Hurling is one of the most skilful field games, and also one of the fastest. It’s highly dangerous when played as it was by some of the protagonists in Sunday’s All-Ireland senior semi-final.
Kilkenny and Tipperary went at it from the word go with, let’s say, zeal. Referee McAllister adopted a softly softly approach. He could have gone for a multiple of yellows, maybe even red a or two, early on, but who would have wanted that? A word here, a tick there and a yellow for just one player was how the Corkman sorted out the early skirmishes.
McAllister finished the 70 minutes with seven names in his book, but gave the ultimate sanction to no-one. Benefiting from several television re-runs from a variety of angles, this writer couldn’t understand it how no-one saw red. Well, some did - but it was the red of rage as they lashed out with reckless abandon. One particular blow to the head had you thanking God the use of helmets had been made compulsory. Yes, it’s a man’s game, but when played like this a very dangerous one.
Kilkenny didn’t so much win as beat Tipp into submission. A point down at the interval, they finished by doubling their arch-rivals 18-point total. Now they face Galway in a repeat of the Leinster final, which the men from the West won.
There hasn’t been an All-Ireland final played in the last six years in which Kilkenny weren’t involved. Cody’s side lost only one of those, but are unlikely to lose the next one. Galway and their talisman, Joe Canning, will have to settle for that historic Leinster win of a number of weeks back