Sunday 22 April 2018

Old rivals Tipp and Kilkenny offered extra incentive ahead of League final

Brendan Maher and Cillian Buckley
Brendan Maher and Cillian Buckley
Tipperary’s Alan Flynn gives chase after Kilkenny’s Luke Scanlon Photo: Sportsfile
Walter Walsh of Kilkenny tries to force his way past Tipperary’s Tomás Hamill during the teams’ league clash in February – there will be no quarter asked or given again on Sunday. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
There is little motivation needed for Sunday’s Allianz HL Division 1 final in Nowlan Park given the storied Tipperary-Kilkenny rivalry, but if any extra incentive was required then both sides have it with the winning team also set to jet off to Australia later this year. (Stock picture)

Michael Verney

There is little motivation needed for Sunday's Allianz HL Division 1 final in Nowlan Park given the storied Tipperary-Kilkenny rivalry, but if any extra incentive was required then both sides have it with the winning team also set to jet off to Australia later this year.

The GAA - which will fully fund the trip - confirmed yesterday that the victors will join reigning All-Ireland champions Galway on a week-long trip Down Under where they will face off for the Wild Geese Trophy on November 11 as part of the Sydney Irish Festival.

The exhibition game will be the headline act at the two-day event in the Sydney Showground showcasing Irish culture, music, food, drink and sport over the weekend with GAA head of games Feargal McGill keen to spread awareness of the small-ball code having "never taken hurling to Australia".

It is the latest intrigue to a unique history between the Premier and the Cats but Australia is likely to be far away from the minds of Kilkenny boss Brian Cody and his Tipperary counterpart Michael Ryan this weekend.

They must first do battle in an eagerly-anticipated decider - a repeat of their epic finals from 2009, '13 and '14 - which has already generated huge ticket sales with both of Nowlan Park's main stands likely to be sold out.

Tipp bid for their first win on Kilkenny soil in a decade minus the services of All-Stars Seamus Callanan and Noel McGrath, while 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager Cody aims to add a ninth league crown to his remarkable managerial CV.

Irish Independent

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