Be a good sport, like this year’s hurlers

We all saw the beauty of the 2013 hurling season.

Be a good sport, like this year’s hurlers

The rise of the underdogs and the fall of the greats, the memories, the new talent and the passion and sportsmanship all came to a blistering end when Clare defeated Cork, to win Liam McCarthy for just the fourth time.

What was special about this season?

It was the determination of the underdogs. Look at Cork. Relegated in the spring, not given any hope of surviving in the championship. They were thrown into the pit against Kilkenny and Dublin, who were favoured by many to take Liam McCarthy home.

Clare, the other finalists, knocked out in the Munster championship, gradually found their rhythm and strengths.

They, too, played another strong team, in Galway, and, quite frankly, Clare annihilated them.

Stars shone. Anthony Nash, a fellow Corkonian, shone throughout the championships, with high-flying saves or hitting bullets of shots (I personally would not like to be anywhere near one of Nash’s frees).

How about small-club man Seamus Harnedy, from little St Ita’s. Harnedy is the gem of the season, as nobody really knew of him, but he was always pucking away at college hurling.

Also, we have the young Liam Rushe, a beauty of a talent and pivotal to Dublin’s halfback line.

We can’t forget the young heroes, like Tony Kelly of Clare, the hat-trick of Shane O’Donnell, Danny Sutcliffe, Conal Keaney, Wayne McNamara, and many more.

A beautiful story emerged after the All Ireland, of how the Clare fans clapped the Cork bus off, on their journey back to the hotel. No offence to any other sport, but where would you get that kind of passion and sportsmanship?

Truly brilliant and top-class, altogether.

We are blessed in Ireland to have athletes willing to play for their county at amateur level. We are blessed that cynicism hasn’t found it’s way in (even though there will be critics, as always).

The stars of 2013 will, hopefully, be rewarded at the Allstars and, hopefully, we will have the beauty of a sport shine again, through another year of depression and money woes.

I hope next year everyone comes out and supports their county, either in hurling, football, be it men’s or women’s, whoever, come out and show your pride, as I’d say we are in store for another cracking year of sport.

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