The All Ireland Final between Kilkenny and Tipperary takes place this weekend so there’s no time like the present to remember a titanic tussle between the sides.
There have been many memorable clashes between Kilkenny and Tipperary over the years, but in terms of sheer entertainment, 2009 stands out by a country mile.
The clash had everything; a sending off, a disputed penalty, blistering saves, bone-crunching tackles and neither side giving an inch.
The first installment of the trilogy, it was hailed as one the greatest All Ireland finals in the modern era. Tipperary were handed the daunting task of stopping Kilkenny’s bid for four successive All-Ireland titles.
The game started off at a blistering pace. Henry Shefflin’s effort on goal was superbly blocked by Brendan Cummins. Lar Corbett and Eoin Kelly were keeping the Kilkenny backs busy at the other end.
Both teams matched each other score for score and were level seven times in the first half. Kilkenny got five of the last six scores in the first half so held a slight advantage going in at the interval.
The second half would prove the more dramatic . PJ Ryan, who would later collect the Man Of The Match award for his performance, pulled off a monumental save from Seamus Callanan. Callanan scored the next two points to bring the sides level. Tipperary went a point ahead thanks to Shane McGrath’s effort.
A red card was issued to Benny Dunne after his pull across Tommy Walsh’s helmet. Tipperary, despite this, drove on and led 0-21 to 0-19 when a controversial penalty was given to Kilkenny.
Henry Shefflin took care of matters and Kilkenny led. Martin Comerford got Kilkenny’s second goal which was the killer blow.
Eoin Larkin sealed the deal for Kilkenny with the next two points and Kilkenny once again reached the promised land.
Ashling Dalton, Pundit Arena.
Featured Image By visentico (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.