The way final should be – John Martin
FIRST up, credit where it’s due. Barry Kelly contributed to a great All-Ireland final and although Kilkenny fans may not agree with the free awarded to David Glennon at the end which allowed Joe Canning’s equalising point, Kelly had given similar frees to Kilkenny earlier in the game.
Richie Power and Jackie Tyrell both benefited from soft ones during the 70 minutes, so while it’s usually not a good sign to be writing about the referee in the opening paragraph, Kelly deserves mention for his contribution – not withstanding the fact that he was helped by two teams that wanted to play hurling.
Credit also to Croke Park for the reduction in the ticket prices for the replay. A €30 reduction in the price of a stand ticket is a respectable amount and much more than the token gesture that I was expecting.
But now to the game. It didn’t reach the same standards as 2009 and 2010, the first half was fairly scrappy, lit up by Canning’s goal, but the drama and tension in the final stages surpassed anything in recent years.
Canning’s goal, his missed free, his scored free, the awarding of the free itself, Richie Power’s ‘point’, Cody and Cunningham at each other on the sideline, Shefflin choosing to point the penalty… This was an absorbing game from start to finish.
Sure, there was some headless chicken hurling from Galway in the second half when several balls were driven upfield without so much as a glance to see if a maroon shirt was in the same vicinity, and there was Canning chasing Cats in his own half back line, but no one left Croke Park complaining.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday September 13. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here