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Video: Copycat clip hits bigtime as titanic final nears

WHEN Kilkenny started its run of All-Ireland wins in 2006, we had barely heard of YouTube.

But now the internet website is being used by hurling fans on opposite sides of the Kilkenny-Tipperary border to taunt each other in the run-up to Sunday's titanic clash.

The rivalry between hurling fans in the two counties, which share miles of common boundary, is intense, but they haven't lost their sense of humour.

Tipperary supporter Noreen O'Donnell's "copycat" video of her dumping a black-and-amber kitten into a wheelie bin is attracting thousands of hits on the popular website.

Noreen's prank, which involves a stuffed toy kitten, is based on the internet video of a woman in Britain stroking a real cat before throwing it in a bin.

This time, the footage is aimed at the 'Cats' who live across the border -- in Kilkenny.

The short but pithy clip of Borrisoleigh native Noreen, wearing a Tipperary jersey, comes with the reassurance from its creators that no (real) cats were harmed during production. More than 13,000 viewers have already logged on to see the clip.

A sign printed on the inside of the featured wheelie bin is inscribed: "5 in a Row My Arse!"

This has already drawn some ire from Kilkenny supporters, as their heroes prepare their bid for the five-in-a-row at the weekend.

"I just did it for a laugh and the next thing it's gone wild," the new internet star said yesterday.

"I can't believe the interest in it. My daughters are ringing me every second, telling me it's gone up to this and it's gone up to that."

The 17-second clip shows Noreen stroking the "cat" before opening the bin, looking around for potential witnesses, placing it inside and walking away.

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It was posted online earlier this week by the people behind online magazine 'Tipp Tatler', who said they were "blown away" by the amount of interest shown by people from Tipperary and Kilkenny.

"It was just a flash of inspiration," website creator Derry O'Donnell said yesterday, adding that the star of the clip is actually his mother.

There was outrage in the UK last week when a CCTV camera outside a couple's home in Coventry captured a middle-aged woman putting a real-life cat, Lola, into a wheelie-bin.

The tabby, owned by Darryl and Stephanie Andrews-Madden, spent 15 hours in captivity before being discovered.

The culprit, Mary Bale, later expressed regret for her actions, which she described as a "joke", adding that she didn't know what people were getting so excited about as "it was just a cat".

Lola's owners were prompted to "appeal for calm" after Ms Bale became the focus of a hate campaign and even death threats.

Meanwhile, there was little fuss in the birthplace of Henry Shefflin yesterday ahead of the big match.

"King" Henry's parents Mai and Henry Snr will be at the final and, of course, are "excited -- how could you not be?".

Inside their home in Ballyhale, the walls have team photographs commemorating Kilkenny's and Henry's victories in seven All-Ireland finals, but surprisingly there are more family photos than hurling-related ones.

Ballyhale is a great place to be when the Liam McCarthy comes to town, but yesterday locals were reluctant to make plans for a party -- they say that hurling does the talking in Ballyhale.

Sheff's pub, which previously belonged to Henry Shefflin's family, and then to the parents of this year's captain, TJ Reid, is now in the hands of Kevin Fennelly (Henry's uncle) of the famous hurling family.

Kevin himself has three All-Ireland senior medals, two minor, two under-21, three club championships and 10 county finals under his belt.

When he played in the 1987 All-Ireland, his brothers Sean, Liam and Ger were on the team too.

But there is no over-confidence: "They'll win if they hurl on the day," said Kevin. "But they'll have to hurl on the day, same as always, you can't take anything for granted."

The sign outside the pub tells patrons that Monday night, September 6, there will be music for the "five-in-a-row, hopefully".

All-Ireland final countdown: see sport

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