The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship has thrown up some fantastic moments this summer – as we’ve been whittled down to three counties that can lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup in September.
With Cork facing Waterford on Sunday to see who will face Galway for a crack at glory, we’ve outlined the top five moments of the championship so far this season – with some pulsating action still on offer before its conclusion.
5. Cork win the Munster title
The Rebels have been sensational so far in this year’s Championship – and the moment they won the Munster title they proved that the revival by the banks of the Lee was well and truly on. When the final whistle was blown seas of red flooded the field in one of the greatest moments for Cork hurling in recent times.
Under the guidance of Kieran Kingston Cork have succeeded in laying down a marker to the rest of the opposition in the quest for the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
4. Wexford shock Kilkenny in Leinster
Wexford have made massive improvements since the arrival of Davy Fitzgerald – epitomised none more so than on the night when they knocked Kilkenny out of the Leinster Championship.
Lee Chin, Conor McDonald and Sean Murphy among others were sensational – as it was a historic night for the Yellowbellies that sent shockwaves throughout the hurling world.
Although defeats to Galway and Waterford ended the summer for Wexford, this victory symbolised the potential of the county in years to come under the guidance of the former Clare goalkeeper.
3. Mikey Cahalane sinks Tipperary
Cork had turned up and really rattled Tipp in the Munster quarter-final. Many expected Michael Ryan’s men to brush aside the Rebels and go on to face Waterford in the semis – but Cork had other ideas.
The likes of Mark Coleman, Alan Cadogan, and Shane Kingston played out of their skin to put Cork in with a real shout of an upset – before Mikey Cahalane emerged from the bench to rattle the Tipperary net and secure a morale-boosting victory for Cork – kick-starting a summer of wonderful hurling and sensational upsets.
2. Waterford end their Kilkenny win-less streak
It’s been 59 years since Waterford won the All-Ireland, and it was that long since they beat Kilkenny in the championship too. Derek McGrath’s side looked to have bottled their opportunity to finally beat the Cats as they blew an eight-point lead in normal time to force an extra 20 minutes.
However, up stepped the sensational Jamie Barron and ever-reliable Maurice Shanahan to score two goals in the extra-period, knocking Kilkenny out of the championship and overcoming a massive psychological barrier for the Deise.
1. That point from Joe Canning
Seventy-four minutes on the clock in a tied semi-final at Croke Park. Johnny Coen receives the ball and turns to find Joe Canning, miles out on the sideline surrounded by a swarm of Tipperary players – Canning fires the ball out of the crowd, splitting the posts and sending the Westerners into raptures.
Barry Kelly blows the whistle a matter of seconds later – Joe Canning has proved to everybody that he is still one of the best hurlers in the country, and he could be the man to lead Galway to a first All-Ireland since the 1980s.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena
Check out the latest episode of The 16th Man, where we look ahead to the meeting of Cork and Waterford with a spot in the All-Ireland final there for the taking.