Sunday 23 October 2016

Paul Kimmage: I had tears running down my face at the hurling final, it was everything you dream about sport

Published 06/09/2016 | 17:11

Last Sunday's All-Ireland hurling final was a fantastic occasion as Tipperary won back the Liam McCarthy cup for the first time since 2010, denying Kilkenny a three in-a-row in the process.

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Anyone lucky enough to be inside Croke Park for the clash no doubt left in high spirits after soaking in what is a unique day in Irish society, but it seemed to have an even greater effect on Paul Kimmage.

The Sunday Independent journalist often tackles sport's serious side rather than focusing on the games themselves, but last Sunday was different.

Speaking to Matt Cooper on the Last Word on Today FM, Kimmage revealed how emotional he became in the build-up to the match, and how a wave of patriotic feelings washed over him as he enjoyed the pageantry of the day.

After listening to Sibeal Ni Chasaide sing a pre-match song, Kimmage says he had 'tears running down his face', before beautifully describing what the occasion meant to him.

"The national anthem comes on and I feel this sense of Irishness that is completely irrational," he told Cooper.

"That I'd never feel at any time other than the All-Ireland final. And it's like "wow, isn't it great to be Irish?". What a great country. And it's totally irrational.

"And the game starts. And it's pure. It's absolutely pure and believable. And everything you dream about sport. Everything that you've dreamt about sport as a kid is unfolding in front of you. You totally buy into this.

"There's none of the cynicism or the crap or the drugs or the doping that I've had all my life, in 26 years as a reporter, dealing with it. None of that. It's just sport and wonderful. And we get this fantastic match."

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