Púc Fado: A reflection on the greatest GAA rivalry of modern times
To get you in the mood for what must be the most anticipated All-Ireland semi-final in many a year, cast your mind back over what has gone between Kilkenny and Tipperary in the last three years.
Frazier-Ali in boxing, Real Madrid-Barcelona in football, Federer-Nadal in tennis and India-Pakistan in cricket are up there amongst the biggest rivalries in sport and when it eventually becomes less significant than it is in the present day, the current rivalry between Tipperary and Kilkenny might be spoken of in the same exalted tones.
No one pairing has elicited as much excitement in the GAA as the Premier and the Cats since their most recent rivalry began with the epic All-Ireland Final in 2009, where the Cats claimed their fourth Liam MacCarthy on the trot with a five-point victory that was nowhere near as comfortable as the scoreline might suggest.
Fast forward 12 months and the Cats were chasing an unprecedented five-in-a-row, but were hampered by serious injuries to key players, most notably Henry Shefflin, who was going to extraordinary lengths to prove his fitness and whose presence attracted thousands upon thousands of people to Nowlan Park for training sessions in the run-up to the final.
The Shefflin gamble eventually backfired and it was another of the modern game’s stars who hogged the limelight, with Lar Corbett having the All-Ireland final of his dreams to finish with a hat-trick and his second All-Ireland medal, 10 years after his first.
In 2011, the Cats sought revenge and they got it with a clinical display that put to bed the ridiculous claims that they were over the hill and re-established their pre-eminent position at hurling’s top table.
We were going to include various little snippets of action from the last three All-Ireland final meetings between the pair, but there were so many memorable moments that we thought it best to revisit an RTE documentary that goes through the entire trilogy, with match highlights from all three finals and contributions from some of the key players on both sides.
At 50 minutes in total, the video above takes a bit of commitment to sit down and watch, but ahead of Round Four at headquarters this Sunday, it’s well worth it.