Tipperary on top as clash of the ash draws young and old from home and abroad
Published 23/05/2016 | 02:30
Tipperary farmers may not have cut their hay yet but the Premier County hurlers emphatically sent their Cork rivals packing.
Tipperary fans were left celebrating as Thurles defied occasionally torrential May showers of rain and hail to be transformed into a kaleidoscope of blue, gold, red and white as the GAA marked the first major hurling clash of the championship season.
Hordes of both the Rebel and Premier faithful duly flocked to Thurles from Castletownbere to Clonoulty and from Killeagh to Killenaule. In fact, some even crossed the Atlantic for their first chance to sample the clash of the ash.
"It's my first-ever hurling game here," said William Barry, from Birmingham, Alabama.
The young American is currently in Ireland on holidays and was taken to Semple Stadium as a special treat by his uncle, Pat Barry from Cappawhite.
Cork hurling fan Micheál Creed from Fermoy brought his son Cathal (10) to the match, along with their American friend, Guillermo Garcia from Florida.
"I've watched hurling before on the TV but it's great to actually attend a game," Guillermo said.
Tipperary fans Lucy Ryan (14), from Soloheadbeg, Hannah Kinnane (14), from Cordangan, Michael Lowry (12), from Bansha and Megan Carey (14), from Tipperary town, agreed that there was nothing quite as sweet as beating Cork.
"It's always a good day if you've beaten Cork or Kilkenny," Michael said.
Fellow Tipperary fans Claire Ryan, Noelle Griffin and Denyse Ryan, all from Annacarty, insisted that it was only the first step on the journey to Croke Park.
"Tipp will go all the way this year, I think they have the beating of everyone else," Denyse said.
For first-time Munster championship fans Ben (6) and Charlie (5) O'Brien, from Ovens, Co Cork, it was all about the occasion, rather than the disappointing result for the Rebels.
"It was really to give them a day out and show them just how special a Cork-Tipp game is," explained their father, John O'Brien, who also brought the boys' grandfather, John O'Flynn, along to cheer on the Rebels.
For Olivia O'Sullivan, from Bishopstown in Cork, the trick was keeping her daughters Cora (6) and Clara (3) happy between the showers.
"We've had to bribe them," she joked, stressing that the girls drove a hard bargain for chips and ice cream.