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Wednesday 24 July 2019

Medal collection of four-in-a-row footballer goes to auction

The 1918 Wexford All-Ireland winning team including Toddy Pierse
The 1918 Wexford All-Ireland winning team including Toddy Pierse
The Toddy Pierse medal collection includes All Ireland and Leinster medals he won playing with Wexford and Dublin, plus a rare medal inscribed ‘De Valera Football Tournament 1919 – won by Wexford’

Simon Bourke

The medal collection of one of Wexford's most famous footballers is to go to auction on June 18. Thomas Edward 'Toddy' Pierse (21 July 1898 - 11 October 1968) made his inter-county debut in 1918 and was a member of that year's All-Ireland winning team which, incidentally, was the last of the county's famous 'four-in-a-row' and indeed the last time Wexford won a Championship in football.

However, Toddy's father did not share his enthusiasm for sport and, fearful that news of his exploits on the field would reach home, Toddy played under the assumed name 'Pierse Todd' in the final.

Upon moving to the capital to study medicine at U.C.D. (where one of his classmates was Irish Republican Kevin Barry) Toddy switched allegiances, winning two more All-Irelands in 1921 and 1922 in the blue of Dublin. He then returned to his home town, finishing his career in the purple and gold of Wexford.

In addition to his three All-Irelands, he also won three Leinster titles (1918, 1921, 1922) and two Sigerson Cups (1920, 1922), Of most interest however, is his involvement, or lack thereof, in a game between Dublin and Tipperary on November 21, 1920. Named in the Dublin team to play that day, Toddy opted to rule himself out due to exam commitments, thus avoiding the chaos and destruction of a day now known as 'Bloody Sunday'.

Toddy's medal collection consists of three All-Ireland medals, two Leinster medals and a special medal awarded to the members of Wexford's team for winning the 'De Valera Football Tournament' in 1919 which was held to raise funds for the Irish Republican Prisoners' Dependents Fund. The entire collection is expected to fetch between €7000 and €9000.

In addition to Toddy's medals, a number of other items will go to auction on Tuesday June 18 at The Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Dublin. A matchday programme from the 1954 All-Ireland hurling final, in which Cork beat Wexford by a score of 1-9 to 1-6, will also be available to the highest bidder, with the asking price expected to reach €150.

And a extremely rare medal from a 1905 Challenge Match between Wexford and Cork which bears an unusual cross shaped medal on one side, and a Provincial Arms on the other is predicted to go for €400 on the day.

Wexford People

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