2009 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final
|Event||2009 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship|
|Date||6 September 2009|
|Venue||Croke Park, Dublin|
|Man of the Match||P.J. Ryan|
|Referee||Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)|
16 °C (61 °F)
The 2009 All-Ireland Hurling Final was a hurling match played on 6 September 2009 in Croke Park, Dublin, between Kilkenny and Tipperary. It was the first time the two teams had met in the All-Ireland final since 1991. Kilkenny's win was their fourth in a row, an accomplishment last matched by Cork between 1941 and 1944.
Kilkenny's victory gave them a record seventh title of the decade and a record 18th consecutive Championship win. Following the match, Kilkenny manager Brian Cody announced details of the release of his autobiography, Cody. Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin was named as the sport's Opel GPA Player of the Month for August after the win; Shefflin contributed 1–14 of Kilkenny's score in the final. Shefflin was named on The Etihad 125 Dream Team before the final. He also claimed his ninth All Star Award.
Prior to the game, Kilkenny were hailed as already being "the greatest side ever to play the game" by Eamonn Sweeney in the Sunday Independent as the Cork side who had already achieved four consecutive titles over sixty years previously did so against the backdrop of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak which led to fewer games being played. Rock singer Shane MacGowan attended the final to support his team Tipperary.
Kilkenny went into the 2009 hurling final as defending champions, having won it in three consecutive years from 2006–2008. They were aiming for their fourth consecutive All-Ireland Senior Hurling title, a feat only previously achieved in hurling by Cork from 1941–1944.
On 1 September 2009, the GAA confirmed that the final was an 82,000 sell-out. GAA Ticketing Manager Ronan Murphy said "Sunday's All-Ireland final is a sell-out. In fact both Tipperary and Kilkenny had been back to us looking for more tickets. There is an ancient rivalry between Tipperary and Kilkenny and the fact that Kilkenny are going for the four in a row also adds to the interest ... Throughout the country the demand for tickets was very strong".
Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy kept faith with the same team that beat Limerick in the Semi-final. Vice captain Conor O'Mahony was passed fit after suffering a 'dead leg' the previous week and lead the team from the centre-back position. Willie Ryan, who was named team captain at the start of the season, had to make do with a place on the substitutes bench. Goalkeeper Brendan Cummins, full-forward Eoin Kelly and right-corner forward Lar Corbett were the only survivors from the last Tipperary team to play in an All-Ireland final in 2001.
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody in naming his team, omitted 2008 All-Ireland-winning captain James "Cha" Fitzpatrick for the final in favour of Derek Lyng. In total Cody made two personnel changes to the side which beat Waterford in the Semi-final stage, Richie Hogan also started at right half-forward, with Henry Shefflin moving to centre-forward, Martin Comerford was the player to drop out of the team. Comerford later revealed he had received advance word of this, but not from management.
An early effort on goal by Kilkenny's Henry Shefflin was blocked by Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins. Tipperary then entered the lead following a point by Lar Corbett and two frees converted by Eoin Kelly. However, five points were then scored by Kilkenny in quick succession, with Eddie Brennan, Eoin Larkin and Tommy Walsh amongst the scorers. Tipperary's Kelly followed by Lar Corbett twice then scored. Kelly scored his eighth point of the match to give Tipperary the lead seven minutes before half-time. Five of six scores at the end of the first half came from Kilkenny though; amongst the scorers were Shefflin and Brennan. The sides were level in score on seven occasions throughout the first half but by the end it was Kilkenny who led by 0–13 to Tipperary's 0–11.
The first notable action of the second half occurred when Kilkenny goalkeeper PJ Ryan saved from a Seamus Callinan effort on goal. Callinan, however, soon scored two points to bring the scores level, with Shane McGrath scoring the point that put Tipperary ahead once again. Ryan soon saved another effort by Tipperary's Kelly and Kilkenny players Shefflin and Hogan scored some more points. Tipperary substitute Benny Dunne was sent off in the 53rd minute for hitting out at Walsh. However Tipperary continued to dominate as Kelly, Noel McGrath and Callinan each scored points to keep their team two points ahead. A controversial penalty awarded against Tipperary was scored by Shefflin and within one minute Martin Comerford on as a substitute consolidated Kilkenny's lead with a second goal. The last points of the match were scored by Eoin Larkin to seal Kilkenny's victory.
Prior to the final, the GAA stated that the All-Ireland final post-match presentation of the Liam McCarthy Cup would be returned to the centre of the pitch. The Association were considering a return to the centre of Croke Park for All-Ireland day presentations since the 2008 football decider between Tyrone and Kerry when Kerry's Colm Cooper was jostled by rival supporters as he left the field following the final whistle. From 1999 to 2001, presentations were made in the centre of Croke Park and passed off largely without incident. However, a pitch invasion by fans following the 2009 hurling final meant plans to change the style of trophy presentation were cancelled, with Kilkenny captain Michael Fennelly receiving the Liam MacCarthy Cup in the Hogan Stand of Croke Park. GAA President Christy Cooney later spoke of his disappointment about the pitch invasion but indicated that it confirmed his belief that the invasions must stop. He said:
Despite all pre-match communications, press publicity and big-screen appeals, it was extremely disappointing to see our plans were not realised. Even allowing for all the exuberance and joy of supporters on the day, it was disappointing to see the disregard for the safety of others amongst fans intent on getting on the pitch and ignoring safety appeals.
The Kilkenny County Board later complained about the presentation.
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody called the victory "very special", saying it felt "outstanding, terrific". However, he spoke of his annoyance at a question put to him by RTÉ's Marty Morrissey in his post-match interview which questioned the decision-making of the referee when he gave the penalty. While later appearing on Newstalk show Off the Ball, Cody reiterated his irritation with the RTÉ interview and also suggested there was a media "witch-hunt" against Kilkenny hurler Tommy Walsh—"The Tommy Walsh witch-hunt went on and Tommy Walsh rose above everything and proved the kind of player he is".
Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy said the team could not have done any more, "these lads have done everything I’ve asked of them in last eight months, everything I could possible want them to. So to just come up short is very, very disappointing. We knew we were facing the best team in probably the history of the game".
Barry O'Brien, the Tipperary County board chairman, said the county would raise the issue of introducing a video referee in future championships "to make sure the decisions are not only the right decisions, but are seen to be the right decisions". Former Offaly hurler Joachim Kelly, in the Irish Examiner, later agreed that video technology would be a good idea. Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins spoke in the aftermath of how he had appealed to the referee to look at the giant screen in Croke Park before awarding the penalty.
Diarmuid O'Flynn of the Irish Examiner said the match had been above the "mediocrity" which in his belief had been on show all season during the 125th anniversary of the GAA. Seán Moran of The Irish Times felt it was a "shame" the trophy presentation was spoilt by what he called "the reckless behaviour of some supporters". The Irish Independent, in rating the performances of the teams taking part in the 2009 Senior Hurling Championship, ranked Kilkenny as number one "undisputed champions" and "the greatest team of all time". The Kilkenny People's John Knox claimed Kilkenny had "surviv[ed] the most searching test any team has possibly ever received in Croke Park" and were now "the greatest hurling team ever!".
An estimated tens of thousands of fans gathered in Kilkenny city for the team's return the following night, taking photographs and receiving autographs when the team train eventually arrived at approximately 18:00. The Irish Times said "grown men cried and women swooned" as the team exited their train "blinking like astronauts from a space capsule, looking slightly shellshocked – and relieved – to be back". Henry Shefflin said it was "great to be home, back to our own people" and manager Brian Cody said returning to Kilkenny was "one of the highlights" of his experience. Kilkenny's mayor Malcolm Noonan and other politicians, formally dressed for the occasion, greeted the team as their open-top bus arrived at their civic reception held in the city centre. Following this, the team departed for their by now customary meal at Langton's Hotel.
The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final was watched on RTÉ Two by 68% of those with televisions, its highest ratings for three years. Viewing figures peaked towards the end of the match. RTÉ.ie recorded 28,076 streams for the minor and senior hurling finals combined. A worldwide audience also watched the match.
The nominations for the 2009 GAA All Stars Awards were announced on 23 September 2009. Henry Shefflin, who had eight previous wins, was nominated for a potential ninth win which would have equalled the record number of wins jointly held by Kilkenny hurler D. J. Carey and Kerry footballer Pat Spillane. Tommy Walsh was nominated for a seventh consecutive year. Tipperary's Eoin Kelly received his sixth nomination. Despite losing the final, Tipperary achieved one more nomination than Kilkenny, and all but two of the team which started the final were included. First time nominees for the finalists were Pádraic Maher, Paddy Stapleton, James Woodlock, Pat Kerwick, John O'Brien and Noel McGrath of Tipperary and Michael Rice of Kilkenny.
6 September 2009
|Kilkenny||2–22 – 0–23||Tipperary|
|H. Shefflin 1–8
E. Larkin 0–3
E. Brennan 0–3
M. Comerford 1–0
R. Hogan 0–2
J. Tyrrell 0–1
T. Walsh 0–1
D. Lyng 0–1
R. Power 0–1
T.J. Reid 0–1
M. Fennelly 0–1
|(Report)||E. Kelly 0–13
L. Corbett 0–4
S. Callinan 0–3
N. McGrath 0–2
S. McGrath 0–1
Man of the Match:
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Kilkenny hurling boss Brian Cody will release his autobiography 'Cody' on September 28.
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But Cody turns serious again when asked about the line of questioning RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey took in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s win – and the suggestion the Kilkenny penalty should never have been: “Did I sound annoyed? Yeah I was, I was. It was, to me, a question I didn’t understand to be honest. At no stage did I consider the referee at all in the game. He was there, he was doing his job at all times. I only look for one thing from a referee – that he appears to be trying to do his very, very best; to be totally impartial and I never questioned at any stage in my head Diarmuid Kirwan’s impartiality and knowing the guy to a very limited extent I wouldn’t expect anything else from him. You’re there having won the All-Ireland final, four-in-a-row, and suddenly the question turned to maybe a poor display of refereeing. I couldn’t comprehend the sense of that at all to be honest. If we were to dissect every mistake by every player and every official at every game we’d gone on forever. I never comment on referees after the game. If anyone thinks it turned out easy for us just look at the free count. I’ve no problem with that, and if we lost the game I wouldn’t be suggesting for one second anything about the referee.”
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“We as a county will have to consider bringing a motion to congress next year to try and introduce the use of technology into provincial finals and All-Ireland semi-finals and finals to make sure the decisions are not only the right decisions, but are seen to be the right decisions.”
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GROWN MEN cried and women swooned as Kilkenny’s dashing hurling heroes stepped off a train and into sporting immortality last night. They emerged, blinking like astronauts from a space capsule, looking slightly shellshocked – and relieved – to be back.
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A scintillating contest had by this stage reached simmering point, with both sides hitting wonderful scores and thrilling a worldwide audience by the sheer intensity of their efforts.
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