Sunday 4 December 2016

Fans sweat bullets - but Tipp finally squeak through

Ryan Nugent

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

Jerome Cahill of Tipperary poses with young supporters after the minor match in Croke Park. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Jerome Cahill of Tipperary poses with young supporters after the minor match in Croke Park. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

"We'll all be changing our underpants after that one," one Tipperary fan remarked, such was the tense nature of their victory over Galway yesterday to set up a clash with Kilkenny in the All-Ireland hurling final.

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To say the win over the Tribesmen was nervy would be an understatement. The game was level an incredible eight times - but Tipperary eventually squeaked home by 2-19 to 2-18.

Keith O’Brien and Irena Matulkina. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Keith O’Brien and Irena Matulkina. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

A roar of 'Tipp, Tipp, Tipp' echoed around Croker, long after the final whistle blew.

It's safe to say the Premier County were excited for another All-Ireland final and another crack at the striped cats.

Even the deflated Galway fans were hoping for their conquerors to go on to beat Kilkenny. As one Tipp supporter remarked: "Someone has to wipe the smile off [Brian] Cody's face."

Revenge

Tipp fans celebrate the win, (back row from left) Lorna Brislane, Alicia Hallanin, Trisha Devlin, Emma Percy, Laura Tierney, Miriam Breen (front row) Jusine O’Meara and Leah Harty. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Tipp fans celebrate the win, (back row from left) Lorna Brislane, Alicia Hallanin, Trisha Devlin, Emma Percy, Laura Tierney, Miriam Breen (front row) Jusine O’Meara and Leah Harty. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

And despite some remaining coy on the word 'revenge' - it was clear that there's something special about the upcoming final. As Dublin fans used to say about beating Kerry in the final, 'it's like two All-Ireland's'. One imagines the Premier County have a similar feeling.

The whole county is licking their lips at the prospect, according to Miriam Breen (18) from Portroe.

"We were all delighted when Kilkenny won (in the semi final), because there'd be no good in Tipp beating Waterford in an All-Ireland final. Tipp need to beat Kilkenny," she said.

When asked about the final in three weeks' time, Michael Leonard (47) from Cahir said they "owe them a few - but we fancy ourselves this time".

Galway supporters Elizabeth (42) and Emily (17) McMenamin. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Galway supporters Elizabeth (42) and Emily (17) McMenamin. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

Ciara Brennan (30), from Terryglass, said: "We can't let it happen again" - they really want this one, but isn't that always the case?

Ciara was quick to remind everyone that Tipperary will be in action again before September, however.

Their footballers take on Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final this Sunday. "This is the good bit," she said. "Do the double, what do you think?"

Read more: 'We have struggled to win these type of games' - Tipperary boss Michael Ryan

Read more: GAA Sunday as it happened: Galway 2-18 Tipperary 2-19

Although it wasn't all optimism. John Coleman (30) from Gortnahoe was with his girlfriend Louise Gorham (28), who was supporting Galway. He said that Tipp will face a difficult task in toppling the Cats.

"Just bought a ticket to get hammered by Kilkenny, didn't I?" he quipped, adding, "Ah, no, a final is a final and Tipp always raise their game for Kilkenny."

For Galway, however, there was a distinctly familiar feel about the defeat - their minor team were hammered earlier on in the day, making it their third defeat to the Premier County in a matter of a few weeks.

"We're very disappointed. We just hope that if it won't be Galway, that Tipp can beat Kilkenny," Elizabeth McMenamin from Claregalway said. She took in the game with her daughter, Emily (17).

"I think that's the same across the rest of the country," Kieran O'Dwyer from Bansha in Tipperary.

Keith O'Brien (36) and Irena Matulkina (26) travelled a long way further than Tipperary. Such was Keith's love for his side, he came all the way over from New York.

"We flew in Friday and are going back on Tuesday."

But was it worth the trip?

"You better believe it," he said.

He, along with tens of thousands more, will be back on September 4.

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