By: PRO Joe Bracken
ALL-IRELAND SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
While we will experience many momentous and joyful days in the course of our lives, when the attention shifts, as it quite often will to the sporting front, especially if you are from Tipperary, is there any greater joy than seeing the captain of your county team lift aloft the most magnificent jewel in the GAA treasury, on All-Ireland hurling final day. What a magical day for Tipperary, its team and supporters as the Premier County claimed victory over Kilkenny on a 3-25 to 0-20 score-line.
Though the anticipated earthquake didn’t fully materialise in Croke Park on Sunday last, a first quarter tremor was enough to jolt the Premier County from its mild tranquillity. What followed was an avalanche of scores, particularly in the second half, as Liam Sheedy’s side scaled to the top of the hurling summit to receive the coveted jewel, the Liam MacCarthy Cup, for the 28th time in the county’s history before an attendance of 82,300.
Congratulations to the team and management on this fantastic result and achievement. When Séamus Callanan ascended the steps of the Hogan Stand to receive the cup, he did so carrying not only the hopes and dreams of his team and management, but also those of every Tipperary supporter willing our county to victory. Tipperary, therefore, ends the decade as they started and with the 2016 success included, it makes it the most successful decade since the glory days of the sixties.
When the Tipp machine roared into action on Sunday and once the Killenaule maestro, John O’Dwyer, had the ‘Cat’s net shaking midway through the second half, the chequered flag was unfurled as we waited for the team to arrive in the winner’s enclosure. Powered on by a relentless set of backs whose collective application was exemplary, Tipperary was in the driver’s seat, dictating and bossing affairs as they so wished. As the confidence grew so did the work rate with the entire defence unit putting in the performance of their playing careers.
While Kilkenny did their best to apply the brake on the Callanan goal machine, the Drom and Inch sniper was not to be held and his 1-2 in the second half brought his 2019 championship tally to 8-18 in eight appearances. He has now set the target for others across the GAA spectrum to follow in the years ahead.
Tipp’s first goal, a thing of craft and beauty from Niall O’ Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs) was the genesis of his sides grip on proceedings. It unleashed the trigger, to which, once fired there was no turning back and on the day, with or without all opposition gears intact, there was only going to be one winner and that winner had a blue and gold hue all over it.
Once again the bench proved instrumental and delivered huge positives for the management team.
Sunday’s result was the third time a Tipperary keeper kept a clean sheet against Kilkenny in an All-Ireland final. First up was in 1937 when Tommy Butler (Thurles Sarsfields) minded the house in a 3-11 to 0-3 victory. We roll the years on to Ken Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha), father of our current custodian Brian, who held guard in 1991 when Tipperary won 1-16 to 0-15. Brian as we know followed suit on Sunday, what a great achievement for the Hogan family.
With a performance and result that will happily warm Tipperary hearts for the months ahead, until inter-county action gets going again, Tipp had numerous contenders for the official man of the match award. And the award went to Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) who was central to almost every Tipp move and got on an enormous amount of ball in the second half. Congratulations to Noel as he received his award from John Horan, Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, pictured below, in the post-match banquet in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road.
And so, to the management team led by Liam Sheedy alongside Tommy Dunne and Darragh Egan, his right-hand men. Watched attentively and guided by the unique and inspirational lifeforce that is Eamon O’Shea, they never flinched from the target set when they took over. Though some outside may have doubted success of a second term as Bainisteoir, the Portroe native was solidly determined in the direction his team were going and the proof of that determination is sitting on the Callanan household table this week. That is and was Liam Sheedy’s main belief, it was always about the team, and he was going to be the vehicle and chauffeur to deliver them to their destination. He built a backroom team to match and pinned his colours to the mast. The rest will be written in history and spoke about for years to come. Congratulations to all on a truly remarkable weekend for Tipperary.
Before the team headed for home, they made the customary visits to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and Temple Street Children’s Hospital, with captain Seamus Callan in the lead car.
To all Tipperary supporters, you were equally fantastic, and your support was outstanding, and the team and management really appreciate your contribution to the cause.
In Semple Stadium, the Ragg field, home of Drom and Inch GAA, and Fennor Hill, you turned out in your thousands on Monday night to welcome home the team to rapturous cheering and applause and what a memorable night it was. Celebrations will go on long into the week and righty so as all have earned it. Tipp, Tipp, Tipp, Tipp.
POST MATCH BANQUET
Massive thanks and congratulations to the Tipperary Dublin Association for hosting a most wonderful post-match banquet in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road on Sunday night, it was the perfect end to a perfect day. It was a superb occasion and one thoroughly enjoyed by the huge numbers in attendance.
BGE U20 ALL-IRELAND HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
With momentum behind Tipperary in force now, a huge crowd will be anticipated in the LIT Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening next, August 24th as Tipperary and Cork lock horns once again in the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U20 Hurling Final where throw-in is at 6.00pm and extra time will be played in the event of a draw.
Tipperary will be fully aware of the huge and potent threat Cork will bring as they will travel with huge intent to derail the Tipperary locomotive which caused their wagons to derail in this year’s Munster final and last year’s U21 All-Ireland final. Knowing that underlying threat is there Liam Cahill and his management team will have their side ready to face and deflect whatever missiles Cork can try and impose on them this Saturday.
We send best wishes to the team and management and look forward to a tremendous support behind the team to hopefully see them succeed.
Tickets are available from selected SuperValu and Centre stores and http://gaa.tickets.ie Adult: €20.00 and juvenile: €5.00. Students/Seniors: €15.00 (available from county board offices and from the venue on match day). This is an unreserved seating, stand specific fixture.
This week the Tipperary Water senior, intermediate and junior football club fixtures roll back into action with a number of round 2 fixtures down for decision.
For results of all games and forthcoming fixtures please check https://tipperary.gaa.ie/fixtures-results/
Commiserations to the Tipperary senior and intermediate camogie teams who lost out in their respective Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Camogie Championship semi-finals last weekend, with the senior team losing to Kilkenny 2-21 to 3-12 and the intermediate team going down to Galway by 2-9 to 2-5.
LADIES GAELIC FOOTBALL
Congratulations to the Tipperary ladies football team as they qualified for the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football Championship final in Croke Park on September 15th following their defeat of Sligo by 3-15 to 3-5 in the semi-final last Saturday. Tipp’s goals came courtesy of two from Caoimhe Condon and the other from Angela McGuigan. Best wishes to the ladies in the final and with preparations leading up to it.
KELLOGG’S CÚL CAMPS
Best wishes to all clubs running Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps this week in the following venues – Fethard, Nenagh Éire Óg and St. Mary’s/Clonmel Commercials.
The Tipperary Cúl Camp ambassadors for this season are Jason Forde and Michael Breen.
LEGENDS HURLING MATCH
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland are hosting a unique fundraising initiative, which was launched by two leading Munster dementia advocates, Kevin Quaid and Kathy Ryan, who both have a dementia diagnosis, at Semple Stadium in June, will be held on Saturday, September 7th at Nenagh Éire Óg grounds (5.00pm Throw-In).
The Tipperary legends who have signed up to support the initiative are Michael Ryan, Michael Cleary, Brendan Cummins, Colm Bonnar, Declan O’Meara, Kevin Tucker, Eddie Tucker and Brian Gaynor. And, on the Limerick side, the legends that have signed up are Joe Quaid, Ciaran Carey, T J Ryan, Mike Nash, Gary Kirby, John Quaid and Gerry Quaid. More legends will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition to this, prominent GAA journalist Damian Lawlor has been confirmed to do MC, match commentary and a Q&A with legends afterward and the Liam MacCarthy Cup will also be present on the day and at the evening reception after the match in the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh.
Tickets for the event can be purchased via Eventbrite at €15.00 for adults and kids going free with all the money raised going towards providing community services and advocacy supports in the Munster area and beyond. Tickets can be purchased today via this link: tinyurl.com/y2kmefyv