As weeks go, it hasn’t been a bad one for Tipperary.
Last Sunday, their senior hurlers lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup after a 14-point victory over Kilkenny and just six days later, their U20 side recorded an 11-point win over rivals Cork to become the inaugural All-Ireland champions at the grade.
It was an emphatic performance from start to finish as Liam Cahill’s side put five goals past the Rebels, the first coming after just 16 seconds and their last in the closing minutes. Man-of-the-match Billy Seymour registered 2-5 on the day while Tipperary’s senior trio of Jake Morris, Jerome Cahill and Paddy Cadell were in scintillating form.
Speaking after the game, Cahill maintained that the momentum gained from the senior win last weekend brought extra hunger to the U20 side.
“[I’m] thrilled for the players, really. They put in a super performance. We were true to their word when we put our thoughts together over the last couple of weeks. The last week had been phenomenal.
“I knew by the way they were training. Like, Tuesday night, Jerome, Paddy, and Jake came back and they were hopping off the sod. Fellas that had won a senior All-Ireland two days previously.
“It was just an absolute credit to them, they came with real intent last Tuesday night. We played 12 or 14 minutes of a match and it was as good a quality as I’ve ever seen.
“I said ‘if these fellas are beaten Saturday I’ll throw my hat at it.’ It’s easy to say that I suppose when you win, but that’s the feeling I had. I’m just thrilled for the players. They’re a marvellous bunch of young men. They just absolutely embrace everything we’re about.”
A crowd of 18,652 filtered through the gates in LIT Gaelic Grounds for the highly anticipated clash, many of which were still arriving 10 minutes into the game due to the heavy traffic.
Latecomers may have questioned the validity of the scoreboard which read 4-01 to 0-4 by that stage.
It was a sensational start to the game for the Tipperary side that put eight goals past Wexford in the semi-final earlier this month. After Seymour’s goal in the opening seconds, Andrew Ormond buried their second after a blistering run from Morris. Seymour added another less than a minute later before Cahill rounded off their fourth after just seven minutes.
Cahill knew that this team were capable of producing a special performance but even he couldn’t have dreamed of such an awesome start to the game.
“All-Ireland Final Day, you dream of starts like that. But, as I said, without sounding anyway arrogant in any way shape or form, they were giving me all them vibes all the week up to the match.”
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 24, 2019
There was a real sense of déjà vu akin to Saturday night’s comprehensive victory. Back in 2010, a Tipperary U21 team bolstered by senior stars, Michael Cahill, Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath, and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher, scored 5-22 on their way to beating Galway in the final, six days after lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
The county were expected to dominate the hurling scene for the next decade, however, despite three final appearances, they would have to wait six years for their next senior victory while 2018 marked their first U21 All-Ireland title since that night.
Tipperary have serious talent running through this current young team from Craig Morgan and Bryan O’Mara in defence to Seymour and Ormond up front, not to mention the three senior panellists.
Cahill is hopeful that such stars will work towards establishing themselves on the senior panel and won’t fall into the trap of 2010.
“There are some players in there now who have minor, U20, U21, and Senior All-Irelands. And, you know what, they’re still only 20 years of age.
“It’s very volatile. They’ve achieved a lot very young, so it’s case of them keeping their wits about them. Please God they will step up to senior, which the majority of them will, it’s about managing that and making sure they don’t get ahead of themselves.
“We’ve been known to do that in Tipp down the years. I hope this won’t be a repeat of 2010.”