Tuesday 12 August 2014

The First Under-21 Hurling Final

The first All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final was played at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on 4 October 1964 and brought Tipperary and Wexford into opposition. Tipperary, prompted by a superb mid-field of Mick Roche and Joe Fogarty, ran out winners by 8-9 to 3-1, but the game was much more entertaining than the scoreline would suggest. Michael Keating was another of Tipperary's stars. Playing at centre-forward, he set the Premier County firmly on the road to the title when he grabbed two goals inside a minute midway through the first half. He finished top scorer on the day with 2-3. The first goal of the final was not long delayed. Noel Lane, the Tipperary right half forward, sent a long shot from out on the wing all the way to the net in just three minutes. He also scored another goal in the game.

Tipperary and Kilkenny did not meet in an Under-21 final until 1980 when they drew a big crowd to Walsh Park, Waterford. A goal eleven minutes from time by left-half-forward Austin Buckley clinched victory for Tipperary. They won 2-9 to 0-14. Pat Fox, at left-full-back, was one of the winners' aces.

A year later, Tipperary made it three titles on the trot with a resounding win over Kilkenny by nine points at Walsh Park. Full forward Donie O'Connell scored 2-1 for Tipperary. Nicholas English and Bobby Ryan were also on the score-sheet for the winners. The stars for Kilkenny were left-full-forward Billy Walton, with 1-7, and centre-half-back Billy O'Hara along with goalkeeper Michael Walsh.

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