Brennan pays tribute to Dan
THERE may be no love lost across the hurling border between Kilkenny and Waterford, but Nickey Brennan, ex-GAA president and Kilkenny manager put local rivalry aside to pay a glowing tribute to Dan Shanahan in his 'Brennan Beat' column in the 'Kilkenny People' newspaper.
"He leaves the stage in the knowledge that he gave wonderful service to his native county," said Brennan of the charismatic Waterford goal-getter, who was once immortalised as the subject of a short story on RTE 1's 'Sunday Miscellany' radio show.
Brennan painted a similarly evocative image of the Lismore man to capture the truly amateur nature of the GAA's box-office stars and the role they play in their communities.
"As he drives around the towns and countryside of Waterford delivering fuel for Comeragh Oil, he (Shanahan) will meet plenty of supporters who will be more than happy to talk hurling all day long," Brennan wrote. "I am sure he will still carry a caman in the cab of his truck on the off-chance that some young boy or girl will want to have a few pucks with a legend as the oil is being off-loaded. That's as good a way as any to start off the next young lad on the road to stardom for the Deise."
Trouble is that Waterford's road to real stardom has to pass through Kilkenny, not exactly fertile territory for outsiders over the years.
Wounded animals threaten Cats
In terms of winning an All-Ireland final, just how helpful or otherwise is it to have suffered a defeat the year before?
Brian Cody began his term as Kilkenny manager with a defeat against Cork in 1999, but made amends the following year, albeit against different opposition. Kilkenny had also lost the 1998 final to Offaly under the managership of Kevin Fennelly.
Kilkenny lost to Tipperary in 1991, but won the next two All-Ireland titles, while Tipperary lost to Galway in 1988 before winning two of the next three titles. Galway lost in 1985-86 and then won two-in-a-row. Galway also lost in 1979, but won in 1980.
Of course, there are plenty examples over the years of teams who won the title in their first season in the final. Offaly (1981), Clare (1995) and Wexford (1996) all achieved it -- indeed, Clare went on to win a second in 1997.
As for the dreaded two-in-a-row defeats -- a fate which Tipperary will be very keen to avoid on Sunday -- the more recent examples are: Kilkenny (1998-99); Galway (1985-86); Cork (1982-83); Wexford (1976-77); Tipperary (1967-68).
Race to the sun hotting up
Etihad Airways, joint sponsor of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, have announced the final four clubs which have been short-listed in the search to find Ireland's 'Best Club under the Sun', a competition they have been running successfully for the last two seasons.
Clonlara from Clare, Killenaule from Tipperary, Na Fianna from Dublin and Wexford's Oulart the Ballagh are vying for the prize of a training camp in Abu Dhabi under the supervision of coach Nicky English.
Clubs have had to demonstrate how much they do for their community to win the prize and voting continues this week via the website www.etihadgaa.ie.
September 5 - A day to remember
What's in a date? This is the first final to be played on September 5 since 1993 when Kilkenny beat Galway by 2-17 to 1-15. Kilkenny also beat Cork (3-18 to 1-13) on September 5, 1982, but Tipp have an even better record on that date.
They beat Kilkenny (5-17 to 5-14) on September 5, 1971 while on the same date six years earlier they easily beat Wexford in the final. They also beat Kilkenny (3-11 to 0-3) on September 5 in the 1937 final.