Tuesday 28 March 2017

Galway's victory over Tipperary included in list of the top 10 modern hurling classics

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Iarla Tannion, Galway, and James Woodlock, Tipperary. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Tipperary v Galway. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Iarla Tannion, Galway, and James Woodlock, Tipperary. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Tipperary v Galway. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Yesterday's classic at Croke Park was viewed by many as one of the greatest hurling games of all time. Where does it rank against these modern classics.


Kilkenny 2-22 Tipperary 0-23

Still the greatest? That is very much under threat after last weekend. Maybe it lags a little behind for the sheer thrill factor of last Sunday evening, but the ferocity of the first of three successive Kilkenny/ Tipperary deciders elevates it that bit higher.

Every ball was a contest, a primal affair crystallised by Jackie Tyrrell's thundering early challenge on Tipperary's Seamus Callanan. In the first half alone, the sides were level seven times.

Kilkenny came from two points down to lead by four in a stunning 40-second turnaround, precipitated by referee Diarmuid Kirwan's decision to award them a penalty which Henry Shefflin duly stuck away. Kilkenny goalkeeper PJ Ryan was heroic, with a string of saves preventing Tipperary from adding to their 14 goals that season and ensuring a four in a row for the Cats.



Clare 5-16 Cork 3-16

Big question-marks over the quality of defending but not the quality of entertainment.

In the dying light of a crisp autumn evening, Croke Park has rarely witnessed an occasion like it. Replays were never supposed to be as good as this.

You can be critical of the touch of some but not the character displayed by both teams or the chronology of the scores culminating in Darach Honan's wonderful solo effort to finally kill off Cork after just over 140 minutes.



Kilkenny 3-22 Tipperary 1-28

Hawkeye took centre stage in this enthralling epic as John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer's late free, that would have given Tipp the title, was ruled out as a wide.

The 72 minutes which had preceded the incident were incredible as both sides went toe-to-toe.

Tipp missed two penalties, came from four points down and were denied at the death.

Goalkeeper Eoin Murphy was the hero for the Cats who went on to win the replay in another classic.



Waterford 3-16 Cork 1-21

Outside Croke Park this may just have been hurling's greatest game of the modern era, underpinned by Waterford's John Mullane's sending off just three minutes into the second half.

What unfolded after that was a game of the ages. Cork, the 2003 provincial champions, had played against a wind in the opening half and built up a 1-14 to 2-8 lead. In the circumstances they looked comfortable.

But a Paul Flynn free that flew straight to the net changed everything in the second half, and with Flynn adding another five points and Ken McGrath leading the 14-man resistance from centre-back, Waterford prevailed, McGrath's catch at the very end as they protected a one-point lead the game's signature moment.



Galway 0-26 Tipperary 3-16

Just how did Seamus Callanan hit 3-9 and end up on the losing side?

The full-forward's brilliance was just eclipsed by the ferocity of Galway's tackling and the impact of the Tribesmen's young guns.

The fairytale story was almost complete when Noel McGrath, returning from testicular cancer surgery for the first time, fired the Premier men into the lead in the dying minutes.

In a frantic finale, Anthony Cunningham's men showed incredible resolve to equalise through Jason Flynn (from an impossible angle) before sub Shane Moloney steadied and shot over a dramatic winner with seconds remaining.



Kilkenny 1-20 Tipperary 1-16

Hard to believe this was just Kilkenny's second championship win over Tipp in 80 years and their first since 1967. DJ Carey had sat out the provincial campaign but returned against the reigning champions.

He scored four points and set up the Jimmy Coogan goal that eventually broke this game, not long after Coogan's 55th-minute introduction.

The sides were level nine times including half-time (0-10 each), but John Carroll's goal on 47 minutes seemed to give Tipp the initiative. Carey's creation of the goal was a classic intervention, but even then Tipp weren't finished and only a flurry of late points dressed the result as something the margin really wasn't.



Tipperary 4-19 Cork 4-15

The day the Tipperary crowd, at the Killinan End, led by a man in a wheelchair, invaded the pitch when Pat Fox's goal cut the deficit to just two points. When Aidan Ryan scored an insurance goal late on, the number of invaders swelled to hundreds.

This was an epic Munster final that Tipp found themselves nine points down in at one stage early in the second half. Nicky English had cried off with injury beforehand but John Leahy was superb. Ryan's goal was prefaced by drama at the other end when Pat Buckley's shot hit a post.



Galway 5-18 Kilkenny 4-18

Conor Hayes had asked his players to prevent goals in the wake of their 19-point hammering the previous year. They didn't obey his command but they still won. Like Saturday, the defending was sometimes suspect as Galway's Niall Healy picked holes in a Kilkenny defence missing Noel Hickey to bag a hat-trick.

Galway led 5-17 to 3-12 after 44 minutes but Kilkenny's character to finish just one score adrift was telling for what was to follow in the next four years.



Clare 0-20 Tipperary 2-13

The first all-Munster All-Ireland final ended dramatically, with Tipperary's John Leahy facing down Clare goalkeeper Davy Fitzgerald, just as he had done in the Munster final two months earlier.

This time Leahy had ball in hand but again Fitzgerald pulled off a remarkable save and Clare's grasp on a second All-Ireland title was retained.

Jamesie O'Connor had fired over the winning point just second earlier, with Clare manager Ger Loughnane famously raising his fist to acclaim it from behind the goals.

Goals from Eugene O'Neill and Liam Cahill cut into Clare's lead and it required late points from Ollie Baker and O'Connor, prior to that Fitzgerald save, to preserve it.



Limerick 1-13 Clare 0-15

Undoubtedly the game that provided the greatest match winner of modern times – Ciaran Carey's catch from a puck-out and thundering run in injury-time remains one of the great moments of Munster championship history.

Clare, the reigning All-Ireland champions, led by three points going down the home straight at the Gaelic Grounds but Limerick caught them with four unanswered points.

Maybe there wasn't the flow that lit up other games of that and the current era but the hottest day of the year produced a most physical, intense and exhausting battle that Carey concluded so majestically.

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