tipperary in the first-half, while Tony Wall sent a seventy-yard free untouched to the Galway net. Tipperary won the game by 4–9 to 2–5 giving English his first All-Ireland medal.[3]

English won a fourth league medal in 1959 following a 0–15 to 0–7 defeat of Waterford, however, Tipperary subsequently surrendered their provincial and All-Ireland crowns.

Tipperary asserted their dominance in 1960 by retaining the league title with a 2–15 to 3–8 defeat of Cork. It was English's fifth winners' medal in that competition. He later won a second Munster medal following a narrow 4–13 to 4–11 defeat of Cork in what has been described as the toughest game of hurling ever played. This victory allowed Tipperary to advance directly to an All-Ireland final meeting with Wexford on 4 September 1960. A certain amount of over-confidence was obvious in the Tipperary camp, particularly in trainer Phil Purcell's comment that no player was capable of marking Jimmy Doyle. The game ended in remarkable circumstances as the crowd invaded the pitch with a minute to go, mistaking the referee's whistle for the end of the game. When the crowd were finally moved off the pitch Tipperary continued playing with only twelve men, but Wexford won on a score line of 2–15 to 0–11. It was English's first All-Ireland defeat.

Total dominance[edit]

1961 saw English collect a sixth league medal following a 6–6 to 4–9 defeat of Waterford. He later added a third Munster medal to his collection, as old rivals Cork were downed by 3–6 to 0–7. The absence of the All-Ireland semi-final allowed Tipperary to advance directly to the final itself, with Dublin's first native hurling team providing the opposition on 3 September 1961. The game was a close run thing, however, Tipp held on to win by 0–16 to 1–12.[4] It was English's second All-Ireland medal.

In 1962 Tipperary were still the kingpins of Munster. A 5–14 to 2–3 trouncing of Waterford in the decider gave English a fourth Munster medal.[5] Tipperary's nemesis of two years earlier, Wexford, waited in Croke Park to test them once again in the subsequent All-Ireland final on 2 September 1962. Wexford, however, were not the force of old and the side got off to possibly the worst start ever by a team in a championship decider. After just ninety seconds the Leinster champions were down by two goals, however, the game turned out to be much closer than people expected. Tipp eventually secured the win on a score line of 3–10 to 2–11, giving English a third All-Ireland medal.

After losing the following year's Munster final to Waterford in one of the hurling shocks of the decade, Tipperary bounced back in 1964 with English collecting a seventh league medal. Tipperary later cantered casually past Cork by fourteen points in the provincial decider, giving English a fifth Munster medal. The All-Ireland final on 6 September 1964 saw Kilkenny enter the game as firm favourites against Tipperary. John "Mackey" McKenna scored Tipp's first goal after ten minutes as the Munster champions took a 1–8 to 0–6 interval lead. The second half saw Tipperary score goals for fun, with Donie Nealon getting a hat-trick and Seán McLoughlin another. Kilkenny were humiliated at the full-time whistle as Tipperary triumphed by 5–13 to 2–8.[6] It was English's fourth All-Ireland medal.

In 1965 English won an eighth and final league medal as New York were narrowly defeated on an aggregate score of 6–19 to 5–20. Tipperary demolished all opposition in the provincial championship once again and a 4–11 to 0–5 trouncing of Cork gave English a sixth Munster medal. Wexford were Tipp's opponents in the subsequent All-Ireland final on 5 September 1965, however, the game failed to live up to the two classic games between the two sides in 1960 and 1962. Victory went to Tipperary on that occasion by 2–16 to 0–10, courtesy of a brace of goals by Seán McLoughlin. The win gave English a fifth All-Ireland medal.


After surrendering their provincial crown in 1966, Tipperary bounced back the following year, with English winning a seventh Munster medal following a 4–12 to 2–6 defeat of Clare. On 3 September 1967 Kilkenny faced Tipperary in the All-Ireland decider. Tipperary looked like continuing their hoodoo over their near rivals as they took a 2–6 to 1–3 lead at half-time. Goalkeeper Ollie Walsh was the hero for Kilkenny as he made a series of spectacular saves, however, the team lost Eddie Keher and Tom Walsh to injury in the second half. In spite of this, Kilkenny laid to rest a bogey that Tipperary had over the team since 1922, and a 3–8 to 2–7 victory resulted in defeat for Tipperary.[7] The defeat brought the curtain down on English's inter-county career.


English also lined out for Munster in the inter-provincial hurling competition. He won Railway Cup medals in 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1963.

Post-playing career[edit]

In retirement from playing English continued his involvement on the inter-county scene as a selector. He was a key member of the backroom team when Tipperary won both Munster and All-Ireland titles in 1971. In the 1980s English served as a selector under Babs Keating. Together with former player Donie Nealon they guided Tipp to three successive Munster titles and an All-Ireland title in 1989.

In 2000 English was chosen, by popular opinion, to partner Mick Roche at midfield on the Tipperary Hurling Team of the Century.


  1. ^ "Third Annual County Tipperary Sean Ghael Awards". Tipperary Star. 27 October 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Munster's big day in a special year". Hogan Stand website. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Galway aim to avoid not so magnificent 7". Irish Independent. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Diarmuid, O'Flynn (20 May 2011). "What might have been.." Irish Examiner. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Munster hurling final day still a huge attraction". Hogan Stand website. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship". Munster GAA website. 5 September 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Stapleton, Shane (3 September 2010). "Famous Five: Tipperary-Kilkenny All Ireland finals". Eircom Sports website. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 

Template:Tipperary Junior Hurling Team 1953