Kilkenny trample over Tipp tradition
Kilkenny 4-24 Tipperary 1-15:A DAY of days for Kilkenny. The All-Ireland champions came into yesterday’s GAA AllIreland hurling semi-final against their closest rivals of the past four years Tipperary, trailing questionable form and intimations of mortality.
They departed on course for a sixth All-Ireland in seven years and what would be a record ninth medal on the field for their talisman Henry Shefflin.
They also wrought a terrible devastation on the reputation of their opponents, who were left humiliated by their inability to stay with the champions’ second-half surge and worse, their lack of resistance as well as a meltdown on the part of their 2010 Hurler of the Year Lar Corbett.
This newspaper on Saturday remembered the elemental semi-final of 10 years ago when Kilkenny deposed Tipperary, but instead almost unbelievably, it turned into the 2003 version when the Tipp were annihilated. Like nine years ago, the Munster team led at half-time, but disintegrated in the second half.
Kilkenny looked under pressure at half-time, but intensified their performance and simply blew holes in Tipperary’s challenge.
You could take your pick of the statistics, but there’s no real need to go beyond the winners out-scoring the opposition in the second half by 3-15 to 0-5.
There was an extensive period in the second half when the Tipperary forwards didn’t win a single ball. Like orchard workers in the autumn Brian Hogan and Tommy Walsh plucked down as much as they could grab and tossed it back up to the forwards, who were now displaying the feral hunger we hadn’t seen from them for most of the summer.
Although the Munster champions had good reason to feel pleased leading by 1-10 to 1-9 at the break there had been signs that this could be a torrid afternoon.
There was a hare-brained indiscipline in the air, as gormless machismo led to flash-fights sparking in various areas of the field. Much of the contention swirled around Corbett, who was marked by his nemesis of last year Jackie Tyrrell, but who seemed to want to be marked by Walsh.
Ignoring the reality that marking, like courting, requires an element of consent, Corbett followed Walsh around leading to cluttered scenarios where the four of them – including Pa Bourke who actually was being marked by Walsh – were wandering around in close proximity, most absurdly in the early stages of the second half when they looked to be conducting a conference in the corner between the Cusack and Davin Stands.