Tom Clifford (rugby union)

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Tom Clifford
Birth nameJeremiah Thomas Clifford
Date of birth(1923-11-15)15 November 1923
Place of birthPhippsboro, County Tipperary, Ireland
Date of death1 October 1990(1990-10-01) (aged 66)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Prop
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
? Young Munster ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1949–1952
1950
Ireland
British and Irish Lions
14
5
(3)
(0)

Tom Clifford (15 November 1923 – 1 October 1990) was an Irish rugby union player who played in the prop position. Clifford played club rugby with Young Munster, represented the Munster provincial team, was capped 14 times for Ireland, and was a member of the Lions team that toured in 1950.

Early life[edit]

Tom Clifford was born in Phippsoboro, County Tipperary. When Clifford was three years old, his family moved to Limerick. He attended CBS Sexton Street secondary school, where he participated in the school hurling team.[1]

Club and provincial rugby career[edit]

Clifford made his senior début for Young Munster in a friendly match against Constitution aged 15 at fullback. He made his Munster Senior Cup début in 1943 as a wing-forward.[2]

During his time at the club, Young Munster won the Munster Senior League on two occasions, 1944 and 1952 and twice reached the final of the Munster Senior Cup in 1947 and 1948, but lost both times.

Clifford retired from playing rugby in 1957.[3] Young Munster's home ground, Tom Clifford Park, is named after him.[4]

International career[edit]

Clifford made his début for Ireland against France at Lansdowne Road on 29 January 1949 in Ireland's first game of the 1949 Five Nations Championship. He played in all four of Ireland's matches in the 1949 tournament which ended with Ireland being crowned the champions and winning the Triple Crown. He also in all of Ireland's games during the 1950 Five Nations Championship.[5]

Clifford was named in the squad for the 1950 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia, the first post-war tour by a British Isles combined team and the first where the team was officially called British Lions. The touring party travelled by boat, departing in April and not returning until October. Out of the 29 games in total played during the tour, Clifford featured in 20 of them, including in all five test matches; three against New Zealand and two against Australia.[6] On his return to Limerick, a crowd of around 8000 people turned out at Limerick railway station to greet him.[7]

The 1951 Five Nations Championship was again won by Ireland, with Clifford playing in the games against France and England. Clifford's only appearance at home outside of the Five Nations Championship came in December 1951, as South Africa played Ireland as part of their European tour. His final international appearances came during the 1952 Five Nations Championship, with his last game being against Wales on 8 March.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Clifford married his wife, Virginia in August 1957.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tom Clifford – our rugby superstar". Limerick Leader. 30 September 1989.
  2. ^ Liddy, Cormac (1 October 1990). "Death of Tom Clifford Limerick Rugby Legend". Limerick Leader.
  3. ^ "A Limerickman was on Ireland's last Triple Crown team". Limerick Chronicle. 6 March 1965. p. 3.
  4. ^ Keating, Frank (5 February 2000). "Cry havoc and let slip Keith Wood". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b "Player: Tom Clifford (Ireland)". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Player Archive: Tom Clifford". British & Irish Lions.
  7. ^ "Tom Clifford Home". Limerick Leader. 14 October 1950. p. 5.
  8. ^ Fitzmaurice, William; Hannan, Kevin (1991). In the Shadow of the Spire: A Profile of St. John's Parish. p. 152.