Wednesday 24 May 2017

Cats lick their wounds but Tipp their hat to 'phenomenal' rivals

Tipperary fan Richard Tobin at the Urlingford Arms. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Tipperary fan Richard Tobin at the Urlingford Arms. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Conor Kane

Soon after 5pm on the streets of Tipperary - and on the roads leading south from Croke Park - the horns started beeping, the flags started waving and the ham sandwiches and flasks of tea were forgotten as thoughts turned to the nights of celebration. They'd beaten Kilkenny. Not just beaten them, but blown them away.

After six long years, the Kilkenny train had been derailed. No three-in-a-row for the players and the fans in the strongholds of Cat country.

Rivals they may be on the field, but few in Kilkenny could begrudge their cross-border counterparts their moment.

Margaret Tobin, from Urlingford in Co Kilkenny, reflected on a rare down day for her county, saying: "Disappointed, but at the same time Tipp deserved it. We've had plenty of it over the years, we have to share it out sometimes."

In the Urlingford Arms, proprietor Nicholas Healy, a proud Kilkenny man, had feared the worst.

"I think this could be Tipperary's year," he said beforehand, and his fears were realised, much to the delight of some of his staff from across the divide, such as Breda Hickey.

"We surely have it now," Breda said as the Tipp points flew over and the lead grew.

Thomas Broderick from Urlingford clapped at the final whistle, despite his disappointment.

"It wasn't that Kilkenny played badly - Tipp were just phenomenal. They were brilliant," he said.

Irish Independent

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