Archive for All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship

All-Ireland Hurling Final Day

Posted in GAA with tags , , , , , on December 13, 2020 by telescoper

As the absurd Pantomime of Brexit negotiations continues and I prepare for a very busy final week of an exhausting term I’m taking this afternoon off to watch the final of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship from Croke Park in Dublin. The final is between Limerick and Waterford, and is in effect a re-run of the 2020 Munster provincial final, which was won by Limerick. (The winners of the Leinster and Munster Provincial championships go straight into the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Championship, while the runners-up play in the Quarter-Finals).

The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final usually takes place in August or September, but this year’s competition has been rescheduled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was raining very heavily overnight and into this morning in the Dublin are but the bad weather has cleared so I’m looking forward to a good match. According to the bookies, Limerick are strong favourites at 4/9 with Waterford at 5/2. Throw-in is at 3.30pm. The match will be played in a largely empty Croke Park, which means the atmosphere won’t be the same as in front of a crowd of 80,000 but I hope it will be enjoyable nonetheless. I’m not going to live blog the match but will update at half time and at the end.

As a bonus, the main event is preceded by the final of the Joe McDonagh Cup which is the second tier of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. This year’s final is between Antrim and Kerry. Antrim were strong favourites before the match and began the match better of the two teams, but Kerry fought back well from a poor start to lead 1-07 to 0-9 at half time.

UPDATE: Half-time Limerick 0-14 Waterford 0-11. The scoreline doesn’t really reflect Limerick’s dominance, but Waterford are doing well to stay in the game. Only three points in it. I still think Limerick will win.

UPDATE: Full-time Limerick 0-30 Waterford 0-19. Limerick just too strong for Waterford, who had no answer to the relentless accuracy of Limerick’s shooting from long range. Limerick’s defence also impressive, nullifying the threat from Waterford’s full forwards. Congratulations to Limerick.

Yesterday’s Irish Times prediction has aged well…

On the GAA

Posted in Biographical, History, Sport with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2020 by telescoper

Since moving to Ireland almost three years ago I have (somewhat unexpectedly) become a fan of GAA and regularly watch both hurling and Gaelic football on the TV, which is quite often.

Ireland is very keen on sports generally, with big followings for both rugby and soccer but, at least in terms of attendances, hurling and Gaelic football are by far the most popular sports in Ireland. That’s quite remarkable because these are entirely amateur games. One of the great things about the GAA is that it’s a real grass roots organization, where even games between local clubs can attract very big crowds. (I’m talking about the pre-Covid era there, obviously.) The players tend to be local and there’s a strong involvement of the community in the local clubs.

Hurling is my favourite GAA sport – the level of skill on display is truly awesome and it’s played at an amazingly fast tempo – but I do watch the football when I can too and am more gradually getting into it. Incidentally, these two sports are played on the same pitches with the same goals and the same number of players on each side (15) and have basically the same rules – with a player’s hurley (stick) in hurling being in one-to-one correspondence as far as the rules are concerned with a player’s foot in Gaelic football. The ball of course is bigger in football; the small one used in hurling is called a sliotar. Scoring is the same in both: 1 point getting the ball between the two posts over the bar as in rugby and a goal (3 points) for getting the ball into the back of the net below the bar.

I took a break in the early afternoon yesterday to watch the All Ireland Quarter Final match in the hurling between Galway and Tipperary, an entertaining match played in fine weather which was won by Galway 3-23 to 2-24. Later on, I settled down to watch the Leinster provincial final between Dublin and Meath live from Croke Park in the evening. Given that this match was on the same day as Bloody Sunday it was preceded by a solemn commemoration of those that died a hundred years ago which I thought was beautifully done. Here’s a video tribute made by the GAA itself, played at the end of the pre-match commemoration along with specially-composed music.

After the match there was a wreath-laying ceremony involving the players which was unfortunately spoiled on the television broadcast by a commentator who talked all the way over it.

The match itself was a very one-sided affair, which was effectively all over by half time (when the score was Dublin 2-12 Meath 0-2). It ended Dublin 3-21 Meath 0-9, which is a margin of 21 points: quite a thrashing for Meath. I’m not an expert, but the Dublin side were far more mobile and inventive than Meath and thoroughly deserved their win.

There wasn’t a crowd of course. I think the commemorative event would have been even more emotional if there had been. Watching the actual match though it struck me that we’re all getting used to watching sport in an empty stadium. It’s probably going to take some getting used to the noise when (if) live audiences eventually return.

UPDATE: Tipperary beat Cork in Munster final this afternoon to win it for the first time in 85 years. The team were wearing replica jerseys of those worn by the Tipperary team that played Dublin in 1920.

After all the provincial finals, including a surprise win for Cavan over Donegal in Ulster, the four teams in the semi-finals of the All Ireland Senior Football Championship in 2020 is exactly the same as it was in 1920. The final, between Dublin and Tipperary, was not played until 1922.

(The match played on Bloody Sunday was a Challenge Match not part of the Championship.

All-Ireland Hurling Finals Day

Posted in Sport with tags , , on August 19, 2018 by telescoper

Just a quick post to note that today is a huge day on the sporting calendar here in Ireland. It’s the final of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship, which will be between holders Galway and Limerick, in front of 80,000 at Croke Park in Dublin.

It will take some doing for this match to be as exciting as the Semi-Final I watched a few weeks ago in a pub in Maynooth, but you never know. That game ended in a draw, and Galway won the Replay. The other semifinal was also a cracker, with Limerick winning in extra time. Galway are favourites to win the game, but there seems to be more support around these parts for the green of Limerick than the maroon of Galway.

Anyway, if you’re bored this afternoon, and have access to cable or satellite TV, then I suggest having a look. If you’ve never seen hurling before then the first thing that strikes you is the phenomenal speed at which the game is played. The sliotar (ball) can travel from one end of the pitch to the other in a second and the players have to be extremely fit. Brave too. This is definitely not a game for faint hearts!

There was heavy rain last night but it has passed over and it should be a good game. I’m sure the atmosphere will be brilliant in the stadium, but Ill be happy to watch in the pub (although it’s sure to be crowded).

UPDATE: Half-time Galway 0-9 Limerick 1-10, the underdogs ahead by 4 points. Frenetic and rather scrappy game with lots of wides. Exciting to watch though. I’m up by two pints of Guinness.

UPDATE: Full-time Galway 2-18 Limerick 3-16. Most of the second half was rather one-sided. When Limerick scored their third goal and went 8 points clear I thought it was all over, but suddenly Galway scored two goals and were right back in it. Nerves jangling, Limerick managef to survive eight minutes of stoppage time. Galway had a free at the end that could have tied the scores but it fell short. Exciting finish but Limerick worthy winners, if only by a single point!

Hurling Today

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2018 by telescoper

This afternoon I had my first experience of watching hurling. I have seen clips of action before, but never a whole game. What a game to start with!

I didn’t actually get to Croke Park to see Galway versus Clare in the All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final but I did the next best thing, which is to watch it in a pub with a few pints of Guinness and a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd.

If you’ve never seen hurling before then the first thing that strikes you is the phenomenal speed at which the game is played. The sliotar (ball) can travel from one end of the pitch to the other in a second and the players have to be extremely fit. Brave too. This is definitely not a game for faint hearts!

Anyway, the game started at 5pm and for the first 15 minutes or so Galway were all over Clare, scoring a goal and 7 points to Clare’s solitary point. It looked like being a very one-sided game, but gradually Clare clawed their way back, so that at half time it was Galway 1-10 to Clare 0-9, a lead of 4 (a goal is worth three points).

The second half saw the Clare fightback continue, and at full time it was level scoring, 1-23 to 0-26. Extra time followed, during which Clare scored a goal, but it ended 1-30 versus 1-30. There will be a replay.

It was raining heavily at the end and both teams looked exhausted but it was immensely exciting to watch, even if it did make me late getting home for dinner.

UPDATE: The second semi-final (on Sunday) was also a cracker that also went to extra time. It finished Limerick 3-32 Cork 2-31. Limerick will play whoever wins the replay of the above match.