Tipperary crowned All-Ireland champions, Ken Early on VAR

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Séamus Callanan heads down the Croke Park tunnel with Liam MacCarthy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Séamus Callanan heads down the Croke Park tunnel with Liam MacCarthy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tipperary are All-Ireland senior hurling champions for the 28th time, after they beat great rivals Kilkenny 3-25 to 0-20 in Croke Park yesterday afternoon. After an even first-half Liam Sheedy’s side blew away the Cats after the break, outscoring them 2-16 to 0-9 to lift Liam MacCarthy for the third time this decade. A tight encounter - in which the Dublin weather flickered between heavy rain and glorious sunshine - turned on the 33rd-minute sending off of Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan, and Tipp more than made the extra man count. Malachy Clerkin writes: “The over-arching question at the break was what damage the red card would do to Kilkenny, and it took no more than jig-time to get an answer. Tipperary didn’t so much get a run on them as inhabit them. They invaded Kilkenny’s personal space, insulted the very idea of it.” Meanwhile Keith Duggan writes that Sunday’s victory means this Tipp side will surely go down as one of the county’s greatest: “Just like that, this complicated generation of Tipperary hurlers come shouldering into contention as worthy heirs to the ghosts of the 1950s and 1960s, those tough and brill-creamed forefathers against whom they are constantly compared.” And Nicky English suggests the tide of the match was already turning in Tipp’s favour before the sending off - and he pays tribute to Sheedy and his side: “The slickness of the hurling has been obvious but the power of the defence is really what Tipperary have brought to Croke Park in the last month with the full ferocity of the county’s traditional back play: great in the air and physically powerful, they have built the platform.”

Elsewhere Frank Lampard is still searching for the first win of his Chelsea tenure, after the Blues were held 1-1 by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge yesterday. Chelsea took an early lead through Mason Mount but had to settle for a draw after Wilfred Ndidi’s 67th minute equaliser. In the day’s earlier kick-off, promoted Sheffield United beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Bramall Lane thanks to John Lundstram’s goal just after half-time. Tonight, Manchester United travel to play Wolves at Molineux (kick-off 8pm). Meanwhile in his column this morning Ken Early has looked at ongoing controversy surrounding VAR, following Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Saturday evening. City had a late winner chalked off for dubious Aymeric Laporte handball, with the decision taking 75 seconds to make. He writes: “The bigger question is why anyone would think these VAR calls - the type that led to dubious penalties being awarded out of the blue in the 2019 Champions League final and the 2018 World Cup final - represent an improvement on what went before.”

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