The Tipperary Southern & District League (TSDL) was founded in July 1977 following the breakup of the old County Tipperary League. Over the past 34 years this adult amateur league, that caters for male players over 16 years extends from Thurles in Mid. Tipperary across the borders west into Co. Limerick and south into Co. Waterford, has developed into one of the top amateur league’s in Ireland.
Having commenced with two junior divisions in 1977/78 it now has five junior and two youth divisions with 55 teams affiliated. The oldest soccer club in the TS & DL and in the county is Cahir Park founded in 1910.
Although the TSDL is one of the smaller rural leagues in the Rep of Ireland it has a remarkable record both on and off the field.
At Inter-League level the TSDL won the Oscar Traynor Cup in 2002/2003 after contesting no less than three Oscar Traynor Cup Finals in 1997/98, 1998/99 and 1999/2000 only to end runners-up in each one. Tipperary won it’s only other Oscar Traynor Trophy in 1972 when there was just one League in the county. The TSDL reached their first Youth Inter-League Final in 2001/02 only to loose it by the odd goal in five to the Sligo/Leitrim League.
Success at Junior level saw Clonmel Town winning the FAI Junior Cup in 1993/94 and the Munster Junior Cup in 1967/68, 1985/86 and 2005/06. St. Michael’s of Tipperary town won the Munster Junior Cup on six occasions in 1972/73, 1989/90, 1990/91, 2000/01, 2004/05, 2010/11. St. Michael’s who also won the FAI Junior Cup in 1973/74 were runners-up in this competition 1999/2000, 2001/02, 2009/10 and 2010/11.
The 2000/01, 2004/05 and 2005/06 Munster Junior Cup Finals were an all TSDL affairs between St. Michael’s and Clonmel Town with St. Michael’s coming out on top on two of the three occasion. Clonmel Town were runners-up in the Munster Junior Cup on no less than six occasions in 1993/94, 1996/97, 2000/01 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2009/10. Peake Villa were runners-up in 2002/03 Munster final.
On the domestic scene the League Championship has been dominated by Clonmel Town and St. Michael’s up until 2000/01. That was when Peake Villa of Thurles ended this domination with a clean sweep of all domestic trophies. Clonmel Town and St. Michael’s regained the upper hand again only for Peake Villa to regain the title in 2009/10, but again it was shortlived with Clonmel Town regaining top spot as they broke their own record in 2010/11 by winning their 16th Premier League championships.
Clubs from the TSDL were to the fore at Under 18 level in the 1990’s and again at the start of the 21st. Century with the domination of St. Michael’s AFC of Tipperary town winning the FAI Youth Cup in 1993/94 and 1994/95 after being runners-up in this competition in 1991/92. St. Michael’s won the Munster Youth Cup in 1990/91, 1991/92 and 1993/94 with Old Bridge AFC of Clonmel winning the Munster Youth Cup in 1992/93. Peake Villa of Thurles won their first Munster Youth Cup 2000/01 and retained it in 2001/02 and were runners-up in the FAI Youth Cup in 1999/2000 and 2001/02.. Clonmel Celtic at the first attempt won the Munster Youth Cup in 2003/04 and Cashel Town were runners-up in 2005/06. Clonmel Town were crowned Munster Youth Cup champions in 2009/10.
A large number of players have also been capped by Republic of Ireland at Junior level these are: Cyril Conran (The First FAI International Junior winner in 1993 and first TSDL player to captain his country), Stephen O’Neill, Aaron Moroney and Kevin Waters, Tony Scully and Richard Ryan (all Clonmel Town), Ken Ryan (Peake Villa), Michael Grace (Bansha Celtic), Kevin O’Sullivan, Paul Tobin, David Ryan James Walsh, Paul Breen, Christopher Higgins (all St. Michael’s).
James Walsh FAI International Junior Player in 2004 is the current Irish Amateur and Junior Captain and along with Ireland’s Paul Breen competed in the prestigious UEFA Regions Cup Finals on four occasions. James Walsh is the most capped amateur player in the Rep of Ireland with a total of 68 apperances.
Chris Higgins became the latest TSDL player to represent his country in the UEFA Regions Cup Finals in Portugal in June 2011 and along with captain Jams Walsh, Paul Breen the Irish team reached the final for the first time in their history only to be beaten by hosts Portugal 2-1 in Braga.
The TS & DL has hosted many major FAI and MFA Cup Finals and on September 30th 2006 hosted the first Amateur International to be held in the county at Cooke Park, Tipperary town when the Irish led by James Walsh beat the English 1-0 in a friendly that was followed in 2007 with the visit of the USA to the same venue. Cooke Park was also used as a base by the Irish senior team.
Key personnel involved with the league are: Hon. Secretary Tom Lewis, who was the first FAI Junior Council Chairman and Senior Council Executive from the League. He is currently Munster FA and FAI Junior Council Delegate and is a former Munster FA Chairman; Hon. Treasurer Richard Power is the current TSDL Delegate to the FAI. Both are founder members and have been instrumential in playing a major role in helping the league enjoy the high profile it has today.
FAI CEO John Delaney from Tipperary town is a former player with St. Michael’s where he is now Hon. President. He also had a spell with the now defunct Dundrum Utd.
Whilst this section will be updated in due course one can see further events by going through the website especially News that is being updated on a regular basis.