2010 was Tipperary’s year. The Premier County reached the holy grail and clinched the Liam McCarthy Cup, in the process putting an abrupt halt to Kilkenny’s ‘drive for five’.
Brian Cody’s Cats were on for five in a row in an era of pure dominance. Having beaten Tipp in the previous year’s All-Ireland final in an enthralling encounter, not many would have bet against Henry Shefflin, Tommy Walsh and co. completing the unprecedented five All-Ireland titles in a row coming in to the first Sunday of September 2010.
As events unfolded that afternoon in Croke Park, it was clear from the start that this Tipp team weren’t going to lie down for their fiercest rivals. Liam Sheedy and his backroom team had devised a game-plan which exploited the Noresiders like we hadn’t seen before.
Tipp had a shaky start to their championship campaign in 2010, going down in comprehensive fashion to Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the opening round of Munster. Sheedy steadied the ship with a few positional changes and the Premier came in under the radar through the qualifiers, quietly plodding along while all the time building momentum.
By the time they were set to lock horns with Kilkenny in a rematch of the 2009 final, a tension was built up between the two counties which attracted the excitement of hurling fans the world over. The showdown proved to be as thrilling as all had hoped and will be remembered most fondly as the day that year’s Hurler of the Year grabbed a hat-trick of stunning goals.
The Thurles Sarsfields corner-forward was the first man to raise three green flags in an All-Ireland final since Eddie O’Brien had done so for Cork all the way back in 1970.
Test your GAA knowledge and see how many of Tipperary’s starting 15 from the 2010 All-Ireland final, which they won 4-17 to 1-18, you can name in four minutes.
Aaron Ward, Pundit Arena