Friday 23 February 2018

Joy and despair for fans at club finals in Croker

Michael McHale

IT IS a passion that transcends generations. Young and old were wrapped up in the occasion as thousands flocked to Croke Park for the All-Ireland club finals.

And families were united in joy or despair as they faced the long trek home last night.

Ivan Canning of Portumna sunk to his knees as the final whistle blew, despite the best efforts of three-year-old son Andrew to cheer up his father.

Canning held his hands in despair as he watched rivals Ballyhale Shamrocks lift the Tommy Moore Cup, while little Andrew tugged consolingly at his shirt.

For Ballyhale the victory was made all the more sweet as they now enter the record books as the only team to win five All-Ireland club hurling titles.


It was a family affair off the pitch too as the new generations were taught a lesson in flying the colours.

Mary Harrington brought her young niece Kate to support the victorious Shamrocks, but back home her mother was providing a masterclass in GAA support by daubing her front wall in the team colours.

"She painted it white and put green shamrocks all over it," said Mary, before proudly displaying a picture of the wall on her mobile phone.

For Mary and her niece, it was to be a happy trip to her home county after Ballyhale ran out 1-19 to 0-17 winners over Galway side Portumna.

Meanwhile, a father and son travelled from Co Down to cheer the Kilkenny team after a little of the Cats' magic rubbed off on them four years ago.

Jimmy and Niall Quinn (12) started following Ballyhale after watching Kilkenny beat Cork in the 2006 All-Ireland final. "Since then Niall fell in love with (Ballyhale star) Henry Shefflin," Jimmy said.

In the football, Clare side Kilmurry-Ibrickane made their own piece of history, as it was the first time the club had made it to a national final.

Martin Murrihy, who had four grandnephews in the Kilmurry squad, said "there won't be a cow milked in west Clare for two days" if they beat Belfast side St Galls.

But it was not to be, as St Gall's turned out to be comfortable victors, winning by 0-13 to 1-05.

Irish Independent

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