Clonoulty-Rossmore suffered a setback when losing to Toomevara 0-19 to 1-18 at The Ragg last evening in a game that finished in a welter of excitement as Clonoulty sought to wipe out an eight-point gap in the closing 10 minutes.
Cork half-back Ger Millerick was outstanding in shadowing the Tipperary senior star on the evening of the Munster U20 final, but such is Morris’s precocious talent, that he was able to mine 1-1 from play, including the game-winning goal, on the few occasions he slipped free from Millerick’s grasp.
Tipperary U20 hurling manager Liam Cahill has described as “lunacy” the rule which prevents young footballers from playing U20 and senior championship in the one summer, insisting that there is no threat of burnout to the three members of his panel who are also part of Liam Sheedy’s set-up.
Given last Sunday night’s peculiar but surely forgivable digression by Derek McGrath and Dónal Óg Cusack had half the nation yearning for the return of the plain speaking of Ger Loughnane, it’s worth revisiting what the great Clare man had to say about the weekend’s two victors back in his final summers on our screens.
Kelly said Tipperary's refusal to resort to hitting long balls and chasing goals, as Kilkenny did in their Leinster final loss to Wexford, was the key as they confronted disappointing refereeing decisions, being reduced to 14 men, and Wexford's best efforts.
When the GAA redrew and reshaped the fixtures calendar last year, I was raging with the plan because I felt it would strangle hurling’s profile. The early part of the season was a boom but it still felt like an early season tournament to clear the runway for a football take-off.
Last Tuesday night, Cork hurling seemed to have turned a corner. Evan Sheehan’s injury-time goal against Tipperary looked to have won the Munster U20 championship, only for Jake Morris to rescue the Premier County with a terrific goal at the other end moments later.
Not to put too fine a point on it but Kilkenny won the All-Ireland quarter-final largely because they were playing — and were allowed to play by and play through — Cork. Not to put too fine a point on it but they’re unlikely to win the All-Ireland semi-final largely because they’ll be playing — and will not be allowed to play by and play through — Limerick.
Liam Sheedy was ebullient about his Tipperary team when talking on local radio this week. “We feel we pushed a bit of energy back in by taking a little bit of a break in the early part after the Laois match so preparations have gone extremely well and I honestly can’t wait to get out on this pitch next Sunday.”
Both management teams have named unchanged sides from their respective semi-final wins, but it’s fair to say that Cork probably have a greater idea of their strongest team, given they’ve had two meaningful championship games compared to Tipperary’s lone outing, which itself quickly descended into a non-contest.
At last, the long wait is over. As soon as last year’s championship ended, the pining for the electricity and excitement which super-charged all hurling people, and genuine sports lovers everywhere, had almost begun again. This season seemed like a lifetime away last August but now that the winter and spring and the tedious wait has passed, the championship has almost arrived in a blink.