Tuesday 17 September 2019

'God knows we've had to put up with the Cats celebrating enough times'

Margaret Fennessy and Breda Hickey watching the match in
the Urlingford Arms. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Margaret Fennessy and Breda Hickey watching the match in the Urlingford Arms. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Ralph Riegel

In the borderlands of that age-old Munster-Leinster hurling rivalry, it was a story of agony and ecstasy.

The town of Urlingford echoed to the disbelieving cheers of Tipperary fans as they wildly celebrated the county's 28th All-Ireland title and a famous 14-point victory over Kilkenny.

For Premier County fans, it was the unexpected nature of the 2019 Liam MacCarthy Cup triumph - and the emphatic dismissal of old rivals Kilkenny's challenge - that made the title all the sweeter.

Tipp fans gathered in the village just 3km from the Premier County border and vowed to make it a night to remember.

Nicholas Healy's Urlingford Arms was packed to the rafters with Tipp and Kilkenny supporters, many from so-called 'mixed' GAA marriages.

"I'd better be careful how we celebrate tonight because my partner, Noelle, is a Kilkenny woman," jubilant Oscar Collins from Thurles explained.

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

"But it was a great Tipp performance - that is as good as I've seen them hurl in years."

Cinta Tobin, from Thurles, wasn't too worried about the wounded pride of her Kilkenny partner, Edward Doran.

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"God knows we've had to put up with the Cats celebrating enough times over the years. Tonight it's Tipp's turn to party," she said.

Proud Tipperary woman Breda Hickey and her friend, Margaret Fennessy, said the Premier County may have had a little divine help with their 2019 title.

"Fr John Joe O'Rourke gave out the Hurler's Prayer at Mass in Gortnahoe (Tipperary)," she smiled.

"It's absolutely brilliant - it's lovely to see Tipp bring the All-Ireland home."

Margaret Fennessy is the aunt of soccer star Shane Long. "He would have loved to be here today - it was a brilliant atmosphere," she said.

Eileen Lanphier, from Horse and Jockey, said the victory would be celebrated for weeks to come in Tipperary.

"It is unbelievable - what a performance," she said.

Meanwhile, black-and-amber clad fans in the Kilkenny village fought back tears, drowned their hurling sorrows, shrugged their shoulders and did their best to be magnanimous to their jubilant Tipperary neighbours.

But Mags McCarthy, from Urlingford said Kilkenny under Brian Cody would be back.

Cats fan Noreen McCarthy said the sending-off changed the entire match.

"It was a different game after that," she said.

Elaine McGrath, from Urlingford, whose son Conor hurled with Emeralds GAA club and the Kilkenny senior team, said the black and amber would learn their lessons and be back stronger than ever next year to try to deliver their 37th title.

"This is a young side. They will be back at Croke Park again," she said.

The two counties have now faced each other six times in the past 11 years for the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

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