Darn. I was convinced in the run-up to the All-Ireland final that Tipperary were going to win. The primary reason was based on a belief that the injuries Kilkenny were having to deal with would prove fatally injurious their cause. And certainly there was some validity in that. The line that Kilkenny could beat anyone with their second XV was always one which lacked anything like ‘evidence’ to support – note how Brian Cody never did anything as dopey as, well, putting out the second XV in a Championship match. Persisting with Henry Shefflin was a kamikaze move, and when he hobbled off so early Tipp must have begun to really believe that the tide was moving in their direction.
But it was the secondary reason, that the Tipp team that swept us aside three weeks ago was a very good one indeed, that proved to be decisive on the day. They managed an awesome 3-14 from play against us, and I dared to dream that the reason they clobbered us was because of that awesomeness rather than us being inept. Events have justified this. But I lacked the courage of my convictions to put that in writing before the event. Alas, the Déise inferiority complex – you see, it’s always Tipperary’s fault.
And now that one team’s dominance ends, another begins. After their shock defeat to Cork it looked like Tipperary’s efforts in the All-Ireland final last year were a fluke. Now we can conclude that it wasn’t and but for a cruel twist of fate, one from which they have rebounded magnificently, we would now be looking at back-to-back Tipperary All-Irelands, something they haven’t done since 1965. It’s a grim prospect for everyone, not least to Waterford. Message for the Tony Forristal team: grow up quickly.