1971 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final
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|Event||1971 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship|
|Date||5 September 1971|
|Venue||Croke Park, Dublin|
|Referee||Frank Murphy (Cork)|
The 1971 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final was the 84th All-Ireland final and the culmination of the 1971 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, an inter-county hurling tournament for the top teams in Ireland. The match took place on 5 September 1971, at Croke Park, Dublin. The match was contested by 1969 winners Kilkenny and 1968 runners-up Tipperary, and it was refereed by Frank Murphy from Cork.
The All-Ireland final was the thirteenth meeting of Kilkenny and Tipperary in a championship decider. Tipperary held the balance of power in all previous meetings between the two, having recorded seven All-Ireland victories to Kilkenny's five. Both sides last met in the All-Ireland final of 1967 when Kilkenny recorded their first championship victory over their nearest neighbours since 1922. Both Tipperary and Kilkenny had dominated hurling throughout the sixties, with Tipp winning All-Ireland titles in 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1965, and Kilkenny claiming the championship in 1963, 1967 and 1969. Moreover, Tipperary had lost back-to-back All-Ireland finals in 1967 and 1968. The thought of losing a third championship decider on-the-trot proved a great motivation.
In 1970 Cork triumphed over Wexford in the All-Ireland final to claim their 21st and draw level with Tipperary at the top of hurling's roll of honour. A victory for Tipp would put them one title ahead yet again, while a victory for Kilkenny would give them their 18th All-Ireland title and would narrow the gap between them and the other two big teams in hurling's trinity.
Cork-based referee Frank Murphy was named as the referee for the 1971 All-Ireland final on 30 August 1971. His only experience in a national senior final was the National Hurling League final between Tipperary and Limerick the previous May. Twenty-seven-year-old Murphy, a former teacher and now a regional manager in Cork for an American publishing company, has been refereeing for ten years, having started his career in the Blackrock street leagues. He is currently the secretary of the Blackrock club and its representative on the Cork County Board. He has officiated at county finals all over the southern province but became prominent on the inter-county scene in 1970 when he officiated in two Munster championship matches. Earlier in 1971 Murphy was appointed to the Central Council refereeing panel and, following a competent display in the league decider, took charge of the Munster decider between Tipperary and Limerick.
Murphy's umpires for the final were J. Duggan, M. J. 'Inky' Flaherty (both Galway), E. Devlin (Tyrone) and D. Anglin (Antrim). Flaherty played with Galway for nearly two decades and was a distinguished referee in his own right, having taken charge of the 1949 All-Ireland final between Tipperary and Laois.
The All-Ireland final was broadcast in Ireland by RTÉ with Michael O'Hehir providing the commentary. The programme ran from 1.20pm until 5.10pm and included basic coverage of both the All-Ireland minor and senior finals. Following on from RTÉ's broadcast of the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest in colour, this became the first All-Ireland final to be broadcast live in colour. The senior final was also broadcast live on Radio Éireann.
The opening forty minutes proved to be a dour battle, characterised by close marking and a lack of free-flowing hurling. Tipperary played with a strong breeze and defended the Railway end. They also had to contend with playing into a blazing sub. Tipp's Francis Loughnane opened the scoring after just three minutes when he captured the first two points of the day. What followed for the next fifteen minutes was a series of tit-for-tat scores, with no side building up a huge lead. After nineteen minutes Tipperary's Noel O'Dwyer scored the first goal of the match, a shot from long range that travelled along the ground. Kilkenny's Eddie Keher brought his team back into contention just a minute later when he blasted a 21-yards free straight into te net for Kilkenny's opening goal of the game. Just two minutes later John Flanagan capitalised on a shrewd pass from Roger Ryan to shoot Tipperary's second goal. A stalemate developed following this score, however, Keher tapped over another point for 'the Cats' eight minutes later. With just a minute left to play Mossy Murphy shot Kilkenny's second goal after being put in possession by Pat Delaney. Loughnane bookended the opening half when he scored the last point before the short whistle, giving Tipperary a 2-10 to 2-4 lead.
Kilkenny started the second period of play with two quick points by Eddie Keher. Michael 'Babs' Keating replied in kind for Tipp, however, in the forty-fifth minute Ned Byrne flicked home a Kilkenny goal after a lob from the right by Martin Brennan. Less than two minutes later a Séamus Hogan shot hit the upright and Roger Ryan goaled for Tipperary on the rebound. The Munster champions failed to capitalise on this and Eddie Keher scored three more points inside four minutes. A fourth unanswered point by Mossy Murphy brought Kilkenny within one. Tipperary stretched out their lead to three points with a succession of points, however, this lead was short-lived as Kieran Purcell brought Kilkenny back on level terms, 4-11 to 3-14, with a goal. After more than an hour of hurling played at this stage Frank Cummins stepped up with a point to give Kilkenny the lead for the first time in the match. Four minutes later Tipperary were back in front when Roger Ryan turned a free from Mick Roche into the Kilkenny net. Tipperary heaped on more punishment and stretched the lead with three more unanswered points. By this stage 'Babs' Keating had thrown off his boots and socks and was roaming around midfield in his bare feet. He sent a long ball into Dinny Ryan who sealed the game with Tipperary's fifth and final goal of the day. Kilkenny's Eddie Keher refused to give up and goaled a 21-yards free with just two minutes remaining. On the stroke of full-time Keher pointed again for Kilkenny and brought his own tally to 2-11. It was too late as Tipperary sealed a three-point victory.
|Tipperary||5-17 – 5-14||Kilkenny|
|M. Keating (0-7), R. Ryan (2-0), J. Flanagan (1-2), D. Ryan (1-1), F. Loughnane (0-4), N. O'Dwyer (1-0), P.J. Ryan (0-2), P. Byrne (0-1).||E. Keher (2-11), M. Murphy (1-1), K. Purcell (1-0), N. Byrne (1-0), F. Cummins (0-2).|