Croke Park Finds Its Heroes

Published in The Journal Newspaper – Edinburgh 10 Oct 2012

Two counties per year get to boast winning the ultimate title in Irish sport. They secure that privilege for one year only, then they must start from the bottom once again, everyone an equal. Neighbouring counties pitted against neighbouring counties. All must take to Croke Park to fight it out on the playing field for that revered crowning of All Ireland Champions.

Last week, Galway stepped forward to attempt to tame the Cats in a glorious All Ireland Hurling Final. In front of 82,274 supporters, it was Kilkenny who returned home with the McCarthy Cup to place once again upon their mantelpiece where it has sat seven times since 2000. Incredibly, this is their 34th All Ireland title. The final score read Kilkenny 3-22 to Galway’s 3-11.

Galway had their head in the game from the early stages, leading 2-2 to 0-5 at one stage. But the ever capable Kilkenny machine retaliated quickly. Donnellan got a straight red card for a dirty pull in the 49th minute and the tragedy for the Galway supporters transpired from there. A nice nine points from the legendary Henry Shefflin as well as a goal and three points from Walter Walsh in his championship debut meant that with 20 minutes left, Galway were goners.

In the All Ireland Senior Championship Football final, Donegal finally laid their hands on the Sam Maguire Cup after a twenty year fast, defeating James Horan’s Mayo squad. Donegal obtained three scores in the opening eleven minutes with a goal-a-piece by Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden. Donegal played a superbly smart game with wing-back Anthony Johnson at the core of it. Donegal’s manager McGuiness is praised for creating a new style of play that critics are saying will be difficult for other teams to replicate.

As for the ladies, Wexford triumphed over Cork in the All Ireland Senior Camogie Championship. They made it three in a row, with the score card reading Wexford 3-13, Cork 3-6.

In typical Irish fashion, with the season barely over it is straight back to the grind and time to plan for the 2013 season. Thirty-three teams will compete for the Sam Maguire Cup, while fifteen line up in the race for the Liam McCarthy.

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