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Hawk-Eye calls it a draw after epic encounter

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Patrick Maher, Tipperary in a tussle with Paul Murphy from Kilkenny. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Patrick Maher, Tipperary in a tussle with Paul Murphy from Kilkenny. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Ross McElhinney, age 13, from Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary, ahead of the game

Ross McElhinney, age 13, from Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary, ahead of the game

SPORTSFILE

Tipperary supporters, in the Cuasck Stand

Tipperary supporters, in the Cuasck Stand

SPORTSFILE

Kilkenny supporters Laura Warren, from Ferrybank, Co. Kilkenny with Stephen Tobin and Éamonn Rice, from Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny, on their way to the game

Kilkenny supporters Laura Warren, from Ferrybank, Co. Kilkenny with Stephen Tobin and Éamonn Rice, from Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny, on their way to the game

Chloe Hartley from  Ferrybank & Alex Grant from Kilmacow at the All Ireland Hurling Final

Chloe Hartley from Ferrybank & Alex Grant from Kilmacow at the All Ireland Hurling Final

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

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Patrick Maher, Tipperary in a tussle with Paul Murphy from Kilkenny. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

The 70th minute, the last gasp, the dying moments. A sudden quiet swooped over all sides of the stadium. You could have heard a pin drop, where moments earlier you wouldn't have heard a bomb drop, such was the boiling, roiling tumult of 80,000 souls strapped into the wildest roller-coaster anyone could've dreamed of.

John Bubbles O'Dwyer lined up the sliotar. He was a long, long way out, about 80 yards from goal. But he'd had a wonderful afternoon, and now, with the score level for the 11th time, Tipp had one hand resting on the Liam McCarthy cup.

The small ball soared into the azure sky. Behind the posts at the Davin Stand, the sea of blue and gold erupted and on the pitch, the men of the Premier County raised their fists in triumph.

Then referee Barry Kelly made the box sign. Another stillness descended, the sort of suspended moment when a stadium holds its breath. 160,000-plus eyes riveted to the slo-mo track of the sliotar on Hawk-Eye.

Miss.

The mighty roars of relief, joy, anguish and disappointment scared seagulls as far away as Portmarnock.

A draw. These two imperious teams, tethered to each other in endless battles, could not be divided.

There had been a feeling in the air that this final was going to be a close-run thing. Tipperary and Kilkenny fans streaming into Croke Park in the mellow sunshine were in universal agreement about one thing - a handful of points would decide this one.

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Chloe Hartley from  Ferrybank & Alex Grant from Kilmacow
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Chloe Hartley from Ferrybank & Alex Grant from Kilmacow at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Chloe Hartley from  Ferrybank & Alex Grant from Kilmacow
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Chloe Hartley from Ferrybank & Alex Grant from Kilmacow at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Minister for Children James Reilly TD 
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Children James Reilly TD at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Cliodhna Redmond 6 from Greensbridge
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Cliodhna Redmond 6 from Greensbridge at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Former Minister for Health James Reilly asked HIQA to evaluate a Bill put forward by Senator Fergal Quinn last year to have defibrillator’s placed in 43,000 venues across the country

Former Minister for Health James Reilly asked HIQA to evaluate a Bill put forward by Senator Fergal Quinn last year to have defibrillator’s placed in 43,000 venues across the country

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Katie Graham 9 & Connor Buggy 6 all from Kilkenny 
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Katie Graham 9 & Connor Buggy 6 all from Kilkenny at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Katie Graham 9, David Buggy & Connor Buggy 6 all from Kilkenny 
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Katie Graham 9, David Buggy & Connor Buggy 6 all from Kilkenny at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Tipperary fans Rachel Molloy & Roseanne Ryan both from Nenagh
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Tipperary fans Rachel Molloy & Roseanne Ryan both from Nenagh at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to R) Katie Keenan from The boro & Nicloe Carter from Gowran
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to R) Katie Keenan from The boro & Nicloe Carter from Gowran at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD 
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to R) Kilkenny fans Shem Dawson & judy Dawson from Freshford 
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to R) Kilkenny fans Shem Dawson & judy Dawson from Freshford at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to r) Leah Hannigan, Erin Lowe &
Micheala Lyons all from Carrick On Suir 
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to r) Leah Hannigan, Erin Lowe & Micheala Lyons all from Carrick On Suir at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to r) Leah Hannigan, Erin Lowe &
Micheala Lyons all from Carrick On Suir 
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to r) Leah Hannigan, Erin Lowe & Micheala Lyons all from Carrick On Suir at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to R) Robbie Doherty 7 from Mooncoyne &
Tommy Welsh 6 from Ballyhail
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to R) Robbie Doherty 7 from Mooncoyne & Tommy Welsh 6 from Ballyhail at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to R) Sonya Welch, Samantha Quinlan, Joanne Welch all from Carrick on Suir  
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to R) Sonya Welch, Samantha Quinlan, Joanne Welch all from Carrick on Suir at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to R) Sonya Welch, Samantha Quinlan, Joanne Welch all from Carrick on Suir  
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to R) Sonya Welch, Samantha Quinlan, Joanne Welch all from Carrick on Suir at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Kojii Helnwein & Cyril Helnwein both from Kilsheelan
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Kojii Helnwein & Cyril Helnwein both from Kilsheelan at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

(L to R) Sonya Welch, Samantha Quinlan, Joanne Welch all from Carrick on Suir  
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

(L to R) Sonya Welch, Samantha Quinlan, Joanne Welch all from Carrick on Suir at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Cliodhna Redmond 6 from Greensbridge
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Cliodhna Redmond 6 from Greensbridge at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Kilkenny fans Abbie O Neill 12 & Eillie O Neill 12 both from Ballycallan
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Kilkenny fans Abbie O Neill 12 & Eillie O Neill 12 both from Ballycallan at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Tipperary fan Sheila Ryan from Toomavara
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Tipperary fan Sheila Ryan from Toomavara at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Richard Dawson from Freshford
at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Richard Dawson from Freshford at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

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Chloe Hartley from Ferrybank & Alex Grant from Kilmacow at the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny & Tipperary at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Barry Ryan from Kilkenny city was experiencing a new feeling for a Cats fan - apprehension. "I think we'll do it, but Tipp will hound us all the way to the whistle," he reckoned.

And both sets of fans had another thing in common - before a ball had been pucked in anger last January, neither team were given great odds that they'd be running out onto the sparkling green sward of Croker on the second Sunday in September.

Their stars had dimmed a little, out-dazzled by pretenders such as Clare and Cork.

But here they were in Croke Park, facing each other for the fourth time in six seasons, and it would've been hard to insert a hurl sideways between them - both teams had scored 149 points on the way to the final, Tipperary even taking the scenic route via the qualifiers.

One thing was fairly certain though - it was unlikely to end in a draw, despite the two previous finals doing precisely that. In all their previous final day encounters in the Championship, Tipp and Kilkenny had never finished in a deadlock.

And there was another feeling in the air too, that this latest encounter was unlikely to match the classic finals of 2009 and 2010, songs of which will long be sung in bars from Castlecomer to Clonmel.

Legends have been forged in the cauldron of Croker - Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin don't swim in the Nore, they walk across it. How utterly wrong everyone got that one.

If anyone doubted that multiple past victories had blunted their hunger and raw passion to win, this was dispelled from the moment that the two sets of warriors shot out of the tunnel like a pack of starving greyhounds.

The points racked up with blinding speed. The tackling was ferocious, the play open as the plains of the Serengeti. Time and again, both sides drew level. Cody paced and paced. Shefflin watched from the bench.

And then, An early goal in the second half put Kilkenny on a roll. A five point gap opened up. The Kilkenny pocket rocket Richie Power sparkled, while Tipp seemed to fizzle.

In the Hogan stand, a florid-faced man sporting a Tipp jersey clutched his chest. "I might have to go home by the Mater Hospital if this keeps up," he bellowed to his pal who was seated six inches away from him. Somewhere in the seething crowd sat 92-year old Kilkenny native Sean Kennedy from Grovine. He has been to every All-Ireland final since 1939. One suspects that today will enter his remarkable personal Hall of Fame.

There were heroes all over the pitch. Bubbles floated the sliotar over the crossbar, 33-year old Lar Corbett whizzed about like a 16 year old. Richie Power broke Tipp hearts every time he got a hold of the ball.

But the points kept coming. The yawning gap narrowed and vanished. The skills on display made everyone quietly thank the sporting gods that they were in this place, and this time, to witness such a dazzling display.

And then the dramatic denouement. It was, against all the odds laid down by hurling's wise men, a draw. "We'll have to do it again, thank god," exulted a breathless Marty Morrissey .

Earlier, a fan festooned in blue and gold from curly head to booted toe, approached a garda on Dorset Street.

"Can you tell me how to get to the Hill?" he enquired. Two passing chaps decked out in black and amber were eager to help. "We'll show you the way, sure aren't we here often enough?" declared one with a wide smile. He'll know his way in three weeks' time. When they have to do it again, thank god.

Irish Independent


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