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  • Sat 31 Jan 2015
  • 11:00amMinor F.C. Roinn A
    Winner of S/Final vs. Mooncoin TBC
  • 12:00pmI.F.L.
    Rower Inistioge vs. Dicksboro The Rower
  • 2:00pmUnder-16 F.C.
    Roinn B
    St Fiacres vs. St Martin's Dr Tierney Park
  • 2:00pmJ.F.L.
    Tullogher Rosbercon vs. Graignamanagh Tullogher
  • 2:00pmJ.F.L.
    Carrickshock vs. Young Irelands Hugginstown
  • 2:00pmConnacht GAA Tain
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    Salthill-Knocknacarra vs. Roscommon Gaels Salthill-Knocknacarra
  • 2:00pmConnacht GAA Tain
    League Division 2 2015
    Western Gaels vs. Carrick Hurling Club (St Marys) Connacht GAA Centre 3G Pitch
  • 2:00pmConnacht GAA Tain
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  • 2:00pmConnacht GAA Tain
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    Ballinasloe GAA vs. Castlebar Mitchels Hurling Ballinasloe
  • 2:00pm2015 Ulster Senior
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    Naomh Seamas vs. Dungannon Thomas Clarkes St James'
  • 2:00pmConnacht GAA Tain
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    Cluainin Iomaint vs. Tuarloistreáin/Tourlestrane Stenson Park
  • 2:00pmU14.F.L.R.B.
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  • 2:00pm2015 Hasting Cup
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  • 3:00pmConnacht GAA Tain
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  • 3:00pm2015 Ulster Senior
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  • 3:00pm2015 Ulster
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  • 3:30pmAll County
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  • 7:00pmAllianz Football
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  • 7:00pmAll County
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  • 8:00pmConnacht GAA Tain
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    St. Dominics vs. Sylane Connacht GAA Centre 3G Pitch
  • Sun 01 Feb 2015
  • 11:00am2015 Ulster Senior
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  • 11:00amMinor F.C. Roinn C
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  • 11:00amU21 C North
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  • 11:15am2015 Ulster
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  • 11:30amAll County
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  • 11:30amAll County
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  • 11:30amAll County
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  • 11:30amAll County
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  • 11:30amAll County
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  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster Senior
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  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster
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    Brackaville Owen Roes vs. Dromara Brackaville
  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster
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  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster
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  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster
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  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster
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    Droim Ratha an tSáirsealaigh vs. Derrylaughan Kevin Barry's GAC Drumragh
  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster
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    An Ríocht vs. St Marys Slaughtmanus GAC Cookstown
  • 12:00pm2015 Ulster
    Intermediate Football Club League
    Owen Roe O`Neill's GAC, Leckpatrick vs. Kildress Wolfe Tones Pairc an Ghleanna
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    Enniskillen Gaels vs. Erne Gaels Belleek Brewster Park
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
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  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    Knockninny Gaels vs. Tempo Maguires
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    St. Gerard's vs. Derrygonnelly Harps
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    Belcoo O`Rahilly's vs. Maguiresbridge St Mary's Belcoo
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    Newtownbutler First Fermanaghs vs. Devenish St Mary's Newtownbutler GAA
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    Brookeboro Heber McMahons vs. St Patrick's Donagh Brookeboro
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    Coa O`Dwyer's vs. Kinawley Brian Borus Coa
  • 12:00pmMinor Football
    League 2015 Sections
    Belnaleck Art McMurroughs vs. Irvinestown St Molaises Belnaleck
  • 12:00pmU21 Football
    Championship
    St Patrick's vs. Na Fianna Minor Club Edenderry Main Grounds
  • 12:00pmU21 Football
    Championship
    St Manchan's Gaels vs. Wheery Tubber
  • 1:00pmAll County
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    Curraha vs. Boardsmill Curraha
  • 1:00pm2015 Ulster
    Intermediate Football Club League
    Drum vs. Belcoo O`Rahilly's Owenbeg
  • 2:00pmSenior Hurling
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    Athenry vs. Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry Raheen
  • 2:00pmAll County
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    Seneschalstown vs. Blackhall Gaels Seneschalstown
  • 2:00pmS.F.L.
    Conahy Shamrocks vs. Glenmore Jenkinstown
  • 2:00pmS.F.L.
    Mullinavat vs. Railyard GFC Mullinavat
  • 2:00pmS.F.L.
    Mooncoin vs. St. Patrick's Mooncoin
  • 2:00pmS.F.L.
    Kilmoganny vs. Clara Dunnamaggin
  • 2:00pmS.F.L.
    O`Loughlin Gaels vs. Muckalee St. John's Park
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 1 2015
    Cork vs. Dublin Páirc Uí Rinn
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 1 2015
    Kerry vs. Mayo Fitzgerald Stadium
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 2 2015
    Galway vs. Meath Pearse Stadium
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 2 2015
    Roscommon vs. Cavan Kiltoom
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 2 2015
    Westmeath vs. Laois Cusack Park, Mullingar
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 2 2015
    Kildare vs. Down Newbridge
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 3 2015
    Clare vs. Wexford Miltown Malbay
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 3 2015
    Limerick vs. Sligo Kilmallock
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 3 2015
    Armagh vs. Tipperary Athletic Grounds
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 4 2015
    London vs. Offaly Ruislip
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 4 2015
    Leitrim vs. Longford Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada
  • 2:00pmAllianz Football
    League Roinn 4 2015
    Antrim vs. Carlow Pairc Naomh Pól
  • 2:00pmBord Na Mona Kehoe
    Cup SH 2015
    Meath vs. Longford Trim
  • 2:00pmBord Na Mona Kehoe
    Cup SH 2015
    Louth vs. St Patricks-Mater Dei Darver
  • 2:00pmBord Na Mona Kehoe
    Cup SH 2015
    Wicklow vs. Maynooth University Greystones
  • 2:00pmBord Na Mona Kehoe
    Cup SH 2015
    Fingal vs. Kildare IT Blanchardstown GAA Pitch
  • 2:00pmBord Na Mona Walsh
    Cup SH 2015
    Carlow vs. Galway Dr. Cullen Park
  • 2:00pmBord Na Mona Walsh
    Cup SH 2015
    Laois vs. Dublin Portlaoise
  • 2:00pmAIB GAA Football
    All Ireland Junior Club Championship 14/15
    Brosna vs. Rock St Patrick's Ballinasloe
  • 3:00pmAll County
    Football A League
    Kilmainham vs. St Brigid's Kilmainham
  • Mon 02 Feb 2015
  • 12:00pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League Senior D
    Drumshambo VS vs. Jesus & Mary Secondary Enniscrone A: Connacht GAA Centre
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football Championship Junior A
    St. Attractas Community School Tubbercurry vs. St Geralds, Castlebar Swinford GAA Club
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football Championship Junior A
    St Colmans, Claremorris vs. StMuredeachs Kiltimagh GAA Club
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football Championship Junior B
    Ballyhaunis Community School vs. St. Clare`s Comprehensive Manorhamilton Tubbercurry GAA
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fergal Maher Cup 2015
    Institute of Technology Sligo vs. DkIT IT Sligo Grounds
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 1 Championship 2015
    St Mary's University College vs. Ulster University Jordanstown St Genevieves High School Belfast
  • 7:00pmMinor F.C. Roinn A
    Dicksboro vs. O`Loughlin Gaels Palmerstown
  • 7:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Ryan Cup 2015
    Athlone Institute of Technology vs. Queens University Belfast AIT GAA Pitch
  • 7:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Trench Cup 2015
    Cavan Institute vs. Marino Institiute of Education 3G Pitch Kingspan Breffni PK
  • Tue 03 Feb 2015
  • 11:30amConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football Championship Senior B
    Presentation College Headford vs. Carrick-on-Shannon Community School Connacht GAA Centre 3G Pitch
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 2 Championship 2015
    Mary Immaculate College Limerick vs. Limerick IT MICL Grounds
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 3 Championship 2015
    G.M.I.T. vs. Athlone Institute of Technology Carnmore Hurling Club
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 3 Championship 2015
    Institute of Technology Sligo vs. Cork Institute of Technology TBC
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 3 Championship 2015
    Maynooth University vs. Dublin City University Maynooth University North Campus
  • 2:45pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Sigerson Cup 2015
    Institute of Technology Tralee vs. IT Carlow IT Tralee GAA Pitche
  • 3:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Sigerson Cup 2015
    University College Dublin vs. Athlone Institute of Technology Belfield
  • 6:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Sigerson Cup 2015
    Maynooth University vs. University of Limerick Maynooth University North Campus
  • 7:00pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League Senior A
    Summerhill College Sligo vs. Roscommon CBS Connacht GAA Centre 3G Pitch
  • 7:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Corn Comhairle Ardoideachais 2015
    St Patricks College Thurles vs. Galway T.I
  • 7:30pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Senior Hurling League Division 2 2014/15
    Ulster University Jordanstown vs. N.U.I. Galway TBC
  • 8:00pm2015 Ulster Senior
    Football Club League
    Ballinderry vs. Lavey Ballinderry
  • 8:00pmS.F.L.
    Thomastown vs. James Stephens Piltown
  • Wed 04 Feb 2015
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League Senior D
    Colaiste Cholmcille, Indreabhain vs. St Cuans Loughgeorge Galway
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football Championship Senior B
    St. Mary`s College Galway vs. St. Joseph`s College Galway Eire Og
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football Championship Senior B
    Holy Rosary College Mountbellew vs. Ballinamore Secondary School Elphin GAA Club
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Sigerson Cup 2015
    Ulster University Jordanstown vs. Dublin City University Jordanstown
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Hurling Division 1 Championship 2015
    Dublin Institute of Technology vs. Mary Immaculate College Limerick Parnells GAA Club
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Hurling Division 1 Championship 2015
    Maynooth University vs. St Patricks-Mater Dei Maynooth University North Campus
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Corn na Mac Leinn 2015
    The Law School vs. RCSI The Law School
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Corn na Mac Leinn 2015
    National College of Ireland vs. G.M.I.T. Mayo Clontarf GAA
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
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    Cadets vs. Ulster University Magee McDonagh Pitch
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Corn na Mac Leinn 2015
    G.M.I.T. Letterfrack vs. N.W.R.C. Letterfrack
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Ryan Cup 2015
    Institute of Technology Tralee vs. Institute of Technology Tallaght IT Tralee GAA Pitche
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher 'B' Football Championship 2015
    Ulster University Jordanstown vs. University of Limerick TBC
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher 'B' Football Championship 2015
    Queens University Belfast vs. Dublin Institute of Technology The Dub
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher 'B' Football Championship 2015
    Dublin City University vs. University College Cork Dublin City University Sportsgrounds
  • 3:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher 'B' Football Championship 2015
    University College Dublin vs. N.U.I. Galway Belfield
  • 3:30pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Sigerson Cup 2015
    N.U.I. Galway vs. St Mary's University College Dangan
  • Thu 05 Feb 2015
  • 12:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher 'B' Hurling Championship 2015
    Dublin Institute of Technology vs. Limerick IT Parnells GAA Club
  • 12:30pmMayo Post Primary
    Senior Hurling Competition
    St. Gerald`s College vs. St Colmans Claremorris Connacht GAA Centre 3G Pitch
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League 1st Year A
    St. Jarlath`s College Tuam vs. St. Colman`s College Milltown GAA Club
  • 1:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fitzgibbon Cup 2015
    University of Limerick vs. G.M.I.T. UL Grounds
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fergal Maher Cup 2015
    G.M.I.T. Letterfrack vs. St Mary's University College Letterfrack
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fergal Maher Cup 2015
    Galway/Roscommon ETB vs. Marino Institiute of Education
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fergal Maher Cup 2015
    Cork Colleges of Further Education vs. Institute of Technology Sligo Colaiste Stiofain Naofa
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Corn Comhairle Ardoideachais 2015
    Belfast Metropolitan College vs. Stranmillis UC GFC
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 2 Championship 2015
    Waterford Institute of Technology vs. Institute of Technology Tralee Carriganore
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 2 Championship 2015
    Institute of Technology Tallaght vs. DkIT Thomas Davis All Weather Pitch
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Corn Padraig Mac Diarmada 2015
    Letterkenny Institute of Technology vs. Instititute of Technology Blanchardstown Letterkenny Institute of Technology
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fitzgibbon Cup 2015
    St Patricks-Mater Dei vs. Cork Institute of Technology St Pats
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fitzgibbon Cup 2015
    University College Dublin vs. Dublin City University Belfield
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fitzgibbon Cup 2015
    Dublin Institute of Technology vs. Limerick IT Parnells GAA Club
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 2 Championship 2015
    Instititute of Technology Blanchardstown vs. St Patrick's College IT Blanchardstown GAA Pitch
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 1 Championship 2015
    Maynooth University vs. University of Limerick Maynooth University North Campus
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 1 Championship 2015
    G.M.I.T. vs. St Mary's University College/Ulster University Jordanstown TBC
  • 2:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Corn Comhairle Ardoideachais 2015
    Winner of Round 1 vs. Mater Dei
  • 2:30pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 1 Championship 2015
    Dublin Institute of Technology vs. University College Dublin St. David's CBS
  • 2:30pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fitzgibbon Cup 2015
    Mary Immaculate College Limerick vs. Waterford Institute of Technology MICL Grounds
  • 2:30pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fitzgibbon Cup 2015
    N.U.I. Galway vs. University College Cork N.U.I. Galway
  • 2:30pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fresher Football Division 1 Championship 2015
    Cork Institute of Technology/Dublin City University vs. University College Cork Dublin City University Sportsgrounds
  • 7:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Ryan Cup 2015
    St Patricks College Thurles vs. Athlone Institute of Technology Templetuohy
  • 7:00pmIndependent.ie HE
    GAA Fitzgibbon Cup 2015
    Maynooth University vs. IT Carlow Maynooth University North Campus
  • Fri 06 Feb 2015
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League Juvenile B
    Carrick-on-Shannon Community School vs. Ballyhaunis Community School Ballyleague
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League Juvenile D
    Winner of Semi-Final 1 vs. Winner of Semi-Final 2
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League Juvenile B
    Winner of Section B vs. Winner of Quarter Final 1
  • 12:30pmConnacht GAA Post
    Primary Football League Juvenile B
    Winner of Section C vs. Winner of Quarter Final 2
  • 7:45pm2015 Hasting Cup
    Tipperary vs. Laois Crettyard GAA Club
  • 8:00pmDivision 1
    Football League
    Tubber vs. Beal Atha Chomair Tubber
  • 8:00pmDivision 1
    Football League
    Rhode vs. Na Seamróga Rhode
  • 8:00pmDivision 2
    Football League
    Walsh Island vs. Shannonbridge Walsh Island
  • 8:00pmDivision 2
    Football League
    Erin Rovers GAA Club vs. Tullamore/An Tulach Mhór Pullough
  • 8:00pmDivision 2
    Football League
    Pairc de Grás/Gracefield vs. Bracknagh Gracefield
  • 8:00pmAll County
    Football B League
    Simonstown vs. Skryne Simonstown
  • 8:00pmAll County
    Football B League
    Donaghmore/Ashbourne vs. Duleek-Bellewstown Ashbourne
  • 8:00pmAll County
    Football B League
    Nobber vs. Blackhall Gaels Nobber
  • 8:00pmAll County
    Football B League
    Longwood vs. Boardsmill Longwood
  • 8:00pmAll County
    Football B League
    St Mary's vs. Dunderry Donore
  • 8:00pmAll County
    Football B League
    Ballinlough vs. Meath Hill Ballinlough
  • 8:15pm2015 Ulster
    Intermediate Football Club League
    Steelstown vs. St Colman's Drumaness Owenbeg
View all Fixtures & Results >
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Daily News


On The Line: Dónal Óg Cusack On Hurling

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

SEPTEMBER MEANS STRIPES

All these years living under the rule of Kilkenny. It’s getting hard to remember any other time. Hard to remember another way. September means stripes. Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome but even those of us who have lost to them and been trampled by them, we have come to appreciate them.

I’ve been to Nowlan Park for some good days and I’ve been there for some very bad days but last Saturday night I was there just to watch. It was brilliant.

Some of us are dreamers and when we dream we give out the old ráiméis about the culture of hurling and how we are going to achieve it or revive it. Saturday in Nowlan Park was full of that culture. It was the first half of a weekend that reminded me what hurling is and could be if we grow it the right way.

I was in the ground 90 minutes before throw-in but so was just about everybody else. There was no warm-up act and there was no premium level for grazing and drinking. Just 24,000 people almost trembling with excitement. It was tribal.

First the announcer. There are changes on the team tonight. Gasp. Nothing more. He plays the crowd beautifully. Just the hint that Henry Shefflin is in the building tonight.

Tipp were cheered off after coming out for a puck-around. Cheered like Christians showing up to fight the lions. Tipp had just gone back in when there was an announcement to watch out for pick pockets. Deep in enemy territory worried men, Tipp men were patting themselves down checking for their 20 Major and their €20, and their kidneys and liver. Tipp men knowing that worse was to come.

GOD IN HIS HEAVEN

Kilkenny came out to a standing ovation, a huge roaring, standing ovation from the heart. The public address system crackled. It was announced that No. 28 would be Henry Shefflin. Madness. I was reminded of stories my father used to tell me when I was a kid in the Cork crowd in the old Athletic Grounds on big days when Christy Ring would hit the grass running. The way my father described the roar used to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Our giant, our warrior, our genius. He was playing and everything was going to be grand. God in his heaven.

On Saturday night I got to experience that sound, that expectation. I watched Henry as Kilkenny warmed up. You could see he wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t 100 per cent but he was there. We could see him and Tipperary would be waiting every minute of the 70, waiting for the announcement that coming on as a sub for Kilkenny was Henry Shefflin.

Another announcement. Four minutes to the national anthem. I’ve never heard this announced before. Have you? On that note a couple of Kilkenny players broke from warm-up and disappeared down to the toilets like it was a drill. Then Henry made his way to the stands. The roar that went up as he walked up the steps with the other subs was as if they had never seen the man walk before.

I knew by then that whatever bit of heart Tipp had brought with them onto the pitch the pick pockets had got their hands on it before throw-in. They played with all the usual hints about their brilliance and their potential but they didn’t play with the bloodlust and passion that Kilkenny played with. Ultimately they fought hard and had opportunities but they never wanted it more than Kilkenny wanted it.

In the culture of hurling when you strip away the tactics (and Kilkenny are masters of tactics no matter what they say) and the drills, the will and the passion is still there. Kilkenny are slower than they were and the goals are hard to come by but nothing in them was going to let it end right here. Not in Nowlan Park. Not to Tipperary. No way.

This was the Coliseum. It was raw and it was mad. I loved it. It was what hurling is and what hurling can be. We need to grow that culture. We need to remember that hurling is native to ourselves alone but it isn’t just sport - it’s poetry and music and dance and war and culture. The greatest game in the world. We should be bringing it to the world or bringing the world to hurling. Wouldn’t it have been fitting if Michelle Obama and her daughters had been brought to a coliseum of hurling instead of meeting Bono in a Dalkey pub? Then they’d know us as we really are.

BELONGING AT THE TOP TABLE

On to Sunday then. I have to confess I have a soft spot for Dublin hurling. Last year when I was injured I had the good fortune on a visit to a Dublin Hospital to run into Des ‘Snitchie’ Ferguson and his wife, Máire. We had a grand chat and I came away with a bit of a feel for the lost history of hurling in Dublin.

‘Snitchie’ played for Dublin for about 13 years including the campaign of 1961 when they last won Leinster and went on to lose an All-Ireland final to Tipperary by a single point. That was a great team with the Foleys, Lar and Des, the Fergusons, ‘Snitchie’ and Liam, and the Boothmans, Achille and Bernie.

In the past Dublin teams had been made up almost only of country lads playing in the city. In 1952, Dublin played Cork in an All-Ireland final and the mix was about half and half. The 1961 team belonged to Dublin though. They lost that day though by a point after Lar Foley got sent off and for some reason the history of Dublin hurling went into a cul de sac.

On Sunday it was a gracious reminder of that history to see Jimmy Grey, the goalkeeper from 1961 and a great GAA man, present the Bob O’Keeffe Cup to Johnny McCaffrey. The kid hopping a ball on his stick as he walks through Crumlin, Kilmacud or wherever walks in the footsteps of great hurlers who went before. Sunday joined up Dublin with its own history and reminded us that Dublin have as great a right to be at the top table as any county.

And the top table of hurling needs them. It needs for Dublin to be there permanently. It needs for the rest of us to stop saying that the traditional hurling county played badly any time Dublin beat them. It needs for us to stop saying, ‘Sure it’s good for hurling anyway that they won’. Hurling needs for the rest of us to hate Dublin for being so good. Hurling needs a big, swaggering Dublin team with big, recognisable personalities. Hurling needs for the rest of us to know that Dublin IS a traditional hurling county and they’ve worked harder than anybody to revive that tradition.

Last weekend was a landmark in hurling. Kilkenny are waning but they are still defiant and magnificent, and so worth beating. As they decline we are getting to see that they were the tide that lifted many boats. So many counties have had to up their game, have had to learn to do things better. The young hurlers coming through today are a gifted generation. Again we have to take this opportunity and run with it. Be brave, use our imaginations and make sure the tide never goes out again.

EBB AND FLOW

Galway should be part of it but they have to figure it out. They are more tidal than any county. Like Tipp, they have the players to get the job done but the beauty of hurling is those few percentage points of the X factor, the right stuff, the thing we can’t define.

On Sunday they were betwixt and between with what to do about Joe Canning. There is an outcry if Joe isn’t left standing on the edge of the square in every game because, ‘that’s where he’ll do most damage’. Galway sometimes give in to that outcry but standing on the edge of the square if you have Peter Kelly beside you and another back dropping in front of you with any sight of danger is hard even on Joe. It’s worse when the ball coming in is straight down the middle leaving Joe with having to win it and then turn 360 degrees to get a shot off.

Joe needs to be dragging defenders around the place and leaving big gaps behind. Give him the right ball when his body position is right and he’ll score from the dressing room. On Sunday he had 24 plays and exactly half of them resulted in a negative outcome.

(And while we're at it I think constantly going for points from sideline cuts is almost an indulgence. If a score from a sideline cut was worth two points, which I wouldn’t support, it might be worth it but there are more productive and more creative things to be done with sideline cuts).

The uncertainty about Joe is typical of Galway’s problem though and it is a lesson to Dublin for the rest of the summer. Dublin have learned in the last few weeks to open their shoulders and go out and hurl with passion and joy and defiance. When they are doing that, the tactics and the patterns fall into place. It doesn’t happen the other way around.

Most of the counties left standing this summer could do with remembering that lesson. Last weekend was unforgettable but the real lessons weren’t just on the field, they were in the atmosphere and singing on the wires. In our time of cynicism and austerity, the country might be just about ready to fall in love with hurling again.

This is the first of Dónal Óg Cusack's exclusive 'On The Line' hurling columns in 2013, which will feature on GAA.ie throughout the summer. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and are not necessarily those of the Association.




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