Final countdown: Cork’s Patrick Horgan gives Tipp the nod
There’s just something about Tipperary, Brian Cody’s remarkable longevity
Patrick Horgan has given Tipperary the nod ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
The outside inside view
Patrick Horgan scored a hat-trick for Cork against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland quarter-final, 3-10, and still ended up on the losing side, 2-27- to 3-18. The last time this happened was Seamus Callanan in 2015, who scored a hat-trick for Tipperary as they lost to Galway.
Anyway, when asked by Sunday’s final showdown, Horgan showed no hesitation when opting for Tipperary, as well he might: “I think Tipp will win. I just think they have too many good players,” he said. “Kilkenny will try to swarm them obviously. But I think Tipp will be better than Limerick at getting the ball out of trouble, getting the ball over there 30 yards and you have three or four Kilkenny fellas here kind of planted, dead like. That’s what Tipp do like, that 30-40 yard strike pass.
“A hand pass will keep you in trouble but a strike pass...that’s what they did against us down in the Pairc the first day. We were kind of questioning ourselves after, ‘Jeez, our work rate wasn’t good enough’. But you can’t work if the ball is 40 yards away and you don’t have a hope of getting to it. So I think they’ll do it, yeah.
“There’s just something about Tipperary. Something went on with that Munster final as well. Like, being down in Limerick, I don’t know, did they leave it off or what? As soon as it started going against them, I don’t know, it’s hard to know.
“You can’t chase Tipp, you’re wasting your time chasing them. By the time you get to him they’re after striking it over there. Their movement is just brilliant, their backs and their forwards. In saying that we played all the hurling in the first-half against Kilkenny. Two points in it at half-time, you’re going, ‘Jeez, we’re after playing well there’. And they didn’t play well at all. And whatever happened for that 15 minutes I don’t know. We just couldn’t get the ball past the half-way line.”
By the numbers
66 - The number of senior All-Ireland hurling finals that Kilkenny have so far contested, winning 36, losing 26, and drawing four, more than any other county.
Cody’s incredible longevity
The first and last thing you’ll hear out of Brian Cody is that he never looks past his next game, but consider this: Sunday marks his 18th All-Ireland hurling final as Kilkenny manager, having already won 11, drawn two, and lost four, the last to Tipperary in 2016.
During that undisputed reign Cody has also won 15 Leinster titles, nine National Leagues, and seven Walsh Cups, making it 42 titles in all. Win or lose on Sunday, few people expect Cody is finished yet, this his 21st season in charge since being appointed as manager on November 16th 1998, the sole nomination for the position.
THE BRIAN CODY REIGN: AS KILKENNY MANAGER
1999: All-Ireland finalists; Leinster champions
2000: All-Ireland champions; Leinster champions
2001: Leinster champions 2002: All-Ireland champions; NHL champions; Leinster champions
2003: All-Ireland champions; NHL Champions; Leinster champions
2004: All-Ireland finalists
2005: NHL champions; Leinster champions; Walsh Cup winners
2006: All-Ireland champions; NHL champions; Leinster champions; Walsh Cup winners
2007: All-Ireland champions; Leinster champions; Walsh Cup winners
2008: All-Ireland champions; Leinster champions
2009: All-Ireland champions, NHL champions; Leinster champions; Walsh Cup winners
2010: All-Ireland finalists; Leinster champions
2011: All-Ireland champions; Leinster Champions
2012: All-Ireland champions; NHL champions; beaten Leinster finalists; Walsh Cup winners
2013: NHL champions
2014: All-Ireland champions; NHL champions; Leinster Champions; Walsh Cup winners
2015: All-Ireland champions; Leinster champions
2016: Leinster Champions; beaten All-Ireland finalists
2017: Walsh Cup winners
2018: NHL champions; beaten Leinster finalists
2019: Beaten Leinster finalists; All-Ireland finalists and...
Quote of the day
“I can tell you how I’m feeling and how the lads are feeling – you don’t want it. You don’t want this feeling because we know we possibly could have been there. And it hurts so badly because Wexford haven’t been there in 23 years and more than anything I wanted this team to get there” – Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald, after losing the All-Ireland semi-final to Tipperary.
As good as your last game
Sunday marks the 21st All-Ireland final meeting Tipperary and Kilkenny. Of the previous 20, Tipperary have won 11, Kilkenny have won 8, and there was one draw, back in 2014.
The last time they met in the final, in 2016, Tipperary won 2-29 to 2-10, their biggest final win over Kilkenny since 1964, when they won by 14 points. Sunday’s game contains a fair spread of players from that last meeting.
Captain Brendan Maher played an inspirational role, as he did when winning the minor title in 2007, and became the first player to captain any county to minor and senior hurling titles since Brian Cody, in 1972 and 1982.
Tipperary also became the first and still last reigning Munster champions to win the All-Ireland since Cork achieved the honour in 2005. Seamus Callanan was man of the match after scoring 0-13, including nine points from play, with John O’Dwyer hitting 1-5, and John McGrath adding 1-3 – making for 2-21, 2-15 from open play.
Kilkenny, without injured midfielder Michael Fennelly, saw goalkeeper Eoin Murphy pull off several clinical saves, just not enough. TJ Reid scored 0-11, Kevin Kelly 1-2 and Richie Hohan 1-1, but Tipperary finished with nine scorers in all, including Patrick Maher, Jason Forde, Noel McGrath, Padriac Maher, Dan McCormack and Seamus Kennedy.
It also proved to be a special day for the McGrath family, as Brian McGrath, younger brother of John and Noel, captained the Tipperary team to the minor title, a first Tipp double since 1949.