Monday 31 August 2015

Fine Win for Tipperary Minors

All-Ireland MFC Semi-Final:

Tipperary 0-11; Kildare 0-9

It always gives me special pleasure when Tipperary footballers achieve championship success at Croke Park. These successes have been scarce down the years; however they are happening more often in recent years. The All-Ireland final victory for the minors in 2011 was the pinnacle. This was followed by a Munster final victory for the minorsin 21012. Earlier this year, after a great campaign, the u-21 footballers were unluckily beaten by a point in the All-Ireland final which was played in terrible conditions. Great credit is due to the loyal band — many now gone to their eternal reward — who promoted the game against the tide down the years; and, of course, the gallant young players who are all heroes today.

Yesterday's game could have gone either way; both sides missed goal scoring chances — the Tipperary misses were more clear-cut. Individually, Kildare had the better players overall, but Tipperary combined very well as a team, showed great determination and will to win — and had the bit of skill where needed to score the vital points. The Tipperary players from clubs where the playing of Gaelic football is far down on the menu, overcame this handicap, to a point, by showing great spirit and using their hurling experience to read the game.

The senior game yesterday, where Mayo made a dramatic recovery to draw with Dublin, brought back memories of 1955 when Dublin and Mayo also played a draw in the All-Ireland semi-final. Mayo owed a lot to their full-back line, where blond right-full-back Willie Casey from Ballina was superb. The great full-back, Paddy Prendergast, also kept the shackles on Kevin Heffernan, who had bamboozled all the full-backs he had come up against that year. Dublin won the replay by one point but lost the final to Kerry, who had beaten Cavan — also in a replay — in the other semi-final.

Tipperary also contested the Minor football final that year, as well as the minor hurling, but defensive weakness in two positions allowed Dublin to score three soft goals and go on to win by six points.

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