All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifiers – Tipperary 3-24 Wexford 0-19

Tipperary defeated Wexford by 3-24 to 0-19 in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifiers on Saturday at Semple Stadium Thurles.

Sheedy’s rookies get Tipp back on track

By Cliona Foley for the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday July 05 2010

MISSION accomplished in Semple Stadium alright, as this went some way towards exorcising Tipperary’s Rebel demons, but just how far remains to be seen. Whether the 2009 beaten All-Ireland finalists are completely back on track is hard to gauge on this showing. They conceded a worrying amount in this lacklustre match on Saturday, which they had tucked away in their back pockets as soon as All Star Lar Corbett blasted in two goals within three minutes of the restart. Still, manager Liam Sheedy could afford a wry grin after such a comprehensive victory. He was accused of complacency against Cork and of panicking ahead of this one, due to his radical reshaping of the defence and half-forward line. Yet, this time his team selection proved to be spot on.

Such was the impact of wing-back David Young on his full championship debut that the former county U-21 captain actually pipped Corbett (who scored 2-3) for man of the match. By half-time the Toomevara star had scored 0-3, which was more from play than the entire Wexford attack had then managed. Gearoid Ryan also shot 0-4 on his first championship start while Patrick ‘Bonnar’ Maher, the other rookie in Tipp’s half-forward line, pitched in with 0-2. “Maybe there was a few eyebrows raised but we were 100pc comfortable,” Sheedy said of rearranging the deck and giving youth its fling.

“If guys are doing it in training you’ve got to give them their chance,” he added, sounding ominously like Brian Cody. So, did this comprehensive bounce-back prove that the criticism after the Cork game was completely over the top? “Look, when you lose a game by that margin (10 points) you’re going to get criticism and that’s what drives us on,” Sheedy said. “If it doesn’t happen for them (players) on the day I’ll defend them because all I can vouch for is that the work they do, since I’ve been involved, has not changed. They are a top-class group. “It’s good to get back on track but I’m under no illusions, the level of performance will have to go up again,” he stressed, noting that they lost their momentum for periods in the first-half.

The great irony was that, after Aisake O hAilpin’s aerial antics in the Cork game prompted the switching of the current All Star full-back (Padraic Maher) to the wing to be replaced with the 2007 version, Declan Fanning was then lost to Tipp within two minutes. The ball was barely thrown in when he picked up an ear injury in an off-the-ball tussle with Stephen Banville that later needed 25 stitches. The Wexford man looked extremely lucky to escape with just a yellow after initiating it by pulling across him and the Croke Park mandarins look likely to revisit the whole incident. But Paul Curran subsequently proved to be an able deputy at full-back in a defence that worked well as a unit. Yet, how do you judge yourself against inferior opposition, especially in a game which died as a contest so early on?

Corbett was wearing red boots but even without them there would have been danger written large all over him. He was picked up, from the start, by Ciaran Kenny as Keith Rossiter moved over onto Noel McGrath, but had still banged over three long-range points by half time, when Tipp lead by more than double figures (0-15 to 0-7). Within two minutes of the restart, after Shane and Noel McGrath had combined to set him up, the local hero scrambled in his first goal. Then, in less than a minute, off a Patrick Maher delivery, he ghosted along the end-line to apply the coup de grace from an impossible-looking angle. Game over. Tipp raced into a 17-point lead long before Darragh Egan’s late third goal and never looked back.

Wexford didn’t do badly for the first 30 minutes. By half time their midfielders, Colm Farrell and Harry Kehoe, had scored 0-3 from play and they finished with 0-6 between them, which raises some centre-field questions for Tipp, though Brendan Maher worked his way into it as time went on. Wexford’s half-backs also held their men to a point apiece before the break. They did well when using short puck-outs and, clearly deciding that they couldn’t match Tipp in the air, they concentrated on delivering heavily angled balls forward. But far too many of their cross-field passes dribbled out over the sideline and their core problem, of course, was that they were without suspended captain Diarmuid Lyng. His value as their centre-forward fulcrum was certainly underlined by his enforced absence.

By half time, when all six of Tipp’s forwards had registered from play, only three of Wexford’s forwards had scored; just a point each, including Peter Atkinson’s ’65’. As their manager Colm Bonnar noted, they needed to take swift advantage of the second-half breeze but instead his native county hit them for 2-2 in five minutes. They kept plugging away right to the end and the game opened up ridiculously after Corbett’s goal flurry, but as both sides piled on subs — Jim Berry did well for Wexford — not much more could be gleaned from it. Wexford certainly got not one but two ‘draws from hell’ this summer and Bonnar, at least, has helped them back to Division 1 next season. His two-year term is now up and he was non-committal afterwards about his future. “Those decisions are for another day,” he said. “I was brought in for a two-year stint and we were very unlucky with the draw, getting two teams (Galway and Tipp) who are in contention for knocking Kilkenny off their stride.”

Scorers — Tipperary: L Corbett 2-3, E Kelly 0-8 (0-3f, 0-2 ’65’), G Ryan 0-4, D Egan 1-0, N McGrath (0-1f),D Young 0-3 each, Patrick Maher 0-2, S Callanan 0-1. Wexford: R Jacob, H Kehoe, C Farrell (0-1f) J Berry 0-3 each, S Banville, P Atkinson (0-1f, 0-1 ’65’), T Mahon 0-2 each, D Stamp 0-1.

Tipperary — B Cummins 8; M Cahill 8, D Fanning (inj), C O’Brien 8; D Young 9, C O’Mahony 8, Padraic Maher 8; B Maher 7, S McGrath 6; G Ryan 8, S Callanan 5, Patrick Maher 7; N McGrath 7, L Corbett 8, E Kelly 7. Subs: P Curran 8 for Fanning (2), J O’Brien 7 for Callanan (50), S Hennessy 6 for Kelly (58), D Egan 7 for S McGrath (64), S Maher for B Maher (67), M Heffernan for Ryan (70).

Wexford — N Carton 6; P Roche 7, C Kenny 6, K Rossiter 7; R Kehoe 7, D Stamp 8, D Redmond 6; C Farrell 8, H Kehoe 8; P Atkinson 6, T Waters 5, E Quigley 6; R Jacob 7, S Banville 5, T Mahon 6. Subs: L Prendergast 6 for Quigley (h-t), J Berry 8 for Atkinson (43), M Jacob 7 for Banville (44), T Dwyer 6 for Redmond (50), B Kenny 6 for Roche (65).

Ref — J McGrath (Westmeath).

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Tipperary debutants impress

From the Irish Times newspaper

ALL-IRELAND SHC QUALIFIERS: Tipperary 3-24 Wexford 0-19 TIPPERARY BROKE no rule despite using six substitutes during Saturday’s qualifier against Wexford at Semple Stadium watched by 10,927 spectators. Full back Paul Curran played virtually the entire match after replacing Declan Fanning as a blood substitute after two minutes before Tipperary made five replacements during the second half. Tipperary County Board secretary Tim Floyd was given assurances by match referee James McGrath and the fourth official that Curran would be classed as a temporary substitute only, giving Tipp licence to use five “full” additional substitutes. At any point, Fanning was eligible to come back on for Curran but he required 25 stitches to his ear injury after a skirmish with Wexford full-forward Stephen Banville, which was captured by TV cameras.

That was just one of a number of incidents which may be looked at by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC). Wexford forward Tomás Waters was lucky to stay on the pitch after standing on Conor O’Mahony’s hand in the 44th minute. O’Mahony’s retaliation earned him a yellow card but Waters escaped a second booking, having caught David Young with a high challenge minutes earlier. Liam Sheedy was reluctant to declare his team “back on track” following this success. The beaten 2009 All-Ireland finalists were satisfied simply to get the job done against poor opposition.

Tipp led by 0-15 to 0-7 at the break and Wexford’s only consolation was they would have the breeze at their backs. But after Eoin Kelly landed a brace of points within two minutes of the restart, Lar Corbett bagged two goals in a minute. Tipperary’s new faces did well as right-half back David Young finished man-of-the-match, a display decorated by three points from play. Patrick Maher, the other debutant, bagged two points while Gearóid Ryan hit four on his first championship start. The only real worry for Tipp was the concession of 0-19 but eight points were conceded in the last 12 minutes when the game was at challenge-match pace.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; M Cahill, D Fanning, C O’Brien; D Young (0-3), C O’Mahony, Pádraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan (0-4), S Callanan (0-1), Patrick Maher (0-2); N McGrath (0-3, one free), L Corbett (2-3), E Kelly (0-8, three frees, two 65s). Subs: P Curran for Fanning (2 mins), J O’Brien for Callanan (50 mins), S Hennessy for Kelly (58), D Egan (1-0) for S McGrath (64 mins), S Maher for B Maher (68 mins), M Heffernan for Ryan (70 mins).

WEXFORD: N Carton; P Roche, K Rossiter, C Kenny; R Kehoe, D Stamp (0-1), D Redmond; C Farrell (0-3, one free), H Kehoe (0-3); P Atkinson (0-2, one free, one 65), T Waters, E Quigley; R Jacob (0-3), S Banville (0-2), T Mahon (0-2). Subs: L Prendergast for Quigley (ht), J Berry (0-3, one free) for Atkinson (42 mins), M Jacob for Banville (50 mins), T Dwyer for Redmond (50 mins), B Kenny for Roche (69 mins).

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).

Tipperary defeated Wexford by 3-24 to 0-19 in the All-Ireland Qualifiers on Saturday next in Semple Stadium Thurles.

Tipperary 3-24 Wexford 0-19

From the RTE.ie web site

Wexford’s Championship challenge petered out at Semple Stadium as hosts Tipperary comfortably took a 3-24 to 0-19 win in a one-sided All-Ireland SHC phase 1 qualifier. Tipperary were allowed to coast into a 0-15 to 0-07 half-time lead, and added second half goals from Lar Corbett (2-03) and substitute Darragh Egan (1-00) to put the result beyond any doubt. Wexford’s marking was lacklustre and they lost the midfield battle, allowing the likes of Eoin Kelly and David Young, who crowned his Championship debut with three points, to push the hosts clear.

The best performers for Wexford were Keith Rossiter, Rory Jacob and substitute Jim Berry, but it was a day to forget for the NHL Division 2 champions who never looked like providing manager Colm Bonnar with a win over his native county. Looking to bounce back from losing their Munster title, Tipp manager Liam Sheedy made four changes to the team that was overwhelmed by Cork last time out, with right half-back Young and left half-forward Patrick Maher making their Championship bows. Gearoid Ryan also made his first Championship start in the half-forwards, with Declan Fanning installed at full-back and Seamus Callanan leading a youthful half-forward line.

Suspended captain Diarmuid ‘Gizzy’ Lyng was Wexford’s most notable absentee and his presence was certainly missed. Tomas Waters took over from him as one of four changes to the Wexford side that suffered the Leinster quarter-final defeat to Galway. Paul Roche and David Redmond, who is back from Australia, returned in the visitors’ defence and Tomas Mahon also got the nod at top of the left. The sides’ first Championship meeting since Wexford’s 2007 All-Ireland quarter-final triumph began with an off-the-ball skirmish involving Tipperary full-back Declan Fanning and Wexford full-forward Stephen Banville. Blood was seen coming from Fanning’s ear after his helmet was ripped off him, with Banville also emerging from the tussle without his headgear. Referee James McGrath brandished a yellow card to both, and the Tipp defender had to be replaced by Paul Curran.

The opening ten minutes were evenly contested before Sheedy’s men added some cushion to their lead, without hitting third gear. Corbett pointed the dethroned Munster champions ahead in the first minute, quickly followed by wing back Young’s first score at this level. Good work by Eoin Quigley preceded Colm Farrell’s opener for Wexford and as Tipp hit their stride, an athletic catch and point on the turn from Noel McGrath took their tally to 0-03. The Premier County side were finding scores easier to come by and in between pointed efforts from Banville and Harry Kehoe, Corbett, Ryan and Young fired over at the other end. An arcing run from Shane McGrath ended with a rising shot which Wexford goalkeeper Noel Carton deflected out for a ’65’ which Tipp captain Kelly knocked through the posts for a 0-07 to 0-04 lead.

Wexford then failed to clear their lines, allowing Noel McGrath swoop on the ball and score on the run. Wexford showed their threat when Rory Jacob darted around Curran and lashed a one-handed shot towards goal. Net minder Brendan Cummins stood up well to force it wide though, and Peter Atkinson converted the resulting ’65’. Tipp opened up a six-point gap as Seamus Callanan, Kelly (free) and Corbett collected successive points. Wexford responded through Farrell (free) and Mahon, but they could not prevent Kelly (two frees), Patrick Maher and Young from bolstering the home side’s lead to eight at the half-time whistle. The game was effectively over as a contest just three minutes into the second half. Kelly grabbed a quick brace of points from play before, in the space of a minute, Corbett cracked home his two goals.

The pacy full-forward flicked home his first after taking a hand pass from Noel McGrath and riding two challenges, and followed up by latching onto a through ball to blast home his second with an angled drive to the roof of the net. Atkinson and the impressive Harry Kehoe reduced the arrears to 2-17 to 0-09 for a demoralised Wexford, and it was target practice thereafter as Tipp were relatively untroubled right to the finish. The Jacob brothers, Rory and substitute Michael, caused some problems for Cummins and his defenders but they could not get the goals the Model men craved. Kelly took his haul to 0-08 before being called ashore twelve minutes from the end, and Tomas Waters was fortunate to get away with a stamp on a prone Conor O’Mahony as frustration got the better of Wexford.

Wexford goalkeeper Carton reacted smartly to deny Patrick Maher as he raced through unchallenged and a terrific catch and point from Ryan, following Brendan Maher’s diagonal delivery, made it 2-20 to 0-10. Patrick Maher notched his second point and Ryan added his third as Tipp ticked towards the 30-point mark. Wexford put in a final spurt, during which Mahon, Rory Jacob, Farrell and substitute Berry landed points, as Tipp switched off slightly. Ryan registered his fourth point before the winners mustered their final goal in the 67th minute. Wexford were caught for numbers through the middle and although Noel McGrath’s kicked effort bounced back off the bar, substitute Egan finished clinically to the net after a great piece of first time control.

Scorers:

Tipperary: L Corbett 2-03, E Kelly 0-08 (0-03f, 0-02 ’65’), G Ryan 0-04, D Egan 1-00, D Young, N McGrath (0-01f) 0-03 each, P Maher 0-02, S Callanan 0-01

Wexford: H Kehoe, R Jacob, J Berry (0-01f), C Farrell (0-01f) 0-03 each, P Atkinson (0-01 ’65’, 0-01f), S Banville, T Mahon 0-02 each, D Stamp 0-01

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; M Cahill, D Fanning, C O’Brien; D Young, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, S Callanan, Patrick Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, E Kelly.

Subs used: P Curran for Fanning (2 mins, blood sub), J O’Brien for Callanan (50), S Hennessy for Kelly (58), D Egan for S McGrath (64), S Maher for B Maher (68), M Heffernan for Ryan (70).

WEXFORD: N Carton; P Roche, K Rossiter, C Kenny; R Kehoe, D Stamp, D Redmond; C Farrell, H Kehoe; P Atkinson, T Waters, E Quigley; R Jacob, S Banville, T Mahon.

Subs used: L Prendergast for Quigley (half-time), J Berry for Atkinson (42 mins), M Jacob for Banville (45), S Banville for Waters (46-49, blood sub), T Dwyer for Redmond (50), B Kenny for Roche (69).

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)

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Tipp easily advance past Wexford

From the GAA.ie web site

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Tipperary’s season is back on track after they recorded a comprehensive 3-24 to 0-17 win against Wexford at Semple Stadium in phase 1 of the GAA All-Ireland Hurling Senior Championship Qualifiers. This win was the perfect tonic for Liam Sheedy’s side after their heavy defeat to Cork in the Munster quarter-final at the end of May and, after flushing the toxins of that defeat out today, they will be optimistic with regard to the rest of their season. For Wexford, it’s a disappointing way for their year to end, having run Galway close for long periods of their Leinster clash, but when it comes down to it they can have no excuses.

Colm Bonnar’s side trailed by eight points, 0-15 to 0-7, and once Lar Corbett goaled twice for Tipp early in the second half, there was only going to be one outcome as the home side continued to increase their lead. Early on, they stayed with their opponents, keeping in touch without giving signs that an upset might be in the offing, but once Tipp began to get on top around the middle eight sector, it gave them a platform upon which to build.

They could even have led by more at the break, but for a good save by Wexford goalkeeper Noel Carton from Noel McGrath in the 17th minute, though four minutes later at the other end Tipp netminder Brendan Cummins had to do likewise from a Rory Jacob effort. Corbett was doing plenty of damage in the forward division for Tipp, whose shooting was excellent all through, and the Thurles Sarsfields’ man’s third point in the 29th minute pushed his side 0-11 to 0-5 ahead.

Another to shine in that first half was wing-back David Young, who scored three points, while Eoin Kelly was his usual assured self from placed balls, and Wexford knew going in at the interval that a big start to the second half was required. Unfortunately for them however, it was Tipp who got it, Kelly sending over two points from play before Corbett struck in the 38th and 29th minutes for the goals which killed Wexford’s challenge and ended the game as a contest. Gearoid Ryan, making his first start for Tipp, did his prospects no harm at all as he scored four fine points and sub Egan wrapped up the win with Tipp’s third goal late on.

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Team News

The Tipperary team to play Wexford in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Phase I qualifier game at Semple Stadium on Saturday shows 4 changes in personnel to the team which was defeated by Cork in the Munster SH championship on May 30th. David Young at right half back and Patrick Maher at left half forward make their championship debuts while Gearóid Ryan at right half forward makes his first championship start and Conor O’Brien returns at left corner back. Paddy Stapleton, Paul Curran (both injured), Brian O’Meara (suspended) and John O’Brien are the ones to lose out. In positional switches Declan Fanning moves to full back, Padraic Maher to left half back, Noel McGrath to right corner forward and Lar Corbett to full forward. The team is:

1. Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon-Grange)

2. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

3. Declan Fanning (Killenaule)

4. Conor O’Brien (Éire Óg Annacarty)

5. David Young (Toomevara)

6. Conor O’Mahony (Newport)

7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

8. Brendan Maher (Borris–Ileigh)

9. Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch)

10. Gearóid Ryan (Templederry Kenyons)

11. Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch)

12. Patrick Maher (Lorrha & Dorrha)

13. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)

14. Lar Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields)

15. Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone) Captain

Wexford XV: 1. Noel Carton, 2. Paul Roche, 3. Keith Rossiter, 4. Ciarán Kenny, 5. Richie Kehoe, 6. Darren Stamp, 7. David Redmond, 8. Colm Farrell, 9. Harry Kehoe, 10. Peter Atkinson, 11. Tomás Waters, 12. Eoin Quigley, 13. Rory Jacob, 14. Stephen Banville, 15. Tomás Mahon.

Admission Details

Both stands will be open on Saturday in addition to the Town End Terrace. Patrons are encouraged to enter Semple Stadium well in advance of the 3.30pm starting time to avoid a big surge close to the throw-in. This is a non ticket match with cash accepted at the stiles, and admission to the stands is €20 with special concession price of €15 for OAP’s and Students with ID. Entry to the Terrace will cost €10 with no concession. Juveniles (U16) are free to all areas.

Press Pack for Tipperary Senior Hurling Panel

2010 All-Ireland SH Championship Qualifier

Tipperary V Wexford

In Semple Stadium Thurles on Saturday July 3rd at 3:30pm

Team Announcement

The team will be announced by email and local radio at 9pm on Thursday July 1st. It will be posted on the Tipperary GAA website shortly after 9pm.

Player Profiles

A full list of player profiles can be found on the Tipperary GAA web site – click on the following link to view this information – http://tipperary.gaa.ie/seniorhurlingplayerprofiles.html

Management Profiles

Liam Sheedy (Portroe), Eamon O’Shea (Kilruane MacDonaghs) and Michael Ryan (Upperchurch-Drombane) are in their third season in charge of the Tipperary Senior Hurling team.

Liam Sheedy, who is team manager, was previously a senior hurling selector in 2003 and was Manager of the Tipperary Minor Hurling team in 2005 and 2006, winning an All-Ireland title in 2006. He also served as Manager of the Intermediate Hurling team. He played 7 senior hurling championship games for Tipperary between 1997 and 1999. He won Munster and All Ireland U-21 hurling championships in 1989, a Munster U-21 hurling championship in 1990 and a Munster minor hurling championship in 1987. He won a NHL title in 1999. He also won Munster and All-Ireland junior hurling championship medals in 1989 and 1991.

Eamon O’Shea who is team coach, played 5 senior hurling championship games for Tipperary between 1979 and 1986. He also played senior inter-county hurling with Dublin. He won Munster and All-Ireland minor hurling championships with Tipperary in 1976, Munster and All-Ireland U-21 hurling championships in 1979, a Munster U-21 hurling championship in 1978 and a NHL title in 1979. He won 4 County SH championships with Kilruane MacDonaghs and won an All-Ireland club title with them in the 1985/86 season.

Michael Ryan played 24 senior hurling championship games for Tipperary in a senior inter-county career that started in 1991 versus Limerick and ended with his retirement in 2000. He won Munster and All-Ireland SH championships in 1991. He won Munster and All Ireland U-21 hurling championships in 1989, a Munster U-21 hurling championship in 1990 and a Munster minor hurling championship in 1987. He also won two NHL titles in 1994 and 1999.

Trainer

Dr. Cian O’Neill from the Moorefield Club in Kildare and a lecturer and course director in Sports Science in University of Limerick (UL) is the team trainer. He has extensive experience training club, colleges and inter-county teams including the Limerick senior footballers.

NHL 2010

Results

Sunday February 28th in Dublin Dublin 1-21 Tipperary 1-12

Sunday March 7th in Thurles Tipperary 1-14 Kilkenny 0-13

Sunday March 14th in Thurles Tipperary 2-17 Galway 0-14

Sunday March 21st in Limerick Tipperary 2-23 Limerick 0-8

Sunday March 28th in Thurles Tipperary 1-19 Waterford 2-16

Sunday April 4th in Cork Cork 1-16 Tipperary 1-15

Sunday April 18th in Tullamore Tipperary 1-18 Offaly 2-14

Appearances

32 players lined out for Tipperary during the 7 matches

Scorers

20 players scored during the NHL led by Eoin Kelly (2-35), Timmy Hammersley (1-12), Lar Corbett (0-11), Seamus Callanan (1-8)

Tipperary V Wexford: Previous Championship Meetings

1899 Tipperary 3-12 Wexford 1-4 All Irl Final Jones’ Road

1951 Tipperary 7-7 Wexford 3-9 All Irl Final, Croke Park

1960 Wexford 2-15 Tipperary 0-11 All Irl Final , Croke Park

1962 Tipperary 3-10 Wexford 2-11 All Irl Final , Croke Park

1965 Tipperary 2-16 Wexford 0-10 All Irl Final, Croke Park

1968 Wexford 5-8 Tipperary 3-12 All Irl Final , Croke Park

1997 Tipperary 2-16 Wexford 0-15 All Irl Semi Final , Croke Park

2001 Tipperary 1-10 Wexford 3-10 D All Irl Semi Final Croke Park

2001 Tipperary 3-12 Wexford 0-10 R All Irl Semi Final , Croke Park

2007 Wexford 3-10 Tipperary 1-14 All Irl Quarter Final , Croke Park

Snippets

Two firsts

This is the first time that Tipperary and Wexford have met in the Senior Hurling Qualifiers and also the first time that either county has a home venue, for a championship match with the other. Tipp have won 6, drawn 1 and lost 3 of their ten championship meetings with Wexford.

League Rivalry

The counties have met on 39 occasions in the National Hurling League . Wexford lead the way with 20 wins to Tipperary’s 17 and 2 games drawn. Their last NHL meeting was in Semple Stadium, on March, 13th, 2005. Wexford won ,by 2-19 to 2-15, after Tipp had led , 1-8 to 0-6, at half time. Paul Carley scored 0-11 for the winners and Mark O’ Leary topped the Tipp returns, with 1-2. .

Managers

Colm Bonnar, who made his championship debut in 1986 against Clare and captained his county in 1992, is the first Tipperary man to hold the position of Wexford Bainisteoir. Opposing his native county in championship hurling is nothing new for Colm, who had previous inter county management team experience with Waterford and his native Tipperary. Liam Sheedy, now in his third year as Manager, made his championship debut for Tipperary in 1997 and played at right half back ,with Colm at centre back, on four occasions , against Down, Wexford ,Clare (1997) and Waterford (1998). Colm retired after Waterford beat Tipp in the 1998 Munster Semi Final, while Liam last played championship hurling for his county, in the 1999 Munster semi Final replay loss to Clare.

Pure gold

The very popular TG4 All Ireland Gold series had a significant viewership and when they were asked which was their all time favourite of the games shown, the 1968 All Ireland final between Wexford and Tipperary was the clear winner. Tipp led by eight points at half time ,but Wexford levelled up , went eight points clear before a late Tipp rally pulled it back to two points. That defeat continued the break up of the great Tipp team of the 1960s and it was a last championship game for John Costigan, Noel O’ Gorman, Mick Burns and Liam Devaney while 1969 brought the careers of Donie Nealon and Sean Mc Loughlin to an end.

Missing link

Between the last Sunday of October 1967 and the last Sunday of October 1968 Mick Roche ( Carrick Davins) captained his club to the Tipperary County title, his county to the National League, Provincial and Oireachtas titles and his province ,Munster, to the Railway Cup title. The one that really mattered was the All Ireland title and Mick’s disappointment at being the losing captain in 1968 was compounded ,by it being the second consecutive year –Tipp lost to Kilkenny in the 1967 decider- that he was the losing captain. The unfortunate experience has also befallen Tony Doran Wexford (1976/77) and Cork’s Jimmy Barry Murphy (1982/83).

Faithful referee

John Dowling (Offaly) refereed three All Ireland finals 1960, 1962 and 1968 between Tipperary and Wexford ,while championship rivalry was at its peak. The late John was the referee when Down won their first All Ireland Football title in 1960 and he also served, as Offaly Co. Secretary, for many years. He was GAA President from 1988 to 1991,during which time he presented the NHL (1988) All Ireland Senior and Under 21 honours (1989) to Tipperary captains.

Quartet stars

Tipperary’s Mick Burns, Jimmy Doyle, Liam Devaney, Donie Nealon and Sean Mc Loughlin played in the four All Ireland Final meetings, between the counties, during the 1960s. Wexford had Pat Nolan ,Tom Neville and Jimmy O’ Brien on the pitch, in each of those games. Jimmy Doyle and Jimmy O’ Brien were the only players to score in all four deciders.

Family days

When Wexford played Tipperary in the 1951 All Ireland Final, there were three Rackard brothers on the team, Willie, Bobby and Nicky. There were four for that year’s Leinster Final, but goalkeeper ,Jimmy, subsequently lost his place . The three brothers also lined out in the finals of 1954/55/56. Willie was still going strong in 1960 and 1962( Captain against Tipp).

Four brothers subsequently played for Wexford in the 1970 All Ireland final, when the Quigleys, also from Rathnure provided Dan, Martin, Pat and John. Unfortunately, they lost to Cork.

Tipperary had its own share of brothers over the years with, inter alia, the various families of Ryan’s, Kenny’s and Maher’s ,but it was the Bonnars who last played as a trio in All Ireland finals for the county. In 1989 and 1991 Conal, Colm and Cormac all played significant roles in Tipperary’s All Ireland victories.

Model Principal

There have been many Tipp men who promoted hurling in Wexford over the years and vice versa. Pat Quigley ( Sean Treacys) is based in the Model County for many years, where he has served as Principal at St Peter’s College-the traditional heartbeat of colleges’ GAA in the county. Pat was a free scoring wing and corner forward with Tipperary, in the 1976/77 championships , having previously hurled for Dublin. He captained his club to victory, in the 1982 West Tipp Championship ,but despite Pat’s five point contribution, they lost narrowly to Roscrea in the county semi final .

Ton up

The 1968 All Ireland final loss was disappointing for Jimmy Doyle, but he still made a little bit of history ,by scoring his 100th goal in Senior Inter County hurling. Jimmy went into the game with 99-638 to his credit from 151 games and added 1-5 to his tally, before retiring injured.

Jimmy was top scorer in the championships of 1958 ( 2-23 in 5 games), 1960 ( 6-18 in 4 games), 1961( 2-17 in 3 games) 1962 ( 4-24 in 4 games ) and 1964 ( 1-27 in 3 games).He was pipped by Wexford’s Tony Doran for the honour, in 1968 ( Doran scored 6-3 and Doyle 1-17).

Attendance figures

The popularity of this pairing in championship hurling can be gauged from the attendance figures at their championship games. The details are;

1899 4,000 estimated

1951 68,515

1960 77,154

1962 75,039

1965 67,498

1968 63,461

1997 62,241

2001 50,274 (draw)

2001 39,120 (replay)

2007 42,364 (played with Kilkenny v. Galway Quarter final)

Club double

Tipperary and Wexford clubs have met on two occasions in the All Ireland decider. Kilruane Mac Donaghs were winners over Buffer’s Alley on March 16th 1986,by 1-15 to 2-10 scoreline, while BorrisIleigh overcame Rathnure, on March 17th 1987, by 2-9 to 0-9. Both finals were played in Croke Park .Current Tipp Coach Eamonn O’ Shea played at right half forward on the Kilruane Mac Donaghs team, whose victory started the Tipp hurling revival. A week after the 1989 All Ireland Club final , the Kilruane Mac Donaghs club notes sportingly extended congratulations to Buffer’s Alley, who became Wexford’s first and only champions by beating O’ Donovan Rossa in the final and were inspired by the ageless Tony Doran.

Ten previous meetings

1899 All Ireland final ( played on 24th March 1901)

Tipperary ( Horse & Jockey selection ) were defending Champions and on the trail of a fourth All Ireland title in five years, when they faced Wexford (Blackwater) in the first championship clash, between the counties Both teams travelled to Dublin by train, with Tipp leaving from Horse & Jockey and arriving at Kingsbridge (Heuston). Wexford won the toss and played into the Clonliffe end ( Railway goal).An attendance of circa 4,000 witnessed a spirited Wexford perform well in the opening minutes. Tipp got moving after the tenth minute and they were leading comfortably, before a Wexford goal left the Premier men ahead, at half time, by 2-6 to 1-3. The opening minutes of the second half saw scores traded ,Mikey Maher scored Tipp’s first point, but by the 45th minute Tipp had the honours all wrapped up. The game came to an unexpected end, when a third Wexford player was injured and there wasn’t a sub available .This was Wexford’s third All Ireland final defeat in three appearances .

Details of the scoring in those days were often overlooked in the match reports, but the Tipp (17 a side) selection was- Tim Condon (captain), Joe O’ Keeffe, Billy (Big Bill) Gleeson, Jack Gleeson, Richard O’ Keeffe, Jim O’ Keeffe, Denis Walsh, Mikey Maher, Johnny Walsh, Jack Flanagan, John Ryan, Mike Wall, Watty Dunne, Phil Byrne, Jack Maher, William (Little Bill) Gleeson, Tommy Ryan.

A contemporary summary noted that ’’… Tipperary were far superior in speed and overhead striking, but the Wexford men were best at ground work..’’

Another report reflected on ’’.. the solid vigilant and defiant defence of Wall Condon and Walsh… and the dashing attack of Maher, O’Keeffe, and Gleeson, ever on the prowl for goals..’’

The match officials were Mr. A Mc Keogh , Chairman of the Dublin County Committee, which also provided the linesmen, in Messrs JJ Mc Cabe and P Nash. The umpires , who used white and red flags on the day, were Messrs Ryan, O’Gorman, Mc Inerney and Walsh. Wexford’s official dinner that night, in The North Star Hotel ,was attended by GAA founding father ,Michael Cusack.

A set of gold medals ,costing 25 pounds was presented to the Tipperary team, in 1902.

1951 All Ireland Hurling Final

This was an unusual pairing and Wexford hadn’t won the title, since 1910, nor appeared in the decider since 1918. Their team brought great support and with three Rackard brothers aboard, the Model County was heading for success . On this occasion, they had to give best to a Tipperary team which was claiming the county’s second ever three in a row. Wexford’s challenge was a serious one and after Nicky Rackard scored their first goal, by bundling Tony Reddin into the Tipp net, the champions had to change tactics. The early scores were mainly registered by Nicky Rackard and Paddy Kenny and by the 20th minute Wexford led by 2-4 to 1-4 -with Tipp’s goal coming from Seamus Bannon. In the remaining time Timmy Ryan and Ned Ryan scored Tipp goals and gave the Premier men a 3-6 to 2-6 ht lead. Tim Russell pointed twice for Wexford early in the second half, but goals by Sonny Maher and Timmy Ryan put Tipp back in control. Seamus Bannon and Mick Ryan scored a goal apiece and after 25 minutes, Tipp led by 7-7 to 2-8. Nicky Rackard scored his third goal of the day from a free, but it was too late and Tipp were champions by 7-7 to 3-9.

It was felt by many observers that Wexford tried for goals too often and wasted some good point scoring opportunities. Paddy Kenny was the outstanding player on the pitch and scored all of Tipp’s 7 points. Tony Reddin made some wonderful saves with Pat Stakelum and Tommy Doyle also excellent in defence.

An unusual aspect to the Tipp team was that Sean Kenny, who was unfit to play, replaced his brother Paddy, when he was injured in the closing minutes. Jimmy Finn, at 19 years of age, became Tipperary’s youngest ever All Ireland winning captain.

Tipperary earned 11 frees , Wexford 22, while Tipp shot 15 wides , and Wexford 10. Tipp were awarded 2 ‘70s’ while Wexford had 5. Gate receipts were 8,705 pounds – the largest ever for an All Ireland final in either code.

1960 All Ireland Hurling Final

Tipperary’s Munster Final win over Cork (4-13 to 4-11) led to them being installed as hot favourites to win the All Ireland title. Having beaten Kilkenny, by two points, in the Leinster final , Wexford prepared well and some astute selections saw them blunt Tipperary’s forward line. The new Patron of the GAA Most Rev. Dr. Tom Morris threw in the ball to start the game. ‘Hopper’ Mc Grath opened the scoring with a point after 20 seconds, to set the tone. A deflected goal from a Padge Kehoe free at the Railway goal, after three minutes, was the decisive score of the first half. Wexford powered on and having led by 1-5 to 0-2 after 18 minutes ,a Tipp scoring blast in about four minutes reduced the deficit to two points before four points were shared, leaving Wexford ahead at ht by 1-7 to 0-8.at half time .Another Wexford goal from Oliver ‘Hopper’ McGrath in the opening minute boosted the Leinster champions . After 10 minutes, Wexford had eased out to 2-12 to 0-9 and despite more urgency in the Tipp play they couldn’t get the goal they needed. The pitch was invaded just before the finish, when a spectator in the Hogan Stand blew a whistle, which was thought by many to be the end . With order restored ,the irrelevant final moments were played out. Wexford were champions anyway, with an unexpected ten point winning margin for the county’s fourth All Ireland title. Padge Kehoe was their scoring hero with 1-6, in what was their first championship win over Tipperary.

The performance of championship debutant John Nolan, who held Jimmy Doyle to one pointed free, was the talk of the day. Tipperary spent too much of the game trying to get the ball in their hands and it was a tactic which failed badly. Both teams struck 10 wides , Tipp won 13 frees and Wexford 10 while the Premier men earned all three ‘70s’ awarded in the game.

Tipperary’s full back Mick Maher recently refuted the suggestion that the Munster Final took too much out of Tipp that it cost them the All Ireland final . He reckoned that the five weeks between the two games was sufficient time for recovery and to prepare for the Wexford challenge. He credited Wexford with playing very well on the day and thought that they worked hard throughout the field to achieve victory. It was Tipperary’s first All Ireland final defeat since losing the 1922 decider to Kilkenny.

1962 All Ireland final

Many old timers will tell you that this was the best of the All Ireland finals between Tipperary and Wexford. Tipp were defending All Ireland Champions and favourites to win, but they worked hard to lift the cup by two points. Having won the toss the defending champions played against the slight breeze into the Canal end. The game started in a whirlwind and Tipperary had two goals on the board after only 90 seconds of play thanks to Tom Moloughney and Sean Mc Loughlin .A great recovery by Wexford culminating in a superb overhead goal by Ned Wheeler after 25 minutes levelled the scoring, but two Jimmy Doyle frees and another from Sean Mc Loughlin sent Tipp in at half time leading by 2-6 to 1-6.Doyle increased Tipp’s lead on the turnover , but a long range goal by Jimmy O’ Brien, as Maher and Wheeler tussled fiercely around the square ,lifted Wexford and Willie Rackard levelled the game from a ‘70’ ,at 2-7 each. Ned Wheeler and Liam Connolly exchanged points, before Wexford went ahead with a point from a Padge Kehoe free. Tim Flood doubled their advantage after 17 minutes. After some efforts were repelled Tipp came again.

The decisive goal was scored by Tom Ryan ( Killenaule) in the 20th minute, following a superb pass from John ‘Mackey’ Mc Kenna. Padge Kehoe levelled again from a free with nine minutes to go. The exchanges became more competitive as the minutes slipped by and Donie Nealon fired over a point after 24 minutes of play. Wexford tried everything to get an equaliser, but it was Sean Mc Loughlin who pointed, just before the end, to ensure victory for Tipperary, in an unforgettable game.

The final was noteworthy for some tremendous first time play and overhead striking, while the man to man the exchanges were hectic. The battle on the edge of the Tipp square between Ned Wheeler and Mick Maher is often recalled as the duel of the day. Tipperary captain Jimmy Doyle , who had scored four points retired injured in the second half and it was his club mate ,Tony Wall, who received the Mac Carthy Cup on behalf of the winners. Despite the intensity and fluctuating nature of the contest, there were only 16 frees awarded. during the game 7 to Tipp who hit 11 of the 19 wides and earned three of the five ‘70s’.

This was the first All Ireland Senior hurling final televised by RTE .

1965 All Ireland final

Tipperary were at the peak of their powers at this time, having beaten Cork in the Munster Final by an astonishing 18 points (4-11 to 0-5). Wexford had beaten the holders, Kilkenny, by one point, in the Leinster final, but had a young team with some survivors from the early sixties. The game was only a contest for 15 minutes and Sean Mc Loughlin’s brace of goals within thirty seconds ,John Mackey Mc Kenna’s point scoring excellence, allied to the deadly Jimmy Doyle , ensured that Tipp, who led by 2-5 to 0-6 at half time, were always in control. Wexford tried hard after the break, but Tipp continued to fire over the points and John Doyle’s record equalling eight All Ireland Medal was claimed long before Mick Hayes ( former Clare goalkeeper) blew the full time whistle. This game also saw Tipperary winning its 21st All Ireland senior hurling title and Jimmy Doyle , who had retired injured in the 1962 final when captain , received the Liam Mac Carthy Cup from GAA President ,Alf Murray.

The game marked the end of former heroes, Ned Wheeler and Oliver ‘Hopper’ Mc Grath, who both went in as substitutes for the Slaneysiders Larry Kiely the Tipp centre forward added a Senior All Ireland medal to his Junior equivalent, which he won with Kildare in 1962.

1968 All Ireland final

Tipperary had beaten Clare ( 5-11 to 5-6) and Cork (2-13 to 1-7 ) to win the Munster title and having beaten Wexford by 12 points in the 1965 All Ireland Final they started as favourites. Wexford had victories over Dublin (3-15 to 1-11) and Kilkenny ( 3-13 to 4-9). Tipperary dominated the first half inspired by their captain Mick Roche at centre back . Jimmy Doyle’s goal and point scoring helped Tipp to establish a 1-11 to 1-3 lead , but for the concession of a green flag to Tony Doran before the break and some great goalkeeping by Pat Nolan, the game would have been decided after thirty minutes. The decisive switches saw John Quigley introduced before half time, with Paul Lynch going to centre forward and Tony Doran to full forward.

Padge Kehoe’s half time pep talk had the desired effect and Paul Lynch’s goal from a ‘21’ free levelled the scoring after fourteen minutes, at 3-6 to 1-12. Jimmy Doyle, having hobbled around at full forward ,eventually left the pitch with an injured ankle and his scoring power was missed. Jack Berry and Tony Doran goals put Wexford in the driving seat and they were eight points ahead, before late goals by ‘Babs’ Keating and Sean Mc Loughlin brought Tipp back into contention. Time ran out and Wexford had won an amazing Final (5-8 to 3-12) ,which was again refereed by Tullamore’s John Dowling. Tipperary had reason to regret the unavailability of the durable John Flanagan, due to suspension.

1997 All Ireland Semi Final

This was the first time that the counties met ,while Wexford were defending All Ireland champions. Tipperary came back into the championship via the new system, which gave Provincial final losers in Munster and Leinster a second chance. After Clare had beaten them by a goal, Tipp restructured their team adding more power to their defence .They beat Down in the first ever back door quarter final, at Clones, on July 26th and came face to face with the Leinster and All Ireland Champions, at Croke Park ,on August 18th. Tipp were inspired by John Leahy, who scored a vital goal after five minutes and his club mate Brian O’ Meara who scored another six minutes before half time after Damian Fitzhenry had saved a rasper from Leahy. Tipp led at the break by 2-7 to 0-7. Wexford were unfortunate to lose their captain, Rod Guiney, to injury after four minutes and Rory Mc Carthy was also withdrawn injured, at half time. Wexford made inroads in the second half and reduced Tipp’s lead to four points on three occasions, but couldn’t get any closer .Tipp’s fearless half back line of Liam Sheedy, Colm and Conal Bonnar kept them in control and the inner line of Paul Shelly, Noel Sheehy and current selector, Mick Ryan, ensured that goal scoring opportunities were rare. Not even Billy Byrne’s arrival, with nine minutes to play ,could salvage this one for Wexford.

Among the strange goings on, in a game refereed by Cork’s Joe O’ Leary, were the booking of Tipperary’s team Doctor and a refusal to let the Wexford Doctor on to the pitch, to treat Rory Mc Carthy after his first half collision. Tipp’s main marksmen were John Leahy( who retired with facial bruising after 51 minutes, following a superb display at wing forward) 1-4 , Thomas Dunne( who was splendid at midfield ) 0-4 and Brian O’ Meara (highly influential at left corner forward) 1-1 .Paul Codd landed 0-8 for Wexford .

2001 All Ireland Semi Final ( Draw)

Wexford had sustained a thirteen point defeat, in the Leinster final, against Kilkenny, but a quarter final win over Limerick suggested they would challenge Tipperary who had beaten the Shannonsiders, by just a point more, in the Munster final. The opening quarter ran to form, with the teams level on four points each. Two more points were exchanged but Tipp took over in the concluding twelve minutes, adding 1-4 ( John Carroll scored the goal after 31 minutes) without reply, to lead by 1-9 to 0-5 at the break.

Lar Corbett increased Tipp’s lead to eight after half time and the Premier county still led by that margin when Larry O’ Gorman smashed in a goal at the Railway end after 48 minutes. The goal followed the introduction of Martin Storey, who had come out of retirement, as a substitute.

Mark O’ Leary steadied Tipp before Rory Mc Carthy scored another goal for Wexford , to reduce the margin to one green flag. An exchange of points, 4-2 , stretched the Tipp lead to five points ( 1-16 to 2-8 ) .Larry O’ Gorman struck again with his second goal after 66 minutes and now the tension was palpable. Adrian Fenlon pointed and as the game went into injury time, Michael Jordan levelled. Wexford had a late chance to win but the shot went wide . Nevertheless, they had salvaged a well deserved draw, when Pat O’ Connor blew for full time. Tipp’s top marksmen were Eoin Kelly 0-5 ,3 frees, Mark O’ Leary 0-4 and John Carroll 1-1.Wexford’s main hit men were Larry O’ Gorman 2-0 Ml Jordan and Paul Codd 0-4,3 frees and 1 ‘65’ each. Tipperary were lucky to survive, but after hitting 14 wides , there was room for reflection.

2001 All Ireland Semi final ( Replay)

The replay took place six days later and the Saturday evening was wet and miserable. In front of a 39,000 crowd, Tipp started well and led by 1-4 to 0-1 after 20 minutes, but by half time the game was finely balanced ,with only a point between them, 1-6 to 0-8. The main talking point from the opening half was the dismissal of Brian O’ Meara and Liam Dunne, on the advice of a linesman. Wexford also had Ml Jordan dismissed just before the break and their post interval effort was underwhelming, in many respects.

As it was, Wexford only scored two points in the second half, per Codd and Barry Goff, while Eoin Kelly (0-9, 6 frees) and Eugene O’ Neill (2-1) turned Tipp’s dominance into scores. John Carroll kicked Tipp’s first goal and Mark O’ Leary ,( who was obliged to miss his brother’s wedding and whose planned after match air trip was abandoned due to weather conditions, leading to a late night car journey to County Kerry) scored 0-2.

Paul Codd topped the Wexford returns with 0-7, 5 frees. Pat Horan from Offaly was the referee on this occasion. The Wexford Manager Tony Dempsey in response to the three dismissals opined ‘’..It wasn’t a dirty game. There has always been a friendship between our two counties’’.

2007 All Ireland Quarter Final

In the third year of the four All Ireland Quarter finals, Tipp’s reward for beating Cork in the qualifiers and winning their group was a date with Wexford at Croke Park, in another Saturday game. The Tipperary selection saw Brendan Cummins and Eoin Kelly on the substitutes bench, but despite that and a long season (three games and two periods of extra time against Limerick followed by qualifier games against Offaly, Dublin and Cork) Tipp were still optimistic of reaching the All Ireland semi final.

Inspired by Lar Corbett’s 19th minute goal ,Tipp led at half time by 1-8 to 1-5. Wexford had missed three good opportunities in that half, with Tipp custodian Gerry Kennedy saving twice from Eoin Quigley and once from Barry Lambert, when goals looked certain. Eoin Kelly came in as a sub after 26 minutes and he had a goal bound shot saved by Damian Fitzhenry, early in the second half. The game was tight enough thereafter.

Tipp hit a great spell between the 56th and 66th minutes and with points from Shane Mc Grath, Hugh Maloney, Darragh Hickey and Eoin Kelly, from a long free, they moved clear at 1-14 to 2-9.

With one minute of normal time to play, Wexford were awarded a free to the right of the Tipp goal, at the Davin stand. After a defender crossed the line of the ball, it was moved to a more central position, by the referee, James Mc Grath ( Westmeath) . There followed a predictable trip from goal of Wexford’s captain Damian Fitzhenry, who smashed the sliotar to the net, to give Wexford a one point lead.

Tipp tried to respond, but their best efforts came to nothing and it was Eoin Quigley who pointed again for Wexford, in the 4th minute of injury time.

Wexford’s top scorer was Barry Lambert 1-2, while Lar Corbett 1-1 and Darragh Hickey 0-4 led the way for Tipp . Wexford’s Keith Rossiter was considered to be the Man of the Match ,

This was Tipperary’s third consecutive quarter final loss- following Galway in 2005 and Waterford in 2006. This defeat marked the end of ‘Babs’ Keating’s two year term as Tipp Manager, during which time they failed to win League ,Provincial or All Ireland honours.

Ger Ryan

PRO, Tipperary County Board

Email: pro.tipperary@gaa.ie

Christy Ring Cup Senior Hurling Final – Westmeath 2-16 Kerry 1-18

Croker heartbreak for Kingdom

Westmeath 2-16 Kerry 1-18

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 05, 2010

ANOTHER Christy Ring title for Westmeath, their third since winning in the inaugural season of 2005, cementing their position as the best of the teams-in-waiting beneath the top tier. Heartbreak though for gallant Kerry, beaten by a superb injury-time point from young Westmeath substitute Andrew Dermody but denied seconds earlier what appeared a clear, potentially game-winning, free for a Westmeath foul handpass well within scoring range for free-taker Darragh O’Connell – then denied again seconds later of any opportunity to equalise as referee Tony Carroll from Offaly blew for full-time immediately on the subsequent puckout. “The throw-ball is for ye to call,” said a bitterly disappointed Kerry manager John Meyler, “but he also played only 36min 8secs, that’s with three substitutions by us and three more by them in the second half – surely that was a couple of minutes on its own? There should have been at least three minutes.”

Had it been another couple of minutes of injury-time, had it even gone to the extra-time that had looked on the cards as two talented, totally committed, well-coached teams which were locked together for the final ten minutes of what had been a gripping contest, no-one would have complained – this was outstanding entertainment, hurling as it should be played. Though playing into a stiffish breeze it was Kerry looking the better side in the opening half, 0-4 to 0-1 ahead after 11 minutes. They were still two points in front at the break, 0-12 to 1-7, despite shipping that goal a few minutes before the break after razor-sharp corner-forward Dan Carthy latched onto the break from a long Pat Burke puckout, gave Bernard Rochford no chance from close range.

Six scorers the Kingdom had from play in that half, midfielder John Griffin joining John Egan, Michael Boyle, James Flaherty and Shane Nolan on the sheet, with the sixth forward, Gary ‘Boxer’ O’Brien doing really well as a set-up man. A sign of the balance in both sides, however, Westmeath had an even greater spread of scorers, all six forwards contributing, midfielder Joe Clarke also with a point. Very little between them then as the sides changed ends, and thus it continued for the first ten minutes after the resumption. Westmeath did manage a second goal in the 39th minute, Paul Greville this time, in the other corner, but needing (and more significantly, getting) three opportunities before he finally converted, again from close range. Kerry, however, had four points in that same period, three from the blade of youngster O’Connell, the fourth from the other wing-forward, hard-working John Egan, just about keeping their noses in front (0-16 to 2-9). Then came a Westmeath purple patch, five points on the trot taking them into the lead for the first time, the Kerry challenge looking shot, four points adrift.

To their credit, however, they came back, substitute Shane Brick (still not fully recovered from a lingering hamstring injury) goaling from the rebound after his own fiercely hit 20m free was saved, then Michael Boyle – swapped to full-forward with Gary O’Brien – with the equaliser in the 63rd minute. Five fiercely contested but fallow minutes followed, before midfielder Mike Conway put Kerry ahead with a fine point in the 68th minute – back in the driving-seat, then? Credit to Westmeath, however; backs to the wall, they responded like champions, and it was veteran centre-forward Brendan Murtagh with the equaliser from a 38m free, then the precocious Dermody with the cool winner.

“Heart-stopping stuff,” said Westmeath manager Kevin Martin, former All-Ireland winner with Offaly – “If I didn’t have a heart-attack today I’ll never have one. Brilliant stuff, right to the end. Kerry were much the better team in the first half but we hadn’t hurled – I knew there was more in them. We went four points up in the second half, I thought we were cruising, I thought we’d drive on and win by more, but in fairness to Kerry they dug deep, came back into it, and there was only a puck of a ball in it at the end.” One puck. “We had chances near the end,” said Meyler, “A few bad wides, but we were really working hard. It was just that little spurt they had where they got 1-4 or whatever (the five points between the 45th and 56th minutes); we clawed it back to go level, then went ahead, and I thought we’d drive on from there. A few calls then, the goal disallowed (66th minute, Gary O’Brien), I thought that was the turning-point, if we’d got that we would have driven on.” They didn’t on Saturday, but with standards improving across the board in hurling (evidenced in the high quality of hurling on offer in the earlier Lory Meagher and Nicky Rackard finals) both sides should certainly drive on from this.

Scorers for Westmeath: D Carthy 1-2; P Greville 1-2; B Murtagh 0-4 (1f); S Bardon 0-3; J Clarke 0-2; E Loughlin, B Lahorte, A Dermody, 0-1 each.

Kerry: D O’Connell 0-8 (6f); J Egan 0-3; S Brick 1-0; M Boyle 0-2; J Griffin 0-2; J Flaherty, S Nolan, M Conway, 0-1 each.

Subs for Westmeath: P Dowdall for Lahorte, 34; C Jordan for McCormack, 35; A Dowdall for Loughlin, 52; A Dermody for Bardon, 66.

Kerry: S Brick for Flaherty, 48; C Harty for Nolan, J McCarthy for Fitzgerald, both 60.

Referee: T Carroll (Offaly)

Substitute Andrew Dermody wrapped up an exciting Christy Ring triumph in Westmeath’s favour with a point in added time as Kerry’s hopes were dashed in Croke Park on Saturday afternoon. Dan Carthy scored a goal in the 32nd minute for Westmeath but Kerry’s sharper shooting gave them a 0-12 to 1-7 advantage at the break. Paul Greville grabbed a second goal for the Lake County in the second half but Kerry levelled up proceedings when sub Shane Brick fired to the net. The game looked set for extra-time until Dermody, who only came on with five minutes to go, sealed the title for Westmeath with a cracking effort from wide out on the left.

Team News

Kerry Senior Hurling team for Christy Ring Cup Final The Kerry Senior Hurling team for The Christy Ring Cup Final on Saturday 3rd July 2010 is as follows:

1 Bernard Rochford Killeagh, Cork

2 Colin Harris, Captain Kilmoyley,3 Tom Murnane Kilmoyley 4 John Fitzgerald Causeway

5 James Godley Kilmoyley 6 Liam Boyle Ballyduff 7 Aidan Healy Abbeydorney

8 Mike Conway Lixnaw 9 John Griffin Lixnaw 10 John Egan Ardfert 11 Michael Boyle Ballyduff 12 Darragh O’Connell Abbeydorney

13 James Flaherty Lixnaw 14 Gary O’Brien Ballyduff 15 Shane Nolan Crotta O’Neills The substitutes are : 16 John Brendan O’Halloran Kilmoyley ,17 James McCarthy Kilmoyley ,18 Colm Harty Causeway

19 Shane Brick Kilmoyley ,20 Sean Maunsell Kilmoyley ,21 Eoin Sheehy Kilmoyley 22 Ronan Kenny Ballyheigue

23 John Mike Dooley Causeway 24 Padraigh Monson Causeway 25 Niall Young Kilmoyley 26 David Fitzelle Kilmoyley

27 Jason Casey Ballyheigue 28 Sean Young Kilmoyley 29 Brian O’Leary Abbeydorney 30 Richard Nolan Crotta O’Neills

31 Darren Twomey Crotta O’Neills 32 Adrian Royle Kilmoyley 33 Nicky Leen Ballyduff 34 Andy McCarthy Kilmoyley

35 Patrick O Keefe Glenfesk

There are two personnel changes to the team that played Wicklow in the semi final. Aidan Healy comes in to the backs as Andrew Keane cannot play due to suspension. James Flaherty replaces John Mike Dooley in the full forward line.

Manager John Meyler

Selectors John Hennessey Hennessy

Sean O Shea O’Shea

Coach/Trainer Joe O Connor

WESTMEATH (SH v Kerry) — P Burke; A Price, J Shaw, O Price; R Whelan, A Mitchell, D McCormack,;J Clarke; L Smyth; S Bardon, B Murtagh, E Loughlin; P Greville, B Leharte, D Carthy.