All Ireland Hurling Final

Not a great game by any means but fair play to kilkenny, they completely dominated and should have won by a lot more. Was it just me or did the grass appear to be quite long? It wasn’t ideal for ground hurling and it slowed the game down as on numerous occasions 3 and 4 players were tussling and almost having to dig the ball out of the grass. Thought the ref should have clamped down on lads lying on top of the ball by awarding frees (as is the rule) instead of throwing the ball in.

Kilkenny played with huge intensity and tackled in numbers like the ulster football teams do and this disrupted Cork’s usual running game as they never really got into their stride. Kilkenny’s midfield really dominated, Cha Fitzpatrick had a great game, and their half forward line really stood up to the Cork half backs. Weaknesses in Cork’s full back line were agian exposed - the Rock was poor as he has been all season and Mulcahy had a shocker. Thought Cusack could have done better for the goal and a few of his puck outs ended up over the sideline.

The real surprise though was Cork didn’t seem to have any plan B when it became obvious kilkenny were preventing them from playing their normal game. Also none of their substitutions worked while they couldn’t provided Deane with anything like the amount of ball he generally receives.

I believe KK are unbeaten in 2006 in all competitions which is some achievement

Just back from the game, thoroughly enjoyed it despite it not being a classic. Very intense and uncompromising, no quarter asked and none given. Kilkenny were incredibly fired up and I presume preventing Cork doing the 3 in a row was added motivation if that was necessary.

Very tactical game too. Their line up for Cork puck outs was very novel, the full forward line dropping deep and not allowing Cusack find his midfield or half back line in space. Instead they were happy to concede possession to the corner backs, usually Pat Mulcahy, who was then forced to drive the ball deep where a 50/50 tussle ensued. When you think about it this is a much better proposition to defend than having Jerry O’Connor or Tom Kenny running at you with pace.

They just never let Cork into their stride and prevented their running game from clicking into gear. The first up tackling of the forwards showed how determined they were and they hunted in packs all around the field. Most impressed by Tennyson at centre back, Tommy Walsh at wing back who is a genius, Aidan Fogarty who scored 1-3 but my man of the match was Cha Fitzpatrick. He hurled up an absolute storm in midfield and was immense.

Cork will obviously be gutted but the better team definitely won. Only losing by 3 probably flattered Cork a bit and only O’Sullivan, Ben O’Connor and Joe Deane reached their usual standards. The subs had no impact either so they can have no real complaints.

A cracking atmosphere was added to by sitting in the Wexford section near to the great Liam Dunne. Damien Fitzhenry was there too as was Rory McCarthy, John Conran and 70s legends Ned Buggy and Eddie ‘Heffo’ Walsh. We’ll be back next year I tell you!

Another anti climax of an All Ireland Hurling Final! Really thought we were in store for a cracker given the talent on display and what was at stake. Instead it was a big let down, something that often happens in finals, where the game rarely rises to the hype of the build up. Looking at the game on TV, it seemd to be a shocking atmosphere. Eerily silent at times in the first half? Could any sober attendees(not blinded by purple and gold tinted specs) shed some light on this? A bad atmosphere? I think far too many prawn sandwich brigadeers and too many neautrals go to finals, thereby diluting the atmosphere in Croke Park. More tickets should be sent to competing counties, but thats an argument for another day.

As for today, felt Kilkenny would win it. But not as comfortably as they did. From the throw they had that ravenous look about them, tackled the Cork men to oblivion and not letting them settle into their by now established running game. The lack of breathing space and tightness of the play certainly helped Kilkenny but credit to the them and Cody for creating such an eventuality.

Allied to this, the outstanding play of the previously unheralded trio of Tyrell, Ryall and “Taggy” Fogarty gave them the advantage. These are possibly 3 of the weak links spoken about by Bandage in Weekend Flutter, but today they all produced their best ever games for their county. What a day to do it.

Kavanagh proved a super placement for the injured Delaney, while Corks decision to leave Sherlock on the line for so long was devastating. Fogarty had Mulcahy in trouble early on and Sherlock seemed the obvious answer.

Hunger was the basic difference when all is said and done. Cork had it 2 years ago when the Cats were going for 3 in a row and this year Kilkenny had it and when the chips were down today, there was only ever going to be one winner.

Kudos to Cody for producing a third team of champions.

And once again top marks to RTE for O.B. bird.

Sam spot on there re the pitch, the grass looks more like a rugby cut than hurling. The pitch appears to be fookin disgrace there, lads slipping and sliding for no apparent reason.

As an aside, I see a former sparring partner of Bandage’s driving the boot into the yellow bellies in the Trib today. Probably fairly too but then the coooooont(McEvoy) heaps praise on Waterford for their good underage work which manifested itself in fine performances at u14 and u16 level last weekend.

In tournaments won by Wexford, of course the dirty rotten coooont omitted to mention that. Driving the knife in, yet ignoring the measures clearly being taken to remedy the malaise currently in situ. Cooooont.

Fook, never thought I’d say this but good posts appendage! Yeah the 3 you mentioned above would have been 3 of the players I’d have considered weak links and as you say there must be no better feeling than saving your best ever performance for your county for All Ireland Final day so fair fooks to them.

Ravenous is a great way to describe that Kilkenny attitude too. The ferocity, aggression and intensity of their tackling (all legal btw) and the workrate all around the park was exceptional. All the forwards were selfless in their tracking, hooking and hassling too not allowing the Cork half back line to launch the running game. Agree with steamboatsam aswell that it was a surprise that Cork didn’t have a plan B in their locker.

As for the atmosphere it was pretty poor alright. There was a bit of a stir for the parade and a slight chorus of ‘oh to, oh to be, oh to be a rebel’ as the teams were warming up but it was largely silent between 3.10 and 3.25 while the teams were on the park. I actually thought of the dreaded curse (soccer!) myself at the time and how a soccer crowd would have been bursting out the songs etc to spur on the team. Equally the respective crowds didn’t get too into things once the game started bar a brief Cork spell after the goal where they tried to get behind them. Maybe a case of being spoiled by so many final appearances?

As for the ticket situation, I make no apologies for attending. I class myself as a gael and All Ireland final day is for all gaels and not just those from competing counties! I’ve been all over Ireland supporting my county this year and consider myself as deserving of a ticket as anyone from Cork or Kilkenny. Perhaps even more so when you consider only 2,000 people turned up for Cork-Limerick in the Munster football semi final a few months back. Where was the rebel army then? There’s a lot of bandwagon jumping as there’s going to be in any sport, the hope is that most genuine supporters get their hands on a ticket.

Kudos to Cody alright. The one thing I would disagree with is that it was an anti-climax, I enjoyed it very much. Maybe the difference of being there rather than listening to Ger Canning?

Yeah saw McEvoy praising Waterford alright but neglecting to comment that it was Wexford who won and are now All Ireland Under 14 champions! As you say at least something is being done about the problems and after McEvoy did his now bi-annual articles sticking the knife into Wexford (first is always just before the championship begins when he writes us off based on our lack of underage success and second is always the Sunday after we get put out where he revels in the fact he was right) the least he could have done was acknowledge what was a fine achievement.

The above mentioned ‘Heffo’ Walsh was manager and he made an interesting comment at the game today. He said it’s little things at that level that make all the difference. He said their performance levels rocketed after he asked Mick Kinsella, County Secretary, if they could train in Wexford Park, seeing as the seniors, minors etc were out and didn’t need the pitch. He said the youngsters were buzzing in that element, training in an excellent ground with excellent facilities etc just put a pep in their step and they were all walking a bit taller after a few weeks there. His other one was we ‘started the hurling with them after we sorted the discipline. Discipline first, always.’ Good man ‘Heffo’ - Faythe Harriers legend!

Dunner’s Under-16s also performed well, beating Cork along the way and he’s moving up with them next year to be minor manager so I hope we can arrest this terrible trend of not winning a Leinster minor since 1985. There is nobody I would prefer to have in charge then Dunner though.

As the text message I received at 5.40 pm last evening so aptly put it ?Rebel Treble 3 in a row? hole! Thoroughly deserved victory for Kilkenny. Despite my poor vantage point in the corner of the Cusack stand I enjoyed the game immensely. It wasn?t a classic by any means but there really is something special about Croke park on AI final Sunday. The buzz around Croker and it?s surrounding areas was brillant and I suppose it?s only when your own county aren?t involved that you can sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

While discussing the game on Saturday night one of the lads pointed out that Cork don?t seem to have a plan B, and if their running game could be combated they?d be in serious trouble. How right he was, Kilkenny?s spoiling tactics worked a treat, they hassled and harried the Cork players and the likes of Gerry O?Connor and Tom Kenny never got going. I reckon Brian Cody and his team took out the video of Portumna?s wonderful club final victory in March because their tactics were very similar to that of the Galway clubs. Every time a Cork player got the ball there were men swarming all around him, the half backs and midfield got no room, hence the supply of ball to the forwards was minimised and Cork?s magical 20 point mark was not reached.

Corks full back line were exposed badly, Pat Mulcahy is a dirty tramp. If he wasn?t taken off when he was he may well have had the privilige of getting sent off in 2 All Ireland finals in the space of 6 months. He was marking Gortha Comerford over in my corner just before he was taken off and he was constantly digging at him with the hurl from behind even when the ball was at the other end. He?s a nasty piece of work and it would have been a shame to see a tinker like that lift Liam McCarthy.

Yer man Cha Fitzpatrick had a smashing game, saw him when he played full forward for the minors in 2003 and reckoned he was one to watch, he really has developed into a excellent player in the last 12 months. He?s guaranteed an all star at centre field and won?t be too far away from being hurler of the year. Other KK players of note were Tennyson after a shaky start, Fogarty, James Ryall and the great Tommy Walsh.

Although I have no great love for Kilkenny was happy to see them winning, Cork were getting even more arrogant than usual and it was time they were taken down a peg of two. No doubt they?ll be back next year as themselves are KK are in a different class to the rest of the hurling counties.

As a aside I though the behaviour of some of the stewards at the hill end after the game was disgraceful. They were literally catching supporters and throwing them back over the railings, some of them were wrestling lads to the ground. It was quite dangerous, public safety me hole! There is no way you can stop that amount of people of getting onto the pitch. If Mayo win on Sunday week they may as well just open the gates straight away cos hell nor water won?t stop them invading the pitch!

A word on the minor, very disappointing from a Galway perspective. That minor team weren?t highly rated in comparison to previous teams at all and they showed yesterday just why. Tipp were top class and deserved to win by the amount they did. I reckon there?s only possibly 2 players who will make the grade at senior, the goalie James Skehill and of course Joe Canning. Joe didn?t get much of a look in but he?ll be terrorising senior defences next year. He should get a run in the league and see how he goes but he has to be in the Galway full forward line next summer as they strive to end a 19 year famine.

All in all a smashing day however felling the effects today, dogey pint of slop in the big tree I reckon!

Good post tommy.

I?m going to do a Brian Kerr now (the way he went on about Yossi Benayoun and how he was going to pay special attention to him because he?d been impressed with him since seeing him play for Israel Under 15s) but I first saw Cha Pitzpatrick play in the All Ireland F?ile na nGael final in Bellefield, Enniscorthy in 1998. It was held in Wexford to coincide with the 200th anniversary of our heroic deeds in 1798 and Cha was midfield for Ballyhale Shamrocks and they won the premier final. He was fooking superb and when I saw him playing corner forward and stuff over the past couple of years I wondered what the story was, whether he had been converted to a forward or if he was too raw and inexperienced to have the responsibility of playing in midfield. He was even off the panel for a while last year I believe but he?s come of age in the last 3 games. He destroyed O?Connor and Kenny.

I also agree that Pat Mulcahy is indeed a dirty tramp.

Another funny part of yesterday was looking at Liam Dunne and the Wexford boys? reactions when that Offaly jubilee team were being introduced. They were all in the bits laughing when Joachim Kelly?s name was read out. He had a terribly ill-fated year in charge of Wexford in 2000 and Dunner says in his book it was the worst prepared team he?s ever been involved in. Then there was Pat Delaney, who jeered Dunner as he lay on the ground with a broken leg in 1997. I booed him myself ? the coooooooont

Any time’s a good time for a Dunne anecdote:

?You fooking deserve that Dunne, you fooking deserve that.?

Offaly legend and at that time Castletown of Laois manager Pat Delaney goads Liam Dunne as lays in agony with a broken leg in the Leinster Club Championship in November 1997.

?The pain was so bad I wanted to die,? recalled my hero in his autobiography.

June 2003 and Wexford storm back from a 7 point half time defecit to pip Offaly by a point in a rip roaring Leinster Championship clash. Dunne, as always, is immense. As he leaves the field, while conducting the rapturous Wexford support Dunner spots Pat Delaney, now an Offaly selector.

?You fooking deserve that Delaney, you fooking deserve that.?

Dunne = Legend

Joachim must have learned from his mistakes as Wexford boss because he was the man in charge when he led a very well prepared Portumna side to it?s maiden county title win on October 26th 2003. He?s a legend on the Northern shores of Lough Derg. Who?ll ever forgot his speech outside the Shannon Oaks where he declared ?were not finished yet, we?ll be in Croke Park on Paddy?s day ?. I presume he meant paddy?s day 06!!

For all of the blinkered Wexford contributors, to anyone outside of Wexford Liam Dunne was a filthy b@stard who gave out much worse than he got. Have a new found respect for Pat Delaney…

So do you have any respect for her as our head of state? I was just thinking about it today due to there being a bit of an argument on another site I frequent arising from some of the players on Sunday in Croke Park not taking off their helmets when she was introduced to them. To be honest I don?t as it?s really not an important role at all imo. She?s been there now for what, 9, 10 years and all I can recall her doing is making about 8 speeches a year on the curse of drink in Irish society and calling Northern Protestants ?Nazis? a while back. Other than that I struggle to see what she brings to the party at all. She gets to all the major sporting events though.

Getting back to the original argument for a sec, the minutes before throw in must be absolutely nervewracking for all the players ? I?m sure they?ve more to be focusing on than ensuring they?re looking presentable for Mary McAleese.

I presume then that you supported Martin Johnson in that incident a few years back? It surely wouldn’t be the case that you’d just have a special rule for hurlers.

There?s a difference between forgetting to take off your helmet due to pre match tension and a premeditated act of gamesmanship such as England?s. I don?t know if you?re trying to find some flaws in my thinking or what have you. That said I didn?t really care about what Martin Johnson did as like I said I don?t have any degree of respect for the title of president. What was more disappointing was the fact that the Irish side allowed them to take the psychological upper ground by standing by and being bossed around by England. If they always stood on the right at Landsdowne they should have moved to the far side again that day. What they did would be akin to the Dubs giving up the Hill the other week. At least the Dubs had the balls to go down and reclaim what they considered their patch.

Only saw the first 15 mins of this as i was travelling at the time.

But i had the pleasure of listening to the rest of it on radio through Micheal O’Muircheartaigh, it was a pleasure listening to him, he is so enthuastic. it didnt feel like i missed anything off the tv.

I would recommend that for the football next Sunday, people turn off the sound on the TV and listen to the man, it will be an unforgettable experience