Saturday 19 January 2019

Third draw in three years as Tipp and Cats serve up epic

John O'Dwyer, Tipperary, celebrates scoring a last minute free, which was subsequently ruled to be wide by Hawkeye
John O'Dwyer, Tipperary, celebrates scoring a last minute free, which was subsequently ruled to be wide by Hawkeye

OF course it was a draw. And of course it was a classic.

Having not had an All-Ireland hurling final finish level since Cú Chulainn was a minor, the GAA now run them annually.

Death, taxes and two teams refusing to score more than the other in the All-Ireland hurling final.

And now, it seems, these teams - and Cork and Clare before them - tend to save up all their best hurling for that date in September when they draw the All-Ireland hurling final.

"Yeah, it's amazing," said Brian Cody afterwards. "I suppose that three years in a row you've had a draw in the All-Ireland finals.

"It's amazing to think it ended like that. They had dominance and we had dominance and toed and fro-ed and everything else. It was a great game I would imagine to be able to sit back and watch and relax."

Which, of course, he didn't.

And neither did Eamonn O'Shea.


"Of course you feel drained," said the Tipp boss.

"You try to win the game right to the end. I just felt the occasion, in terms of the game… I don't know what it looked like when you're dispassionate but when you're on the line, it was one of those games like 2009 where you felt that it was good to be there."

There was that moment at the very end though. The one where 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer stood over a free almost 100 metres from the Kilkenny goal knowing a successful and accurate deliverance of the sliotar over Eoin Murphy's cross bar would win the All-Ireland for Tipperary.

"I felt he had a chance. Bubbles always has a chance. I thought it was over - obviously HawkEye says no.

He got a great strike on it.

"It was unlucky. at the end, they deserved… I thought their display was huge."

For very obvious reasons, Cody didn't think Brian Hogan had done anything to warrant conceding the free in the first place.

If anything, he said, the Kilkenny man should have got the decision.

"I kind of thought he'd score it because he's good at it, to be honest," Cody admitted.

"I didn't realise it was the last puck of the game either. I reckoned we'd get one back if he did. He's good at them. It was very close, obviously."

He wasn't of a mind to complain about either penalty though.

"Very hard to say because where I was I didn't have a top class view and I could have been looking somewhere else to see who was covering where. I genuinely don't know."

To be fait to O'Shea, he's been banging on about the character of this Tipperary team since he assumed office but he declined to shove it down anyone's throat yesterday.

"In fairness I've being saying a bit about the players for as good while now I just thought they did really well today they worked really hard and they believed in what they were doing," he reckoned.


"We could have won it and we might have lost it and we were playing against a fantastic team and I think their display was also fantastic in terms of the radar on both sets of players was just one of those days when it was almost unmissable from both sets of players so I'd be focusing on the positives from the game rather than the fact we missed that missed the other."

"All their experiences in life are good and certainly having been down there last year and battling through there is very little between Tipp and Kilkenny what you saw today was a real battling game between two teams that really wanted to win it and they had to search deep today."

Of his team's inability to successfully convert a batch of freshly-baked goal chances in the second half, O'Shea insisted: "At one stage they are not going in and you wonder is it going to happen but in another sensed you think how are they going to get themselves out of this you know because they are the players after all and they have to work it through and that belief showed today that they really wanted to see it through."

Cody's lines were similarly philosophical.

"We clawed our way back into this game more so in the first half. We clawed our way ahead at the start of the second half. The thing doesn't change.

"You still have to go ahead and play the game again and work your way through it. The battle is on. You go ahead. Could it go either way? Yes it could.

Kilkenny have been down this particular road before, back in 2012 when they obviously used the three weeks between drawing with Galway and beaten them quite productively.

For all that, Cody wasn't exactly certain that that experience would be of any help to him.

"Ah, I don't know does it help," he began.

"I'm sure they're more than capable of preparing properly for the replay. It's their way of doing it and our way of doing it and there's no magic in it, you know.


"We played a semi-final today and you have to play a final in three weeks time in some ways.

"That's where we're at except you're going back to play the same team again."

"You go ahead and deal with whatever situation you find yourself in.

"It's no different," Cody added.

"Two teams did it last year. Two teams did it the year before and teams teams will do it again."

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