McGrath Cup Quarter Final:Tipperary 2-9; Cork 1-9
Yesterday's Tipperary win over Cork in the McGrath Cup senior football competition would matter little to many people. But to a lover of Tipperary football like myself—and many others—it was very significant. For many years, Kerry and Cork have proven to be insurmountable hurdles for Tipperary senior footballers. Up until the mid-forties, more often than not, Tipperary had the better of Cork in senior football clashes. One has to go back to the mid-twenties to find a time when they could hold their own with Kerry at senior football level, except in 1928—which was considered a freak result at the time—when they beat them in a Munster semi final played in Tipperary Town.
The last time Tipperary beat Cork in the Munster senior football championship was on 18th June, 1944 when they won by 1-9 to 1-3 in the semi-final played at Clonmel sports field. In the final of that year, played in Limerick on 9th July, Tipperary lost out to Kerry by 1-6 to 0-5 in a game played in atrocious weather conditions. At mid-field for Tipperary that day was an 18 year old from Mullinahone: the late, great Mick Cahill. Partnering him, as he often did before and after, was the great William "Bunny" Lambe of Old Bridge, Clonmel who passed away a few years ago. It was generally accepted then, and ever since, that they had the edge, on the day, over the renowned Kerry partnership of Paddy Kennedy and Sean Brosnan.
In the Munster senior football semi-final played in Dungarvan on 24th June 1945, Tipperary lost to Cork by 1-7 to 1-6. Cork went on to win the All-Ireland, beating Cavan in the final. Tipperary did beat Cork in a national football league game played in Fermoy on 27th November 1949. The last senior victory over Kerry was in a national football league game played in Clonmel in 1945. Despite the efforts of the 'true blues', who felt that both hurling and Gaelic football should be promoted in Tipperary—with football needing an extra effort—the game declined due to the small-minded attitude at board level and among many of the clubs. With the great success at under-age level in recent years, a revival is at hand.