Monday 16 September 2019

Eoin Kelly: 'The real turning point in the match came just before Richie Hogan's red card'

Niall OMeara of Tipperary shoots to score his side's first goal
Niall OMeara of Tipperary shoots to score his side's first goal

Eoin Kelly

It's nice to be able to blow your own trumpet. So, on this day of days for Tipperary people, I will do just that. I wrote in this week's Sunday World that Tipp would have to 'outgoal' Kilkenny to win this All-Ireland Final - and they did it spectacularly.

I know people will point to the red card as the turning point, and I will come back to it in a minute, but for me the real turning point was the first goal of the game a few minutes before Richie Hogan was sent off.

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Kilkenny had hurled well in the first half, they had Tipperary's forwards working hard for anything they got, and they needed to go in at half-time with a reward for that on the scoreboard.

Instead Niall O'Meara's goal changed the game around.

That score meant Tipperary went in a point ahead, and with the man advantage, I was confident they could kick on from there for an All-Ireland title.

They did, in two ways. The first was the two-goal blitz in the opening seven minutes of the second half.

Goals that broke Kilkenny's challenge, they were simply never going to come back from the concession of those goals while playing a man short.

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18 August 2019; Séamus Callanan of Tipperary with young supporter Jennifer Malone following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Séamus Callanan of Tipperary with young supporter Jennifer Malone following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Séamus Callanan of Tipperary following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy is congratulated by his brother Mike Sheedy following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary team mates, from left, Noel McGrath, Brian McGrath and John McGrath with the Liam MacCarthy cup following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy celebrates with Willie Connors, left, and Brendan Maher following their side's victory during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Padraic Maher of Tipperary and fans, celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy cup, after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; James Barry, left, and Noel McGrath of Tipperary celebrate following their side's victory during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy celebrates with daughters Aisling, left, and Gemma following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary captain Séamus Callanan leaves the pitch with the Liam MacCarthy cup after after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary captain Séamus Callanan is congratulated by his mother Mary and dad John, sister Fiona, and his brother John also with the Liam MacCarthy Cup after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy celebrates after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Ronan Maher of Tipperary with the Liam MacCarthy cup after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Séamus Callanan of Tipperary celebrates with his family and the Liam MacCarthy cup following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy is congratulated by supporters following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Eimear Tyrell from Toomevara with Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; The Tipperary Team celebrate after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Robert Byrne of Tipperary celebrates with the Liam MacCarthy cup following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Padraic Maher left, with Michael Breen of Tipperary celebrate following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy celebrates with daughters Gemma, left, and Aisling following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary captain Séamus Callanan lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Séamus Callanan of Tipperary following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy, left, celebrates with Ronan Maher of Tipperary after the final whistle of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy celebrates with daughters Gemma, left, and Aisling following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy, 2nd from left, and coaches Darragh Egan, left, and Eamon O'Shea celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy cup after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy, 2nd from left, and coaches, from left, Darragh Egan, Eamon O'Shea and Tommy Dunne, celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy cup after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary players, from left, Séamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher, Padraic Maher, and James Barry celebrate at the final whistle of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary captain Séamus Callanan and team-mates celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy Cup following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
18 August 2019; Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy, 2nd from left, and coaches, from left, Darragh Egan, Eamon O'Shea and Tommy Dunne, celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy cup after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

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And the other way was Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy using the half-time break to ensure that the Tipperary full-back line had everything sorted.

Cathal Barrett played most of the second half as the sweeper, cutting out ball and always making sure he was under the sliotar whenever it broke.

And that meant Kilkenny could never get the goal they craved in the second half to somehow get a foothold in the match.

The Tipperary backs were quite happy to let the Cats pop points in that period, knowing their own forwards could respond in kind.

To go back to my very first point, a Kilkenny goal was needed so badly and it never came.

Paudie and Ronan Maher were superb for Tipperary, fielding plenty of high ball and when the Blue and Gold forwards got a bit of space, as the 14 Kilkenny men inevitably tired in the second half, they scored freely.

As for the sending-off, it was right on the borderline of a red card, but no one wants to see a player sent off in the first half of an All-Ireland Final.

It definitely coloured a great day!

But the one thing you have to say is that the refs were told, and the players were told, earlier this year that head-high tackles would be a sending-off offence in 2019.

And Richie's challenge was head-high - there is no doubt about that.

But as I said earlier, I firmly believe Tipp had turned the tide by then, that they were already heading for glory.

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