The Greatest Finals of The Tipp-Kilkenny Hurling Rivalry

In years where the championship has become increasingly competitive, despite the odds, it’s the old duo who do battle on Croke Park Sunday. 

Kilkenny and Tipperary have played out some blinders in past years, their rivalry renowned as one of the greatest in the game. 

Ahead of Sunday’s titanic clash, we look back at five of the greatest games between the sides, before they lock horns for Liam McCarthy. 

 

1971 – Babs In Barefoot 

A freak final, which saw scoring the like of which had never been previously achieved. It was Babs Keating v Eddie Keher. 

The Kilkenny man Keher was at the peak of his powers, banging in 2-11 in an All-Ireland final, yet somehow going home empty-handed. 

Tipp ran away with a flurry of freak goals to win out 5-17 to 5-11, but the game will always be remembered for Keating throwing away his boots and socks and going to war in his barefeet in the closing stages. 

1991 – Babs Strikes Twenty Years On 

Twenty years to the day from his barefoot heroics, Keating took the role of manager as Tipp bid for a second title in three years. 

Kilkenny had dominated the last decades with seven All-Irelands, but Tipperary were fancied as the Cats struggled past their opponents in games previous. 

The Cats came out of the blocks but ran out of both luck and steam – a mishit free from Michael Cleary proved the difference, as Pat Fox delivered a stormer for the Premier County. 

The game had a bit of everything, but it was again Tipp who had the last laugh, winning out 1-16 to 0-15.

2002 – Carey Rescues the Cats 

The game that cemented DJ Carey’s status in Kilkenny hurling folklore. It had been 35 years since the Cats had beaten the reigning All-Ireland champions, but that meant nothing on the day. 

It looked as if two in a row was on the cards for Tipp, John Carroll’s goal swinging the tie in their favour, but Carey was mesmeric and refused to lie down, hammering over four points of his own before playing in Jimmy Coogan to raise the green flag

Kilkenny had finally got one over Tipp, a win of psychological magnitude. 

 

Kilkenny 1-20 Tipperary 1-16. 

 

2009 – Kilkenny Crowned Kings 

It was the first of three years of sensational September Sundays between both sides, Kilkenny going for an astonishing four-in-a-row of Liam McCarthy cups. 

What a game this one was, Eoin Kelly was magnificent for Tipp, but anything he could do, Henry Shefflin proved he could do better. 0-13 from Kelly was matched with 1-8 from the Ballyhale man – but it was a red card for Benny Dunne which proved the nail in Tipperary’s coffin. 

Shefflin’s controversial penalty gave the Cats daylight, before a late strike from Martin Comerford crowned them one of the greatest sides there ever was. 

2010 – The Drive for Five 

Five in a row was on the cards for Brian Cody’s Kilkenny. Surely, they couldn’t? 

The man who fill face Cody in the opposing dugout this weekend, Liam Sheedy, masterminding their downfall. 

Kilkenny had an early blow as Henry Shefflin was withdrawn having aggravated a previous injury, Lar Corbett’s goal did little to help their cause. 

It was Corbett who proved the difference, bagging a hat-trick as the Cats were left for dust, with Noel McGrath also raising the green flag. Sheedy had trusted in youth and the gamble paid off. 

David had beaten Goliath. 

Tipp won out the last time in 2016, and the Cats will be gunning for revenge. The Premier go in as favourites, but that means nothing on the day. Will Brian Cody make it 12 All-Ireland’s as Cats boss, or does Sheedy have something up his sleeve again? 

 

We can hardly wait to find out.

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