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Tuesday 21 August 2018

So you think last year was a record defeat for Kilkenny? Think on . . .

WE'RE all accustomed to seeing Brian Cody's Kilkenny run up cricket scores on All-Ireland final day ... but on those rare occasions when they actually lose in September, their defeats can be pretty hefty too.

They lost the 2004 All-Ireland to Cork by eight points (0-17 to 0-9) and last year's decider against Tipperary by an identical margin (4-17 to 1-18). But if you reckon that was a record All-Ireland defeat for the Black-and-Amber against their Premier foe, think again.

Instead, you should travel all the way back to 1895, when Kilkenny (represented by Tullaroan) lost to Tipp standard-bearers Tubberadora by ... wait for it ... 6-8 to 1-0.

After hours of painstaking research at the National Library, we've ascertained that (a) the 1895 final was played in '96 and (b) Tommy Walsh (above) wasn't manning the right wing for Tullaroan that fateful day.

We also discovered (or rather, the assiduous compilers of the excellent Tipperary press pack have enlightened us thus!) that The Freeman's Journal was aghast at the standard of play.

"There is not much to be said about the hurling match and for an All Ireland championship, the display was a very poor one," our unidentified scribe complained. "This may be accounted for by the very weak team Tullaroan placed on the field and by how very unsuitable ground Jones' Road is for hurling. The Tubberadora men proved themselves masters of the situation early in the match, a lengthy description of which is impossible, with such a score as Tipperary 6 goals 8 points Kilkenny 1 goal."

Over a century on, it's safe to assume that Croke Park should be in better nick this Sunday.

The Journal was so annoyed that we don't even get an account of who scored, but the Tipperary GAA Yearbook of 1971 attempted to throw some light on the matter, revealing: "It is said that JP O' Riordan from Drombane registered all Tipperary's scores in the 1895 All-Ireland final, when Tipperary beat Kilkenny 6-8 to 1-0, the largest margin between these famed rivals in a final."

Lar Corbett, eat your heart out!

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