Eoin Larkin has criticised the “nasty” streak he felt ran through Tipperary during some of their clashes with Kilkenny. In his autobiography Camouflage, the eight-time All-Ireland winner and former hurler of the year recalls some unseemly incidents with the Cats’ neighbours.
“On the field, Tipperary could be nasty enough. Declan Fanning and I had many’s the battle. He’s always be mouthing and pulling and dragging out of you. Sometimes you’d give him a dig back and other times you’d ignore him.
“The best thing to do is put the ball over the bar but at times he did get under my skin, I have to admit. Now we didn’t exactly field 15 altar boys ourselves but we didn’t stoop to their level.
A pull on Michael Rice in the 2012 semi-final was referenced in our camp for a long time afterwards. ‘Show them no respect, look what they did.’ It was reckless. Michael wasn’t right for a long time.
Describing the 2010 All-Ireland final defeat to Tipperary as “the worst loss of my career” as Kilkenny’s five-in-a-row attempt was halted, other elements of Tipp’s on-field display at the time irritated him.
“We respected the Tipperary players as hurlers and on All-Star trips we tended to mix fairly well... But a lot of the shit that went with Tipp rubbed us up the wrong way. This nonsense of pointing to their heads after a score, for example.
When they did beat us in 2010, there was a Sunday Game ad on TV for a year or two afterwards where Noel McGrath was coming out to Kelly, pointing to his head. I’d roll my eyes every time I saw it.”
The James Stephens man was only on the losing side against Tipperary twice in eight meetings between 2009 and ’16. Camouflage — My Story by Eoin Larkin with Pat Nolan and published by Reach Sport will be launched in Langton’s Hotel, Kilkenny this evening.
Tipperary defender Donagh Maher has retired from inter-county hurling. The Burgess club man played with the Premier over six seasons, picking up All-Ireland medals in 2016 and 2019.
“The time has come for me to move onto the next chapter of my life,” said Maher. “It was a huge privilege to play with Tipperary at all levels, one I thoroughly enjoyed.”