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The art of a winning speech after All-Ireland victory

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Tyrone captain Peter Canavan before lifting the Sam Maguire Cup in 2003 after his side's All-Ireland SFC final win over Armagh

Tyrone captain Peter Canavan before lifting the Sam Maguire Cup in 2003 after his side's All-Ireland SFC final win over Armagh

SPORTSFILE

Tyrone captain Peter Canavan before lifting the Sam Maguire Cup in 2003 after his side's All-Ireland SFC final win over Armagh

We're well into the All-Ireland final season which will end when the winning captain holds the cup aloft in the Hogan Stand, and gives a speech along these lines:

"It's a great honour to be here today… Cúpla focal Gaeilge… I'd like to thank… Three cheers, hip hip…"

"What makes a good All-Ireland speech?" asked Shane Coleman on The Sunday Show (Newstalk, Sun 11am). Former Galway Captain Ray Silke shared his experience. He didn't hold the Sam Maguire up - he put it on his head like a hat.

"I was so tired after the match… when I picked up the Sam Maguire I could not believe it, because I had never held the trophy in my life, it's absolutely enormous," he said.

"When I went to lift it, by the time I got it up to around my neck I went, Jesus I'm not going to make it. So I had to balance it and throw it up then."

Some speeches have been criticised for going too long. But teams that find themselves in Croke Park after years in the wilderness are unrepentant.

As Peter Canavan declared in 2003, "I'm not finished yet, it took me a long time to get here." In fact, some of the most memorable speeches have been made by captains of teams that win after a long gap, Ray said.

Sports writer Seán Moran argued that what makes speeches resonate down the years is not the whole flow but specific phrases. Like Martin Storey's "They said we're the bridesmaids of hurling. Well today we got married." Or Anthony Daly's "We're no longer the whipping boys of Munster." (The latter came after a Munster Final, but it's too good to leave out.)

Sadly, if the show whetted your appetite for rousing oratory you were in for a disappointment as Tipp v Kilkenny ended in a draw later that day.

Just as iconic as the speeches are the teams' jerseys. County boards tend to change them every three years or so - usually when there's a change of sponsor, we learned on The John Murray Show (RTE 1, Mon-Fri 9am).

Alison Underwood, head of jersey design at O'Neills, said some counties are more conservative than others. Kilkenny stick to the black and amber. "That's to inspire fear among the opponents," Murray suggested.

A listener complained about Meath changing from "the lovely green and gold to rotten olive." "It's more a kind of bottle green," Alison said gamely, "It's been quite popular."

One thing that has changed is the fabric of the jerseys. A stronger polyester fabric has replaced the knitted jerseys of yore. The modern jersey is more comfortable and "it's quite strong for a lot of pulling and grabbing and that kind of thing."

Torn jerseys are a thing of the past. Another part of our heritage irretrievably lost.

Indo Review