August 20, 2019
What started as a nail biting dogfight of a final turned into a masterclass in hurling as Tipperary cut loose in the second half to crush 14-man Kilkenny and win their third All-Ireland title of the decade.
As a proud Tipperary man, this hasn't happen too often in my lifetime, but when it does, it banishes the dull days of defeat into the closet and we celebrate the moment.
We at, John M Shanahan & Co, Chartered Accountants, Tullamore, Co Offaly have taken a moment to reflect.
The first quarter of Sunday's All-Ireland final was everything Tipperary didn’t want it to be, and everything we feared could happen in a day of mixed weather and mixed emotions. In those early stages I felt the game was firmly being played on Kilkenny’s terms, and bold boy Brian was the happier manager on the side line.
I know from past experience if you are to beat Kilkenny on any given day there must be 100% committment from all players, as Paul O'Connell (Munster and Ireland) used to say, you empty the tank, leave it all on the field.
Dare I say there must be a little bit of lady luck sitting on your shoulder, the ball must hitting the right bounce, the wind a little kinder and the opponents not exactly firing on all cylinders to make for such a fine performance.
On Sunday as I watched from the Stand I could not understand why Brian Cody insisted on route one projectiles raining down upon the Tipp defence and the longer he persisted the more frustrating it must have become.
While no one likes to see a sending off, I do remember many the occasion against Kilkenny in the past when there was as much action taking place off the ball as there was on the ball.
Today at least Referees are standing up and being counted upon to make the hard decisions; and yes, Owens was correct to take his time in arriving at his decision after all this was an All-Ireland final and there was so much at stake.
The timing of the dismissal was important to both managers Cody could take stock, Sheedy had just played a semi-final with a man down and I believe was more prepared.
The decision was easy for Tipp management at half time, given that they could set up with a sweeper, and they chose the ideal player in Cathal Barrett.
I suppose you could say the Kilkenny team now know what its like to be on the receiving end of what they dished out to a vibrant Limerick in their semi-final, and would not have expected that same lesson to come so soon.
I have no doubt it can be very humbling for young players, in my day it was called character building, you took it like a man, bounced back and went again.
I must say I have enjoyed this win as much as I have any other win in recent times and my wish would be that the counties less fortunate, take up the mantle and make it their day in the coming years; afterall it must not be left to a select few to be the best, other counties must challenge and get there as Limerick have done for their county, their people and their tradition.
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