Premier fans enjoy warm glow of victory as Croker basks in sunshine
Tipperary fans poured out of Croke Park in to bright sunshine on Jones's Road yesterday, basking in the warmth of a brilliant summer's day and the glow of winning an All Ireland hurling semi-final against neighbouring Waterford.
Sporting shorts, hats and sunglasses, fans from both counties were dressed as much for the beach as for a game in the GAA heartland. Even Waterford supporters had a healthy glow on their faces by the time the game was finished, despite the result.
Students Grace Johnson, Jennifer Keating and Aoife Kelly travelled from Clonmel for the game and said they were "delighted" with their day out. The girls added that their seats in Croke Park enabled them to work on their tans while watching their county send Waterford out of the Championship.
Another happy Tipperary native was Nenagh man John Hogan, who said yesterday's match would sharpen Tipperary up for their clash with Kilkenny in the final.
"We never fear Kilkenny. We had no doubt about beating Waterford. They are an old team; they should have won an All Ireland about six or seven years ago, but unfortunately they didn't," he added.
Pensioners Sheena and Davy Corcoran had made a holiday out of their trip to Dublin for the match, but Sheena, who lives in Passage East, Co Waterford, said her husband wasn't in a relaxed mood after the defeat.
"We never miss a match and we're disgusted with them today. My husband won't talk now, he's that disgusted", Sheena said as Davy continued to walk on without her down Jones's Road. "We came up and stayed in Dublin last night, we had no holidays. . . so we'll stay tonight as well."
Another couple making the most of their weekend despite the result was Eoin Houlihan and girlfriend Anna Fennell. Eoin described the outcome of the game as "sickening" and said he had expected a lot more from the Waterford team. "We had a flat performance and Tipp were on form."
Anna believed that Waterford didn't play with the cohesion of Tipperary, but said she was looking forward to having a good night out in Dublin.
Other Waterford supporters, however, couldn't wait to get to their cars and start the journey south. Among them was Michael Dee from Killmacthomas, who said that Waterford weren't good enough.
"We don't have any forwards anymore; our backs are after improving. . . but our forward line is poor," he said.
Michael added that he was relieved that his county would not now be facing Kilkenny in the final and reasoned that Tipperary had a fair chance of winning.
"Tipp will give them a lash. They're a coming team, they have an All-Ireland in them, if not this year, then next."
In the pubs around Croke Park, conversation following the match turned to the dark cloud on Tipperary's horizon -- the prospect of being the only team standing in Kilkenny's way as they bid to make it five titles in a row.
Tipp fans would have done well to ignore two street-sweeping trucks that moved through the area in the hours following the game. Among the litter sucked up by the vehicles were discarded Tipperary flags and tickets. Ominously, the street sweepers bore the registration plates 09-KK and 10-KK.