Player of the Past – Aidan Butler

aidanUnlike the other players mentioned above Aidan’s contribution to Tipperary Hurling hasn’t been to as grand a scale. On the county scene Aidan was a late bloomer.He didn’t make the county minor grade in ’92 but put that right when he hurled U21 for the County two years running in ’94 and ’95. It was the latter where Aidan enjoyed his success. He had played all year at centre-back, a position he had become accustomed to while playeing there for his club for many years. However Aidan suffered a period where he was out off form leading into the All-Ireland.Come All-ireland final day Micheal Doyle the Tipperary manager switched Aidan to midfield.Tipp played Kilkenny that day and won with Aidan having an excellent game contributing a large amount to a Tipperary victory that day.

Aidan’s senior debut came with the county in 1996 against Kerry in the Munster semi-final down in Tralee when he came on as a substitute. Tipp won that day for a place in the Munster final but were beaten by Limerick. Aidan didn’t appear that day. The following year Len Gaynor was the manager and started Aidan center field beside John Leahy against Limerick in Thurles. Aidan hurled well that day and Tipp won for a place in the Munster final against Clare. On Munster final day Aidan was marking Ollie Baker at mid field and in many peoples view broke even with Baker however Tipp were beaten that day by a superior Clare team by 3 points.

Tipp went through the back door system that year and played Down in Clones. Aidan came on in the second half and gave a very good account of himself and Tipp went on to an easy victory. Aidan didn’t appear for the rest of that campaign and Tipp eventually fell to Clare again in the All-Ireland final. In 1998 Tipp’s first round game was against Waterford in Cork. Aidan started at center back that year on the highly rated Ken McGrath but although Tipp were beaten that day Aidan gave a very solid performance.

In 1999 Nicky English took over the senior team. Aidan played in a challenge game against Limerick in Portroe where he broke his hand that evening and was out for at least 3 months. Aidan didn’t feature anymore for Tipp that year. Aidan came back in 2001 to the Tipp panel for the Munster final against Limerick where Tipp won. He came on in the second half against Wexford in the replay of the All-Ireland semi-final giving a good display. Tipp reached the All-Ireland final winning it, alas Aidan didn’t feature that day but can boast a much coveted All-Ireland hurling medal.

I think’s its fair to say that Aidan’s club career has been more steady than his county career. Aidan started his club career in 1993 at wing forward, the following year he moved to center back where he has stayed to present day. The highlight for him so far has been the clubs county final win over Mullinahone in ’97. In the final that day Aidan was marking Brian O’ Meara currently hurling with Tipp. Aidan gave a top class performance that day. Aidan has been arguably the best club hurler in Tipperary over the last number of years and is highly regarded by his peers.Keep it going Aidan! – Nollaig Heffernan